Motorists passing through Uromi, in Esan Northeast local government area of Edo State to the eastern and northern parts of the country, on Wednesday had their journeys halted for several hours as hundreds of irate women stormed the major roads in protest against the excesses of suspected Fulani herdsmen whom they complained kidnap people, rape both married and young women, and destroy their farmlands. This is just as even the Uromi royal father expressed helplessness over the menace of the rampaging killer herdsmen.
The angry women who blocked the entire stretch of the road from the palace of the Ojuromi of Uromi, Anselm Aidenojie 11, and the police station demanded to be addressed by the Onojie and the Divisional Police Officer, DPO in charge of the area. They were however not readily available to address the disappointed women who resolved to come back another time.
One of the women, Rosemary Ordia, told journalists that “We are tired of kidnapping in our community by Fulani. They don’t only kidnap our people, they rape our girls and women; others take their cows to our farms to eat and destroy our crops. How can we be living in our community and we are afraid? It has never been like this in the history of this place”.
Meanwhile, in his subsequent reaction to the protest, the concerned Onojie lamented the activities of the “criminal herdsmen” which he said are “worrisome and quite disturbing”. According to the Ojuromi, “They kidnap our people, rape the women, maim and do a lot of havoc. They don’t allow people go to their farms anymore so their activities are terrible… We condemn in entirety their activities but we are handicapped. We are trying to encourage the vigilantes, giving support to the Police and that is the best we can do. We cannot tell our people to take up arms”.
On the steps he had taken since been briefed about the protest, the royal father said he had pleaded with the women to remain calm; “that I will communicate their grievances to the appropriate quarters. I have spoken to the DPO and the area commander and will also reach out to the Governor to let him know the situation we have at hand”.
The monarch was however quick to add that “that does not mean that there are no good Fulani people because they have been living with us in peace in our kingdom. But this set of Fulanis that are engaged in criminal activities are strange and are not known to us”.
He noted that the killer herdsmen had been in the area since they started appearing in other parts of Nigeria, stressing that “there is no area of the country that is spared of the activities of these criminal elements. It’s just that they are disturbing our people from carrying out their daily activities and doing their normal business. We are hopeful that God will help us to resolve the matter”.
When contacted, the public relations officer of Edo State Police Command, Chidi Nwabuzor claimed not to be aware of the protest because he had not been briefed.
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