Herders protest eviction order from Delta forest

The executive order evicting Hausa/Fulani residents in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State from the forest within the council area in seven days has been described as hasty and draconian.

According to the residents while protesting the action of the council in Asaba, on Monday, “we are not criminals but law-abiding Nigerians who have lived in Delta State from birth.”

The chairman of the council, Mr Louis Ndukwe, had issued the order, urging those residing in the bushes to vacate within seven days or have their structures demolished.

The order, he explained, was informed by recent security challenges including the alarming rate of kidnappings, killings, maiming among others, believed to be perpetrated by elements who have their hideouts in the bushes.

However, hundreds of of the affected nomads who took over the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha expressway in Delta State capital in protest with various inscriptions said the quit notice would cause more havoc than it intended to achieve if the council went ahead to forcefully evict them.

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Speaking on behalf of protesters, the Public Relations Officer of Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria, Delta State branch, Mr Idris Abubakar said the council chairman acted out of his own volition.

“The state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa can never give his nod to “such a draconian law. That law is null and void. We are lawful tenants and we have been paying rent. We document to prove that.

“We have become citizens of Delta State because we have lived here all our lives. If you ask us to go now, we don’t even know where to go.”

He said that the criminal acts in the locality could have been committed by natives, and urged the authorities to look inwards to find solutions to the teething problems.

Reacting swiftly to the protest, chairman of the local government area, Mr Louis Ndukwe said the aim of the executive order was not to antagonise anybody within the locality but only to clear the bushes where heinous crimes were being committed.

“We have not asked them to leave the local government but to come out of the bush and live socially and economically with us in the towns and villages. Our government is people friendly and the people of Anioma are very friendly too,” he said.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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