By Victor Graham
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) on Tuesday met with the leadership of the Arewa Community in Bayelsa State, MiyetiAllah Cattle Rearers Association and other stakeholders to discuss the recent activities of herdsmen that has raised tension in the state.
The meeting which lasted for over three hours took place at the headquarters of the State Police Command in Yenagoa and also had in attendance, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mike Okoli.
Chairman of the Central Zone of the IYC, Comrade Clever Inodu told newsmen after the closed door meeting that the discussions were fruitful and geared towards ensuring peace in the state.
He said: “This meeting is part of efforts geared towards ensuring peace in the state. We have been consulting and discussing with leaders at all levels in Ijaw land, concerning the protection of our people, our territory and to see that there is peace in our state. In no distant time, we are going to come up with a robust resolution on all the issues.
“One sailent point to state here is that the meeting was very fruitful. We raised the major concern of our people which is the issue of open grazing. Like you know, Bayelsa State is the Jerusalem of the Ijaw Nation and so it is an eyesore to see cows moving about everywhere. So we asked them to confine themselves with the place that has been allocated for them and they saw reasons with us.
“We also demanded from the Cattle Dealers Association to provide a comprehensive data of their members for easy identification. This will help to track any of them in the event that there is any incident like we experienced recently”.
Leader of the Arewa Community, Abubakar Adda, said they are ready to work with the IYC and the state government to ensure sustained peace in the state.
“The meeting was for the benefit of all Bayelsans and people in the state. We the Arewa people are very peaceful people. We will not allow anyone to destroy the existing relationship that we have with IYC and the government that we have built for years. We see ourselves as Bayelsans because of how long we have been here, so everything here concerns us greatly”.
On his part, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Mike Okoli frowned at the menace of herdsmen in the state and assured that everything will be done to ensure that farm lands are no longer destroyed and the cattle rearers do not attack Bayelsans and are not attacked too.
“We have told them and we ensure that they confine themselves to the areas that has been mapped out for them for grazing and not be moving around the Metropolis. We will not allow anyone take the laws into their hands, we will always provide security for all”.
Okoli commended lawmakers at the state assembly for the speedy work on the Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation Bill, saying it will further help to checkmate the activities of herdsmen.
Suspected herdsmen recently attacked a middle aged man and his son in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state, leaving them with deep machete cuts, an incident that sparked off protest among youths in the state.