The Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in charge of Vunokilang Police Station in Girei Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Okozie Okoreafor, among about 29 others, met their death yesterday, Sunday, January 24th, in an attack launched by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The DPO, a Chief Superintendent of Police, who was posted to the state just two months ago, was reported to have been engulfed in a surprise attack by the herdsmen when he was leading his men to the area of conflict and consequently had his life terminated in the eventual gun battle with his attackers. According to the information gathered from the area, the alleged herdsmen attacked four villages in a pay-back mission over an outstanding altercation with the farmers for two years, destroying many houses and other properties. The affected villages include, Demsare, Wunamokoh, Dikajam and Taboungo.
The bodies of the police officers who died in active service and others are presently in the mortuary of the Federal Medical Centre, Yola. The Adamawa State Police Command, have affirmed the report with their spokesperson, Othman Abubakar, saying:
“The DPO and his team were attacked while on official duty in the affected villages where he was killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Report at my disposal indicated that the attackers looted foodstuff and livestock of the villagers before setting the villages ablaze.
The suspected Fulani herdsmen raided four villages in Girei local Government area on Sunday morning around 5:30 a.m. killing scores including the late DPO,” said DSP Othman Abubakar, spokesman of the state Police Command.
Some of the victims of the attack were being treated when journalists paid a visit to the Federal Medical Centre on Sunday. Nonetheless, one of the nurses on duty reported that the hospital management had instructed that journalists should not be given access into the wards.
Speaking on the attack, Aba Poopola, the Acting Brigade Commander of the 23 Armored Bridgade, Yola, established that there was truly an outstanding feud between the Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the areas that was attacked. He assured that, he has sent his officers to the affected areas for security purposes therefore, “everything is under control.”
The importance of the cattle rearers can never be overlooked as they have been able to sustain the production and sales of meat in markets all over the country. However, not minding their various importance, the recent activities of Fulani cattle rearers in Nigeria is an obvious threat to the life of those living within their grazing areas most especially the rural dwellers. For some years now, the endless stories of killings, rape, robbery, etc perpetrated by the herdsmen have badly affected farm produce as farmers have chosen to scurry to safety, leaving their farms behind.
However, as a solution to the menace of the Fulani herdsmen, the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe, recently made it known that in the next two years, stories of these clashes will be history. He revealed that the Federal Government were making plans to grow grass in the south to feed the cattle in the North just as it was done in Saudi Arabia.