Anambra Monarch Blames “Stray Wildcard” Herdsmen For Misdeamenour
*goes for mechanized agric, banks, rice milling clusters dev blueprint
*seeks sustained produce off-takers
From Chuks Collins, Awka
The new traditional ruler of Omor in Ayamelum council area of Anambra state, HRH Igwe Chris Oranu has blamed a group of Fulani herdsmen he described as stray wildcard first time visitors for the observed clashes including killings nationwide, especially his area.
The natural ruler made this disclosure at a ceremony in Omor where he unveiled his development blueprint for the predominantly farming community.
Addressing journalists in his palace at while playing host to a body of farmers association and other stakeholders in the farming sector in the council area who paid courtesy call on him, observed that established herdsmen who know the grazing route and have their families residing in these regular grazing locations had known their hosts very well and would naturally not rock the boat of the existing smooth relationship between them.
That it must be stray visiting herders, first timers who had little or no regards for the host communities that could stir trouble including destruction of farm lands and injuring or even killing people and torching their abode.
He has therefore fine-tuned strategies with which to cope. He noted that the Anambra State Government had done well in that area through office of the Special Assistant to the Governor on Cattle Menace. It was he who supervises and advises Gov Willie Obiano on that and other related issues.
“Again, there is an understanding between the governor of Anambra State and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders, such that if the cattle destroy any farm, there is a desk at the governor’s office to go report the matter to, for attention, investigation and action. But for us, we go to report the incident to the Police Divisional Officer first. If per adventure anything happens to the cattle, the herdsmen are expected to do the same thing.
“I think that arrangement has been working. Though there have been some infiltrations by some herdsmen whom I suspect may not be aware of this arrangement. These are the group who came in as a result of the security pressure in the North East geopolitical zone of the country where Boko Haram insurgency has ravaged. These are the ones who have been taking laws into their hands and I think the government is doing something about that already in order to curb their excesses.
On his development indicators, Igwe Oranu disclosed that he intend to turn the community into a commercial hub that it was supposed to be in the state.
According to him, “I intend to attract a commercial bank. I have promised the farmers that I would put up a structure for banks to just come in with their briefcases and working tools to commence operations.
“Am hoping to deliver that by the end of this year.”
He noted that “the amount of commercial activities going on here will not only increase, but become stable. And such stability will surely attract other nearby communities to come and do businesses in Omor.
“The second thing I have looked at is that Omor has a shell formation. That is if you look at our soil you cannot achieve ground water by any means. We have tried it . We have tried it and it has brought a kind of hardship that an average family here will need to go up to six kilometers to get water for all their domestic needs from the spring water from the Owusi stream.
“That was at the boundary between Omor and Enugwu-Otu. So imagine family waking up in the morning around 5am to go to fetch water and return later at about 10am. At that time, the day was surely gone for such family. So we intend to look at the possibility of piping the Owusi stream to the community. It’s a very good clean water.
“For the electricity, the government is already assisting us. What remained is just for us to organize ourselves at the local settings to ensure we meet up regularly with the obligations of paying our bills. That will take care of the poor electricity supply in our community.
“I believe that if can achieve these three things in our first twenty-four months, it would enable us build on the tempo to get the community moving.
Lamenting that despite producing large quantity and quality rice, it was glaring that it has not been properly harnessed and recognized. So he has personally looked at what the farmers go through.
“You can see the mills scattered all over the community. We are considering establishment of an area specially designated for rice milling. Am also talking to some external investors to see whether we can generate a heating process that could supply the heat to all the mills.
“This would eliminate firewood heating process in parboiling the rice completely. If that is achieved, it would be a compensatory attraction for a miller to go to the proposed estate to put up structures. Or if the government buys into the vision put up structures for the millers to just come in with their machines, plug in to the proposed new heating process and do your milling. By so doing, we grade the rice into Omor Rice Grade 1, Omor Rice Grade 2 and Grade 3, in that order.”