Urhobo Progress Union talks tough, asks herdsmen to leave
The persistent attacks recently unleashed on some Urhobo communities in Delta State by Fulani Herdsmen on February 13, 14 and 15, 2020 and which led to the death of over 10 people, with several others injured and farm lands valued at hundreds of million of naira destroyed, have drawn the anger of Urhobo people. This has simultaneously prompted the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) to sound a warning of their readiness to defend their lands and people in the face of continuous provocation.
More than three weeks after the dastardly act, the Urhobo nation is still reeling from the attack and mourning its beloved ones while also counting its economic losses to the incidence. In all this, the Federal Government seems to be asleep while its citizens mourn. However, the umbrella body of all Urhobo people has said enough is enough.
While expressing displeasure over the killings of its people, President General of UPU, Olorogun Moses Taiga, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to muster the necessary moral, political and constitutional will to stop the heinous activities of killer Fulani herdsmen in Urhoboland and other parts of the country.
He spoke during UPU’s condolence visit to Uwheru Kingdom over the attacks and brutal killing of 10 of her gallant sons, fathers and husbands by Fulani herders. Taiga specifically offered condolences to the families of those killed at Agadama, Avwon, Ohoro, Oreba, and Okugbe communities (Ogode, Owarovwo, Ophororo and Uritche) of Uwheru Kingdom, just as he assured the affected areas that UPU would stand by them in their travails.
Taiga, however warned that the Urhobo nation would no longer tolerate any dastardly act against its people by any outsider and neither is Urhobo ready to surrender any part of its land to any foreigner. He insisted that the culprits that killed Urhobo sons and daughters must be brought to book.
“It was so heart-rending that these senseless massacre of defenseless citizens of the Urhobo nation by suspected Fulani herdsmen took place without provocation, and while our sons were legitimately engaged on their farmlands, for food and day-today living,” Taiga said. “This is highly condemnable. Our ancestral lands, farms, forests and agricultural resources must be free from these hostile and vicious herdsmen.”
The union said the continued presence of these killer herdsmen continue to hamper the productivity and profitability of its people and farmlands, stressing that the social cohesion, market stability, local economic survival and food security of the Urhobo nation are being negatively impacted.
He added that the lethal attacks and killings of innocent Urhobo people by Fulani herdsmen in Uwheru and other communities in Urhobo would no longer be tolerated, adding, “There shall be no room for foreign invaders in Urhoboland. The Urhobo nation will never, ever surrender or cede an inch of her territory to any stranger. Enough is enough! These suspected killer Fulani herdsmen must be stopped.”
He added that the UPU demands justice for the killers of Agadama, Avwon, Ohoro, Oreba and Okugbe people must not go unpunished, noting, “Impunity does not have a place in the laws of Nigeria, Delta State and our communities. The law must take its full course.”
Taiga further lamented that the menace of armed herdsmen was a huge obstacle to the peace, unity and sovereignty of the Nigeria, stressing that the Urhobo people are law-abiding “but our patience is fast waning. It is the duty of the Federal Government of Nigeria to protect the lives and properties of every citizen of this great country. Mr. President must act now, lest anarchy reigns.”
He also said the entire Urhobo nation firmly agrees and stands by the resolutions of Uwheru Development Union (UDU) during its emergency meeting held on Saturday, February 22, 2020, which said ‘herdsmen in the length and breadth of Uwheru Kingdom must leave immediately; that the Delta State House of Assembly revisit and enact the anti-grazing law without delay; that the military army in particular and other security agencies must remain neutral and protect the lives of our people over unprovoked attacks and that the Federal Government through her relevant agencies come to the aid of the victims of the dastardly attack among others.’
He restated the resolve of the union, demanding that “herdsmen immediately leave Uwheru Kingdom, and the entire Urhobo land,” just as it called for a permanent presence of the military in Uwheru to prevent a reoccurrence of this sad situation.
The union also made a strong call on Urhobo people not to sell lands to criminal non-natives, stressing, “In all of these, it is our hope that none of our people has actually participated in the sale and disposal of Urhobo lands to criminal non-natives. No Urhobo land should be mortgaged for a pot of porridge to the detriment of the community and people. We urge all Urhobo kingdoms and communities to take legal steps in revoking the sale and ownership of such land or property identified in their domains.”
The union also expressed gratitude to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and others for their supportive roles and prompt intervention during the period of the killings and “for giving us hope of a permanent end to this deadly saga.”