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Embrace peace or leave Urhoboland, UPU tells herders


[FILES] Herdsmen have taken over a whole community in Uwheru, Avwon, while all indigenes have fled the place for their lives. Photo: PIXABAY

The Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) has asked all Fulani herders in any part of Urhobo land to embrace peace or leave the area.

Insisting that the people would not cede any part of their land to strangers, the group said the Urhobo were ready to defend themselves if the attacks continue.

It stated this following herdsmen attack and killing of several persons at Agadama-Uwheru town in Ughelli North Council Area of Delta State last Saturday.

In a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Abel Oshevire, the UPU stated that for long, the Urhobo chose the path of peace, which appeared to be their undoing, saying “the enemies we took in as our friends, have taken us for cowards.

“As we speak, herdsmen have taken over a whole community in Uwheru, Avwon, while all indigenes have fled the place for their lives. A lot of the people have become refugees in other places, families have been displaced and many who escaped the killings through the bush remain missing and unaccounted for.

“Other Uwheru communities like Oreba, Owarovwo, Ophororo, Ohoro, Urede among others that constantly face attacks, or threats from herdsmen, who openly boast that they will take over the communities unchallenged, have since been witnessing a mass exodus of people due to the ferocity with which the herdsmen perpetuate their activities.

“These herdsmen have even demanded levies and protection fees from our people in Uwheru, who are pursuing their legitimate livelihood of fishing and farming in their ancestral lands.

Those who resisted their demands have been attacked, raped, maimed or killed.

We are particularly worried at the allegations that on Saturday, February 16, 2020, men in military uniforms, allegedly on the side of the herdsmen, were involved in the recent saga and shot sporadically at harmless citizens of Agadama-Uwheru, leaving some of them dead or gravely injured,” the statement reads.

The UPU, therefore, urged the federal and military authorities to investigate the allegations, with a view to bringing the security agents and herdsmen involved in the dastardly acts to book.

“Let it be made categorically clear that the Urhobo Nation cannot be conquered. We are a people with a history of independence. In the prevailing circumstances, we might be forced to defend ourselves and our land if the unprovoked harassment and killing of our people is not halted forthwith,” the statement added.

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