Prince Kehinde Taiga, member of the Community Policing Committee in Delta state, has accused community chiefs and traditional rulers of collecting money from Fulani herdsmen and giving them land to graze their cows. His submission is in tandem with the position of the Delta state commissioner of police, Inuwa Hafix, in an interview with the Vanguard Newspapers a few days ago.
Emerald News reports that Taiga, who is also the National Vice President of Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) in Nigeria said it is the community chiefs that give land to the Fulani herdsmen, they collect money from them and let out lands to graze their cows. He is insisting that the fault lies squarely in the hands of the community chiefs who must purge themselves of the underground deal for the safety of Delta people.
“The activity of Fulani herdsmen in Delta is worrisome. I want to say that it is community chiefs that give land to Fulani herdsmen. Our kings collect big money from them and give them land. When you let out your land for them to graze his cow, you no longer have legal power over that land. Our kings are 79 percent contributors to the menace of the Fulani herdsmen in Delta state. They have sold out their rights to the herdsmen.
“Our chiefs, kings and community leaders are contributors to the stronghold of Fulani herdsmen in Delta state. Until they desist from given them land because of money, until they desist from selling out their birth right, the Fulani herdsmen cannot leave the land. By their action, they have made them legal occupants of the land and there is no way you can drive them out.”
On what should be done, he said all the kings and chiefs should be summoned, all community leaders should be summoned for a meeting to discuss the way out. If they stop giving land to the herdsmen to graze their cows, there will be significant reduction in the menace of Fulani herdsmen in Delta state.
He said the community policing committee which was inaugurated by Governor Okowa on Friday is to assist the security agents in the fight against crime and criminality, noting that part of the job of the community policing committee is to advice all security agents in the discharge of their duties within the ambits of the law. It is also to proffer necessary solutions to security challenges in the state.
He said the initiative of the community policing is from the inspector general of police and the presidency, hence he said the committee is under the federal government, adding that the state government is to play a supportive role to ensure the success of the committee.
Reacting to the influx of youths from Northern Nigeria to the Southern states, Comrade Taiga said: “Migration is allowed by the constitution of Nigeria, but you must look at the people migrating to your land. Are they here for peace or war? And if they are discovered to be people of questionable character and hidden agenda, they should be sent back.
“The constitution of Nigeria gives room for migration to any part of Nigeria. Our fear is the Fulani herdsmen and the Boko Haram menace. Most of those people coming, we don’t know whether they are Boko Haram members. Every state therefore should enact a law which empowers the government to screen every one of them. And if any of them is found wanting he should be deported.”
Comrade Taiga commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the inspector general of police, Adamu Mohammed, for initiating the community policing and selecting credible Deltans who are men of integrity as members of the committee.
Taiga also commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state and the state commissioner of police, Hafix Inuwa, for the successful inauguration of the committee at the state government house on Friday. He believed that with the inauguration by the governor, the committee will work with the security agencies to reduce crime in the state.
He appealed to all people in authority not to politicize the job of the committee saying: “I’m not going to be part of those who will politicize the committee. This committee is established for us to contribute to serve our people and not for politics. I believe if we stand well, this insecurity issue will be reduced drastically.
“One of the problems we have in security matters is the cabal. Whenever their person is arrested, you see calls coming for the release of that person. If the common person commits such crime, he will be dealt with. Such attitude should be removed. Whatever is meant for Mr. A should also be extended to Mr. B.”