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Herdsmen Attack: Bayelsa Govt Asks Security Agencies To Scale Up Presence In Affected Communities

Bayelsa State Government has urged service commanders in the state to immediately mobilize and deploy their operatives in Zarama and Okordia communities to forestall the escalation of security concerns following recent attacks by herdsmen in the area.

Speaking on Tuesday at a meeting with some stakeholders of Okordia, Zarama and Biseni Clans as well as security service commanders at his office in Yenagoa, the deputy governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, assured that the government was doing everything to restore normalcy in the affected communities.

The deputy governor, in a statement issued by his media aide, Doubara Atasi, reminded the public, particularly herders of the existence of the state anti-open grazing law that must be obeyed by all and sundry.

He said while the present administration would continue to provide the enabling environment for indigenes and non-indigenes to carry out their legitimate businesses, it would not condone any act capable of jeopardizing peace and security in the state.

Ewhrudjakpo urged the people of Okordia-Zarama and the Hausa community not to take the law into their hands by embarking on reprisal attacks, stressing that the government was doing everything to ensure lasting peace in the area.

To this end, he said the state governor, Douye Diri, has directed the various security agencies to form a combined team to police the area, including the lake Sam fishing settlement, where the last attack took place.

He said,” We need to protect the lives of our people wherever they live to eke out a living. Because the essence of life is for you to live and earn a living wherever you stay.

“So, it is evil for some people to override others. We will not allow that here. And so, the Governor has directed the immediate deployment of security personnel to both Zarama and Okordia communities to allay the fears of the people.

“For the communities, I want to assure you that you will sleep with your two eyes closed. But we will not also allow you to take the laws into your hands. If we encourage that, it means we are also promoting lawlessness.

“We want affected communities and even the Hausa Community to give peace a chance and allow the ongoing investigation to take its proper course.”

In his contribution, the special adviser to the governor on security matters, Akpoebi Agberebi, informed that four lives were lost to the Zarama and Akumoni-Okordia attacks.

While calling for an increased security presence in the area, he expressed concern that efforts to engage the Miyetti Allah over the unfortunate development have not been successful as the group seem not to have substantive leadership in the state.

Speaking earlier, the clan head of Zarama, his majesty, King Nionio Ready, noted that the recent ugly incident was not the first time his people had suffered unprovoked attacks from herdsmen.

He said although the leadership of the communities have always prevailed on the youths not to embark on counter-attacks, the government should take swift appropriate actions to avoid escalation of the problem.

In the same vein, the chairman, the Biseni council of chiefs, his royal highness Onumonu and the paramount ruler of Akumoni-Okordia, chief Kalama Abraham, emphasized the need for security agents to perform their duties effectively without any ethnic and religious bias.

Giving an eyewitness account, Lugard Omekwe said the herdsmen did not only attack the two camps in lake Sam, killing his in-law, Victor Anozie and the deputy paramount ruler of Akumoni, chief Bob Wilson but also carted away monies and other valuables.

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