Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki on Tuesday ordered herders in some parts of the state to fish out criminals among them in the interest of peace.
The governor gave the order when he led heads of security agencies to assess the security situation in Ovia South West Local Government Area of the state.
Obaseki stressed on the need for Nigerians to embrace peace and seek ways to manage herders/farmers’ conflicts rather than politicising the crisis.
He hinted that security agents would commence operation in the forests just as he requested for useful information from the people to aid the arrest and prosecution of criminals in the area.
While appreciating the traditional rulers in the area for setting up vigilante to secure their communities, he warned against the repeat of wanton killings of farmers that occurred in the locality few years ago.
According to him, there are evidences of bandits who pretend to be herders but undertake criminal activities such as kidnapping in the name and guise of being herdsmen.
“I have always argued that we should separate these people and deal with each one accordingly. We do not accept the situation whereby anybody will be herding cattle with AK-47 rifles and other dangerous weapons.
“As a government, we do not believe that we should politicise security. It is important that we get the facts right and understand what exactly is going on. We had reports about the crisis or impending crisis around this axis.
“We have also had all sorts of anxieties. Well, I will call them speculations on social media about herdsmen being pushed off from neighboring states into this area and the escalating crisis or impending crisis,” he said.
Responding, the leader of Fulani community in the council, Muhammadu Buhari, called for investigations into alleged killings in the area and the provision of a database to profile herders who are into legitimate business.
Earlier, the Iyase of Udo, Patrick Igbinidu, said that the security challenges in his community have been on for a very long time, noting that they have taken steps to resolve the crisis between farmers and herdsmen.
On his part, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Phillip Ogbadu, sued for peaceful co-existence among the locals with a caution on herders to streamline their operations towards stamping out human rights abuses and destruction of livelihoods, including crops.