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How I tackled herdsmen attacks, kidnappings in Anambra - Obiano

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Governor of Anambra State, Mr Willie Obiano, has narrated how he tackled the menace of herdsmen attacks and kidnapping with the use of diplomacy, tact and surveillance.

Obiano spoke during the launch of Emeka Anyoaku Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies recently held at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, on Wednesday.

“Anambra State has never had cattle menace challenges, and it’s not by fluke,” Obiano, who is campaigning for re-election under the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, said.

“It is because of a concerted special arrangement that we have. I was like the guy that saw tomorrow, I set up a committee two and half years ago and brought the Igwes (traditional rulers), some of them are here, eight Igwes that normally have challenges with these cattle people.

“I constituted a committee, cattle menace committee, headed by the commissioner of police, with some traditional rulers and leaders of the Fulani committee in the state as members.

“So whenever they destroy farms, they pay and they have paid seven times in those two years and whenever our people kill their cows, like they do once in a while, they also pay. With that kind of arrangement, they were happy.”

Obiano said negotiations and reconciliations were initiated to forestall any attacks on Anambra people.

“To show you some of the things we did, during that period, Enugu people were attacked, they were to attack Umungbo, a village not very far geographically from Enugu.

“Again, from our helicopter surveillance which I use every now and then to check what is going around, by the way, I wake up all night so that all Ndi Anambra will sleep with their two eyes closed.

“So, when we did that surveillance, we saw that there was some gathering around that Umungbo, so we sent the menace committee to go and meet those people. Of course, they warned them that this state does not tolerate AK 47 herdsmen and that they did, that they understood. Those people complained that 15 years ago, Umungbo people killed 35 of their cows and two of their men and they will revenge.

“We went to Umungbo and the Igwe called some of the old people there, because he is a new Igwe. They told him that ‘Yes something like that happened and they also lost two people.’ So, we brought them together, they sent a rep, our chief of menace committee who is the commissioner of police arranged that.”

To quell the impending violence against the community by the herdsmen, Obiano said a settlement formula was agreed upon.

“At the end of the day we paid N50,000 for each cow, that was a cow killed 15 years ago, and for the dead people, we paid N500,000 each for the two and they also paid same so it balanced out. They were very happy and because of this diplomacy, if you will, we averted a major bloodbath and we have continued doing those kinds of things on regular basis.

“In January this year, four people were injured when herdsmen and farmers clashed in a farmland at Okoti-Odekpe community in Ogbaru local government area of the state.
Two months later, about 15 communities in Orumba South local government area raised an alarm that herdsmen were raping their wives and children.”

On tackling kidnapping in the state, Mr. Obiano said he stays awake at night to conduct surveillance across the state.

“Kidnapping no longer happens anywhere in Anambra under my watch,” the governor said.

By the way, if anybody is kidnapped anywhere and you inform me early, in 15 minutes, I will locate the coordinates of the victim.

“I will give you an example, a Reverend Father was kidnapped somewhere around the Ohanaeze president’s place near Nsukka, so the Bishop called me and said, ‘I know it didn’t happen in your state, how do you help?’

“I said, ‘do you have a phone number?’ he said ‘yes they have been calling, look at the number.’ Mbanye n’ebe m na abanye we nyo ya (I went into my special place and viewed it (the number), in 15 minutes I identified the coordinates, then I advised the security in that area and we were able to release the priest successfully. We also did the same in Kogi where a Reverend Sister was kidnapped and we effected her release.

“So, our people are safe at any point in time and we do not joke with security here, so go ahead and enjoy the security, peace and tranquillity of Anambra State.




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