The killing last week of two herdsmen in Orji, near Owerri the Imo state capital, is causing apprehension among Imo citizens. The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Orlando Ikeokwu, who confirmed the incident said three herdsmen were sleeping in a spot when the yet to be identified assassins struck.
While one of them, according to Ikeokwu escaped, two were killed. Reacting to the incident, Governor Hope Uzodinma pointed accusing fingers at some politicians who according to him were sponsoring inter ethnic hate in the state to destabilize his government. The killing of the two herdmens are rather unfortunate. Although the group has of recent been accused of killing and raping farmers and women, in the country, killing two of them while sleeping is condemnable.
As a civilized people, we should not take laws in our own hands. Those who kill by the sword must die by the sword. Having said that, we want to urge the Federal Government to take a wholistic look at the conflict between herdsmen and farmers in the country.
All over the country, this period is the time for planting and harvesting of farm produce. A situation where the herdsmen will graze their animals inside the farms thereby destroying the livelihood of the farmers is totally unacceptable. While we condemn retaliatory killing, we are totally against allowing the herdsmen and their cattle roaming in the communities and intimidating the citizens.
Governor Uzodinma while making efforts at apprehending the killers of these two herdsmen, must sit down with the leadership of the Hausa community in the state to fashion out ways to avert future occurrence of this dastardly act.
In meeting with the Hausa leaders, the herdsmen must be made to know that just as they value their animals, the farmers and villagers equally value their farmlands and their lives. Igbos are not known to retaliate on their enemies, but if the current trend is not handled with care, subsequent retaliatory measures by the farmers should not be foreclosed.
We equally want to urge those sponsoring the inter ethnic hate, as the governor stated, to desist from such as an evil wind does not blow anybody any good. The Federal and State government’s must put on their thinking cap to foster an amicable relationship amongst its citizens. This is our take