*As army denies ploy to destroy community
By Perez Brisibe
UGHELLI – IN a bid to discourage the business of cattle rearing and stifle the activities of armed Fulani herdsmen in their area, the people of Uwheru kingdom in Ughelli North local government area of Delta State, have banned the sales and consumption of beef in all communities in the kingdom.
The ban is coming just as the Nigeria army, weekend, denied allegations that its personnel threatened to destroy communities in the kingdom if corpses of those reportedly killed by armed Fulani herdsmen are not exhumed.
Also, the member representing Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Francis Waive, has asked the Federal Government to investigate the incident including reported attacks by some military personnel on locals of the affected communities.
The lawmaker during a visit to Agadama over the weekend to commiserate with the people, said: “We have to find out what happened to know the exact situation and endearing solutions that will ensure that this does not repeat itself because what has happened to the people of Agadama and Avwon is condemnable and it calls for unbiased investigations.
“There should be proper investigations to unveil whoever that is behind this gruesome attack and be brought to book to face the wrath of the law. Your pain is my pain and I am in touch with the authorities concerned to ensure that you are all protected
“I appeal for calm; I appeal for peace so that those who have left the community can come back. I have the assurances of the law enforcement agencies that they would not come here to harass anybody anymore.
“Our distinguish Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is also meeting with other leaders at the national level, as we are strategizing on what we can do to ensure that nobody touches you anymore and this thing does not happen again.”
Confirming the ban on the sales and consumption of beef in the affected communities, chairman of Agadama community, Sunday Iniovogoma stated that the resolution was reached at the end of a meeting held on Saturday by the leadership of Uwheru kingdom led by its traditional ruler, HRM Odio R’Ode of Uwheru kingdom, Agbaivwe III.
On measures taken on anyone who flaunts the ban, the community chairman said: “Such a person will equally be banished from the communities or made to pay a particular amount as fine depending on the gravity of the offence.”
Meanwhile, the army has absolved its personnel from any form of culpability following allegations by an official of the Delta State government, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare who is the state Commissioner for Higher Education that soldiers threatened to destroy the communities if they fail to exhume the corpses of those reportedly killed by the herdsmen during the incident.
Assistant Director, Army Public Relations for 63 Infantry Brigade, Captain G. A. Okupe in a statement yesterday, said it was its own troops who responded to the distress call in the community, “that were attacked by youths of the community with arms and weapons thereby injuring two of the soldiers.”
The statement reads: “It is pertinent to state that the Nigeria Army is a professional army and its conduct is in line with global best practices and in accordance with international humanitarian laws.
“Above all, the morale of troops in the theatre of operation remains high and not as reported. The public is hereby advised to disregard the allegations and report given by Prof. Patrick Muoboghare as the military remains resolute in its fight against illegal oil bunkering, militancy, pipeline vandalism and sea piracy, amongst others as it affects OPDS.”
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