Communities in the Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo State have appealed to Governor Godwin Obaseki to save them from killer herders.
They asked the governor to, as a matter of urgency, dispatch security agencies to the communities with a view to flushing out the herdsmen and restoring peace in the area.
The residents, who protested at the Edo State Nigeria Union of Journalists secretariat under the auspices of Save Ovia Group, carried placards with various inscriptions, including, ‘Obaseki, wake up. It is not cows that voted for you,’ ‘Sorrow, pains, hunger, tears in our land,’ ‘Owners of cows are owners of Ak-47,’ among others.
A letter, signed by a representative of the communities, Mr Johnbull Ewaremi, and addressed to Obaseki, was obtained by our correspondent.
The residents lamented that they had become refugees in their own area.
The letter read in part, “Lately, we have come under heavy attacks from herdsmen who recently came to sack the dwellers of some of the communities, burnt houses, destroyed household properties, burnt farms and caused their herds to feed on our farm produce.
“As if these were not enough, they have continued their unwholesome mindlessness of killing, maiming, raping of innocent farmers who are out to seek daily bread.
“As we speak now, there is no single soul in Abumwenre II and Igolo communities because these marauders vowed to kill anyone who stepped in there, and also made these communities their camps.
“It will interest you to know, Your Excellency, that people from these communities mentioned are now IDPs in other neighbouring villages as they have had to scamper for safety. Our people are faced with untold hunger, frustration and hopelessness because they cannot go to their farms where they have sown.”
Receiving the protesters, the NUJ Chairman of the council, Festus Alenkhe, sympathised with them and called on the state House of Assembly to pass the Anti-Open Grazing Bill in the state.