From Omuvwie Onohwakpor, The New Diplomat‘s South South Bureau Chief
As the serene Agadama community in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State remains deeply enmeshed in mourning of eight of its indigenes recently, allegedly slaughtered by Fulani herdsmen, the allegation that some military men from Bomadi allegedly connived with the reported herdsmen to wreck the havoc on the community, continues to attract strong condemnations which has attracted visits.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who paid a visit to the community at the weekend to commiserate with those who lost their loved ones in the attacks, expressed unhappiness, saying that the affected community was part of his Senatorial district.
It would be recalled that the Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, while reacting to the development a few days ago, also stated that allegations were rife that some military men from Bomadi actually supervised the killings by herdsmen.
When asked of his position on the state governor’s allegation that some military men from Bomadi allegedly colluded with the herdsmen to kill the victims, Senator Omo-Agege said he was not privy to the information at the disposal of the governor, adding that he was going to move a motion at the Senate over the incident ,and an investigation would be carried out. According to him, if investigation confirms the participation of military men in the alleged collusion with the herdsmen to visit mayhem on the people, the matter would be addressed seriously and squarely.
He said: “Well, I’m not privy to those facts that he is privy to. If he made such allegation, it is based on the fact available to him. The allegations I’m privy to right now is that some military people that came from Bomadi at the behest of the herdsmen who took part in the attacks. You can bet that as I’m going back to the Senate, I’m going to raise a motion on that. There is no debate about that.
“I will raise a motion on that with the sole purpose of investigating it as to whether or not that occurred and if so, who are the officers and men that participated in that. If it is true, of course, naturally, heads will roll. But if it is also not true, of course you should also not be labelling people on criminal allegation when they are not.”
On the possibility of a permanent solution to the problem of insecurity in the country, Senator Omo-Agege said that it is part of what the Senate is considering in the on-going Constitutional Review, adding that they are looking at the possibility of increasing the manpower strength of the police just as he expressed worries that the 300,000 police strength in the country cannot effectively police about 200 million Nigerians.
“That is what we are doing right now. And some of you who are conversant with the debates ongoing in the National Assembly, you will be able to diagnose that the challenges that we have. We have just about 300,000 police officers policing 200 million people with so much unfavourable land space that they occupy.
“Something has to be done. There are different proposals as you are aware. I won’t take position yet as the chairman of that committee because those are the issues that will come before us. There are suggestions about state police, suggestions about Amotekun and of course, community policing.
“Some of us, without prejudice to the merits and demerits of the advent of state policing, some of us right now we are already buying into the idea of community policing. What that means is that some of these youths will be engaged by the Nigeria police to more or less be looking around and providing intelligence. So, before anything happens they have to alert the DPO and the Area Commander to nip this thing in the bud. And if the need be to get the military involved, they will also do so. Most of the youths are going to be involved.”
Earlier, the Deputy President of the Senate expressed sadness about the killing in the community, saying that he has confidence in the DPO and the Sector Commander who, according to him, will not sweep the issue under the rug.
He appealed to the community chairman to raise some community boys to ransack the place and make it uncomfortable for the alleged herdsmen, adding that “it is only when the place is comfortable for them that they remain.”
He noted that “anyone coming to the community on a peace mission to add value to what we are doing they are welcome”, stressing that “if you are coming to attack our people, rape our women and take lives, you are not welcome irrespective of who you are and where you are coming from.”
He appealed to security agencies to provide more patrol in the area, adding that “their presence will deter attacks if they know that this place is better policed and better patrolled by armies and other security agents.”
While addressing the families of those that died in the attacks, Senator Omo-Agege assured them that there will be adequate security for the community, saying that “those who are injured should be taken to the hospital, I will handle the bills.”
It would be recalled that some herdsmen allegedly attacked the community on the 14th and 15th February and reportedly killed a total of about eight persons in the process.