…Demands More Protection from Govt.
By Jude Atupulazi
The chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Southeast Zone, Alhaji Siddiki Gidado, has confirmed the rescue of ten of the eleven cattle herders kidnapped recently along with 300 cows in Obene, a rural community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.
It will be recalled that MACBAN had raised an alarm, alleging the kidnap of eleven of its members and three hundred cows and asked security agencies to hunt down the kidnappers. The kidnappers had also demanded a ransom of N10m and one gun.
This comes as the Police in Anambra stated that the cattle herders had been found, along with some cows.
The Anambra State Police Command’s spokesperson, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, had in an update last Monday said only one herder was still with the kidnappers and that efforts were being made to rescue him.
Addressing Fides last Wednesday in Awka, the group’s chairman, Gidado, corroborated police report that ten out of its eleven members and some cows had been rescued.
Gidado who condemned the spate of insecurity across Nigeria, expressed deep worry and alarm that despite persistent public avowals by the federal and state governments to ensure the safety of Nigerians wherever they were across the length and breadth of the country, instances of unwarranted harassments and attacks by lawless persons on hapless fellows engaged in legitimate businesses in some localities had continued
Noting that such a development loudly queried the sincerity or capacity of the authorities to truly protect the citizens from wanton acts of criminality, Gidado said the vulnerability of herders to what he called brazen rascality of criminal elements in some parts of Anambra State was once again laid bare in the Ogbaru incident.
He said however that it was heartwarming that 10 of the missing persons had been found and many of the cows recovered, barely a week following the kidnap; even as he expressed the hope that the remaining herder would be rescued along with the remaining cattle.
Gidado pleaded with the new Anambra Administration to deploy more creative measures in stemming what he described as the latent tension between herders and the locals in some parts of the state marked as flashpoints in herders-locals misunderstanding, calling on Gov Chukwuma Soludo to give more protection to his members.
‘The Obene incident is just one of the many instances of attack by different shades of criminals on herders at different locations in Anambra State. While we are appreciative of the efforts of the past administrations in Anambra to reduce the occasions of such attack and frictions between herders and the locals, we sincerely pray and believe that the present administration’s zero tolerance for any shade of criminality will provide adequate protection for herders, insofar as they remain law abiding while plying their legitimate trade,’ Gidado said, while assuring Soludo of the support of MACBAN.