Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra has declared that any herdsman found in possession of an AK47 rifle must be apprehended as a criminal.
Gov. Obiano explained that Anambra has permitted an organised system of herders, who were registered under a Miyetti Allah group to operate in the state.
He said that henceforth the state would no longer tolerate itinerant herdsmen.
Gov. Obiano said this during a one day Stakeholders Security Summit which took place at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre, Awka.
The programme was aimed at mobilising all stakeholders, comprising traditional leaders, clergies, community leaders, Youths and general public to proffer solutions toward improved participation in policing their respective communities.
“Such a measure will enhance security consciousness, especially during this challenging period.’’The event was convened within the security framework as part of the strategies to install an all-inclusive action plan toward addressing the many internal security challenges in the state.
Obiano, who said there was such a headcount last year, maintained that after the new census, that would commence any time soon, police and other security agencies in the state should treat any roaming herdsmen in the state as criminals.
The governor said: “you should treat any itinerant herdsmen as criminals. Security reports show that it is these itinerant headers that commit all manner of crimes to have their way through.
“They are the people that kill, kidnap, rape and harass the people with impunity. Those of them carrying any type of firearms should be treated as armed robbers.
“We have a census of the number of herdsmen resident in Anambra state and by the last census in January last year they were 77. I have directed our new Police Commissioner to carry out another census and after the census; we will not allow herdsmen into Anambra or passing through Anambra.
“Any herdsman that carries an AK-47 is an armed robber; they are those that get involved in kidnapping and all manner of crimes in the state because they are on transit and cause trouble and go away.
“I understand that there are some traditional rulers, who have not been holding the periodic Cattle Menace Committee meetings which are headed by the Police Commissioner and such meetings are also to be held in the Local Government Areas.“Any traditional ruler that fails to hold such meetings will have his certificate withdrawn from him because non conduct of these meetings is against the laws establishing the committee.’’
Gov. Obiano, who said the security and welfare of the people, remained top priority of his government over the past seven years.
He added that within the period under review, he had purchased not less than 500 vehicles for the police and fuel for all duty police vehicles for the period.
The governor urged stakeholders, including security agencies, community leaders, vigilance groups, and youths to strive to keep the state’s record as one of the safest states in the country, while vouching his government’s continued support in that regard.
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who was represented during the event by Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Finance and Administration, Joseph Egbunike.
The IG expressed dissatisfaction at the activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who he accused of fomenting trouble in the South-East, including attacking and burning police stations.
He tasked elders in the state to prevail on the secessionist group to stop their activities in the state as it was capable of worsening the security situation in the geopolitical zone.
Other dignitaries at the occasion include the Commissioner of Police Anambra State Command CP Monday Bala Kuryas, and the Chairman Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe.
Others are Heads of Security Agencies, Chairman Anambra State Vigilance Services, a retired CP Ikechukwu Aduba, top Government functionaries, Youths and Civil Society Organisations as well as police Officers and men drawn from the state command.