Defence & SecurityNews

Zamfara inaugurates community protection guards against terrorists

By Paul Michael

  • Monarch issues relocation ultimatum to herdsmen

Zamfara Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle has launched the training of Community Protection Guards (CPG) to tackle terrorists troubling the state.

The governor also stated that nobody would prevent him from forming a formidable force to counter the bandits. He explained that the guards would implement new security measures that could deal decisively with criminals.

According to the governor, the decision to establish CPG was informed by his administration’s desire to work out all possible options to deal with the increasing banditry consuming innocent lives and causing untold hardships. He said, “As Community Protection Guards, you should endeavour to be patriotic, your names would stand out in history as people with remarkable patriotism, selflessness and love for peace. “Only people with courage and bravery will offer to serve as guards of their communities, bravely standing up to face the brutal infamy of the bandits.”

Matawalle also called on them to work within the parameters of the rules of engagement which he said would be clearly spelt out during the training. He pointed out that as the newly recruited CPG, they are agents for the restoration of normalcy, building peace and re-enactment of the golden era of harmonious inter-communal relationship in the northern part of the country.

He further explained that at the end of the training, the CPG members will be deployed to their various communities in the 19 emirate councils of the state to energetically complement the security forces in the fight against banditry and sundry crimes. He reminded them to remain disciplined and obedient throughout the exercise and to keep in mind that they were trained for a life-saving mission.

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Zamfara State Police Commissioner Ayuba Elkana said the training of the guards was part of measures taken by the governor to save the state from all forms of crimes. Elkana urged the recruits to always be law-abiding, God-fearing and objective in the discharge of their duties. Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs, DIG Mamman Ibrahim Tsafe (rtd), earlier said the establishment of the guards was aimed at assisting the security agencies in securing the State from all heinous crimes.

Meanwhile, residents of Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State are living in fear of no fewer than 300 herdsmen occupying a community. The traditional ruler (Ugoani) of Okpanam Kingdom, Michael Ogbolu, disclosed this, stating that the herders are occupying the area without his authorisation.

He warned that the community has given the herders a 15-day ultimatum to quit the area. The traditional ruler raised the alarm last week during a tripartite meeting held at his palace in Okpanam, involving the indigenes, chairman of Oshimili North LGA, Innocent Esewezie and Fulani leaders.

Recall that as a result of the incursion of Fulani people into the woodland of Akwukwu-Igbo, Okpanam and other communities in Oshimili North, the council under the leadership of Louis Ndukwe, in 2020 passed an executive order mandating all Fulani herders and strangers residing in the outskirt and undergrowth areas to relocate to the towns where natives live or vacate the communities.

The traditional ruler, however, said: “Fulani people just went to occupy one part of Obodogba land belonging to the Okpanam community. In our previous engagement, Obi Eluunor told us that anything concerning the Fulani people, we should route it through his office. I wrote to Obi Eluuno, I gave him seven days to remove the Fulani people from our bushes.

“Then the Commissioner of Police wrote, fixing a meeting for last week, at the same time, the local government chairman, Mr Esewezie, came around, asking that we sit down to address the issues. He galvanised the whole of them and we met here in my palace and I told them that the matter is very simple, only that the government in Delta State does not respect the laws made by it.

“During the tenure of the former council chairman, Louis Ndukwe, the council came up with an executive order requiring all Fulani people, herders and strangers in our bushes to vacate and come and live with us in the town, but nothing was done. “Our position is that the chairman of Oshimili North, Esewezie, should give effect to the executive order; we cannot accommodate these people in our bushes. We are predominantly farmers, they bulldoze their way into the bushes, they eat up our farm crops and also rape our women.

“The long and short of it is that we gave them 15 days with which to relocate and that by July 14, 2022, the council chairman will go there (occupied area) himself to witness the evacuation.” Similarly, a community leader identified as Ndukwe, said: “The council chairman held a meeting with Fulani herdsmen even on Sunday, you know that the former council chairman came up with an executive order in 2020. It has to be implemented.

Few days ago, he also met with Fulani people. He is dealing with the security challenges community by community. “The truth is that these people (herdsmen) went to Okpanam, forcefully took a parcel of land and as we speak, they are turning themselves into a community of over 300 persons without authorisation from the community.

“They just come into any community, bulldoze their way and are doing all sorts of nonsense. Luckily for us, the leadership of the Fulani is cooperating with the council, the police are also cooperating.” Meanwhile, the herders who said they do not accept the directive to vacate the area they are occupying embarked on a protest along Benin Asaba Expressway.

Speaking during the protest, their spokesperson, Idris Abubakar, claimed that they were legal occupants of Oshimili because they pay rents for where they are occupying. “The Federal Government should come to our aid so they can allow us to stay as legal occupants.

The government should come to our aid and halt the council chairman from passing this so-called executive order. “Whoever is living in any place is a legal occupant of that place. We have receipts that they gave to us. We pay tenancy each year,” Abubakar said. Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said that Delta state government was not aware of invasion of part of Okpanam land by herdsmen. He, however, admitted that there were some northerners occupying the area whom he claimed are doing menial jobs to earn a living.

 

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