Amidst the call from all quarters to send the killer Fulani herdsmen packing from the southern states, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said that it is unconstitutional to send the herdsmen packing from the state, saying every Nigeria has right to live in any part of the country.
This is even as community members who participated in a town hall meeting in the state government house unanimously called for the evacuation of the herdsmen from every part of the state.
In the town hall meeting where representatives of the Fulani herdsmen, security officers, comprising the state commissioner of police, Alkali Baba Usman, air force, the Nigerian navy and the army, Okowa said it was against the constitution of Nigeria to send the Fulani herdsmen out of the state.
He said since it is unconstitutional, he cannot make unconstitutional pronouncement against Fulani herdsmen, an action which he said could throw the state into a war zone.
Though he concurred that criminal elements and kidnappers are among the Fulani herdsmen, he, however, said he cannot send them from the state.
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Delta state Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa
Prior to his verdict, representatives of the communities including local government chairmen, community leaders, youth bodies, vigilante groups, religious organisations had urged the governor to send the herdsmen from the state, insisting that the Fulani herdsmen have wroth havoc in the local communities in the state.
They gave lurid details of the hazards being perpetuated by the Fulani herdsmen which include raping women, manslaughter among other obnoxious acts in the rural communities.
As the meeting progressed, anger rose to a high pitch as the youths took to the microphone expressing their anger over the destructive tendencies of the Fulani herdsmen whom they said have become landlords in Delta communities.
The community leaders described the Fulani herdsmen as ruthless, heartless and should not be accommodated in the state for whatever reason.
Some of the community leaders said there is hunger in their communities as the people can no longer go to farm for fear of being massacred by the Fulani herdsmen in the bush.
One of the youths said; “we are not begging them to stay in our communities, nor are we begging them to make peace with us. This is our land. We cannot be in our land and people from the north will come, take over our land and begin killing our people, no, we cannot take it.”
Speaking on behalf of Chairmen of All Local Government of Nigeria, Delta state Chapter, Constantine Ikpokpo, Chairman of Isoko South, said he aligned with the view of the people of Delta who have unanimously agreed that the herdsmen should vacate the state for good.
But, Governor Okowa turned down the argument of his people, saying the herdsmen invasion is not only peculiar to Delta State, hence he set up committees to liaise between the Fulani herdsmen and the community members.