By Omoghene Benedict-Ughelli
WOMEN from Okpara-Inland in Ethiope East local government area of Delta have appealed to the Delta state and federal governments to urgently rescue them from the continued attack, and rape by suspected Fulani herdsmen in their community.
The women mostly aged, crumbled commercial activities at Isiokolo the headquarters of Ethiope East in a peaceful protest over the unabated Fulani herdsmen attack.
Armed with leaves branches and singing sorrowful songs, they held that their lives are now in danger as they could no longer access their farmland and fend for themselves.
According to them, “We have suffered humiliation from the these Fulani herdsmen in our community, we are being raped and forced to drink herbicides chemicals that we used in clearing our farmlands.
“We have complained severally to our leaders and they are not giving us response because they have collected money from these herdsmen.
“Since our leaders refused to act on our complains, we have no option than to come out in our own way to cry out so that the government can hear us.
A victim of the herdsmen attack, Mama Roseline Idolor said “I met Fulani herdsmen and their cows destroying my cassava, yams, groundnuts, corn and potatoes in my farm at Adarode bush and I was pleading with them to not to destroy the crops as they are my only source of income.
“Their response to me was that, the land belongs to them because they have paid for it. They were asking me if I was the only one at the farm land as at that time, it was when I raised alarm that they fled”.
Leader of the women, Mama Victoria Eghagha alleged that the Fulani herdsmen have gone to the extent of raping and forcing them to drink herbicides they are using to weed their farms.
“Anybody that has collected money from these herdsmen to be killing, raping and forcing us to drink herbicides should retrieve the land for us, we don’t want Fulani herdsmen and their cows in our community anymore”. Mama Eghagha said.
The secretary of Agbon traditional council, Chief Emmanuel Avworo who spoke on behalf of the palace of Agbon said, “The Ovie of Agbon is the king of all the sub clans, towns and villages that are presided by either president general or the Okauro in council and he is not aware of the incident.
“It will interest you to know that matters relating to sales, allotment lands are handle at the community levels and it is only when such issues cannot be treated at that level, then the palace would come in.
“If they are alleging that lands were given, then it should be from either the president general, Okauro or elders from that community and not the palace. In Urhobo, land are owned by individuals and families”.
“Before now I as the secretary of the traditional council did not receive or registered any letter of harassment from Okpara clan, it was after the women protest that I got to hear of this and we will ensure that this issue is investigated in collaboration with the security agencies to unravel the root cause of the issues as we want the safety and security of lives in Agbon.
On his part, the president general of Okpara, Chief Akatugba Augustine, said, This protest embarked on by our is a forced one because we have been battling with this herdsmen issues for sometime now and we have been handling it systematically.
“We suffering and smiling over these issues recently in one of our villages, they invaded and destroyed Unoho village and as law abiding citizens, we report the matter to the police for investigation.
“Though the leaders of Okpara clan were not informed of the protest, the women have acted according to the law and and glad no properties were destroyed and life was lost in the process.”