About 48 hours after residents of Odighi community protested against the killing of Pius Eromosele, a pastor of the Church of God Mission by suspected herdsmen, Governor Godwin Obaseki has imposed a ban on grazing in the affected communities.
The ban was announced on Sunday after affected communities, had about 48 hours earlier besieged the government house, Benin City in protest, during which they laid the coffin of the deceased at the entrance to the government house and called for the arrest and prosecution of the killers.
While imposing the ban, which he said would enable the government to identify those lawfully allowed to graze in the areas and to prevent further attacks, the governor added that any herdsmen who erred during the period of the ban should be arrested.
Some of the affected communities include Odighi and Odiguete, in the Ovia North-East Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
The remains of the pastor were said to have been found decomposing in a bush during a search by hunters and vigilance group members on April 2.
The governor, who spoke to the people during a meeting with them at the palace of the Enogie of Odighi, said the ban was needed to stop further killings as the duty of his administration was to protect the lives and property of the people.
“We have set up a special task force made up of the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Services, hunters and vigilance groups to comb bushes and dislodge squatter camps of killer herdsmen and ensure that no grazing takes place in Odighi, Odiguetue communities and their environs,” he said.
According to Obaseki, it was needful to separate real herdsmen from cattle rustlers who stole cattle, invade farms, raped and killed people.
He added, “Before now, Fulani herdsmen were known for carrying sticks around to control their cattle. Today, some of them have become criminals.”
RipplesNigeria… without borders, without fears