By Benjamin Arida://
Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, South-East, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, has alleged that 10 members of the association and an undisclosed number of cows were kidnapped by gunmen.
Siddiki stated this on Saturday while addressing journalists in Awka, Anambra State.
He said the incident took place at the Fulani settlement in Obene community at the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, on Saturday, at about 1.30am.
According to him, the gunmen invaded the area with sophisticated weapons such as guns, cutlasses, sticks and charms.
He explained that the kidnappers have established contact with the victims’ families, and had demanded N4m and a gun each as ransom.
He said, “As I speak to you now, I have reported the incident to the Police and the DSS for prompt action. I appeal to the kidnappers to release our members and their cows; those kidnapped are mere strugglers.”
Siddiki condemned the politicisation of the conflict of herdsmen and host communities conflict across the country, noting that the herdsmen were always accused of crime, even in situations where they were the victims of attack.
He cited instances where criminals disguised in Fulani attires and committed crimes in Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Southern Kaduna and Anambra to give the herdsmen a bad name.
He blamed the face-off between herdsmen, farmers and host communities on lack of accurate communication by concerned authorities.
“Most of the conflicts can be averted if dialogue and proper conflict management skills are established in the six geopolitical zones of the country,” he added.
Siddik, however, commended the Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, for initiating peace and reconciliation committee to address the security challenges in the state and the South East region at large, with a view to achieving realistic solutions.
He reiterated that the association under his watch in the South East, South South regions will continue to preach unity and peace among Nigerians irrespective of tribe, ethnicity and religious placement.
The state Police Public Relations Officer DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, confirmed the incident and urged the leadership of Miyetti Allah to come up with more information that could enable the Police to commence aggressive investigation into the matter.
Ikenga said, “Yes, we are aware of the incident, but we want the leadership of the association to supply us with more information, since the kidnappers have established contact with the victims’ families.”