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Nosa Akenzua and Enyioha Opara
Some residents of the 25 local government areas in Delta State grounded activities on the Benin-Asaba Expressway on Tuesday.
The protesters marched onto the expressway to show their grievances against alleged killings by Fulani herdsmen.
The residents also barricaded the Summit Nnebisi Road in Asaba, leaving thousands of travellers stranded.
They displayed placards, some of which read, ‘Fulani herdsmen must leave our state’, ‘Okowa, intervene now’, ‘This killing, raping of married women must stop’, ‘Our crops in the farms have been destroyed’, and ‘Our women cannot go out again’.
It will be recalled that over 63 communities in Delta State were invaded by Fulani herdsmen who allegedly raped women and destroyed crops in farmlands.
The herdsmen were also reported to have allegedly killed over 23 persons in the past six months in the communities.
The protest, which was initially peaceful, became charged when security agents tried to send the protesters out of the expressway.
A spokesman for the protesters, Eric Warri, said, “We are protesting because of the killings of our people by Fulani herdsmen. They also raped our women and destroyed our farmlands.”
It was gathered that the protesters had earlier stormed the Delta State Government House, where they were addressed at the gate by the Chief Security Officer.
The protesters vowed that they would not leave the expressway until the state government did something about the alleged killings by Fulani herdsmen.
The State Police public Relations Officer, Mrs. Celestina Kalu, said the protest was peaceful, even though it grounded movement on the expressway. She added that the police would ensure that no life was lost or property destroyed.
Meanwhile, the Niger State Police Command on Tuesday warned Fulani herdsmen to desist from carrying guns and other weapons in the guise of guiding their animals or be treated like criminals.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Bala Elikana, said, “We are not aware they are are permitted to carry guns. If they are nursing such desire, they should drop it or face the wrath of the law.
“We are aware they carry sticks and cutlasses to guide their cattle and nothing more.”
Elikana said the command had swung into action to monitor the Fulani herdsmen and warned them not to carry firearms or they would be treated like armed robbers.
The police spokesman, said, “Any herdsman caught with illegal arms while pasturing their animals will be prosecuted under the firearms Act. Anyone that desires to carry arms should go for the licence, but herdsmen don’t need arms to guide their animals.”
Elikana also disclosed that two AK-47 rifles with 10 rounds of live ammunition were recovered from some Fulani kidnappers at the Agaie -Lapai area of the state.
He said, “We rescued the victims and seized the arms. During the exchange of fire, three of the suspected Fulani kidnappers were fatally injured, while two others suffered minor injuries.
“In the last six months, the police recovered 20 AK-47 rifles, 70 dane guns, 30 double-barrelled guns and over 1,000 live ammunition, mostly from Fulani herdsmen.”
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Source: Punch News