Sunday, June 24, 2018

Ex-naval chief: Police say it’s difficult to arrest ‘highly placed’ herdsmen sponsors

Ex-naval chief: Police say it’s difficult to arrest ‘highly placed’ herdsmen sponsors
January 28
09:35 2018

Samuel Afolayan, a former chief of naval staff, says the Kwara state police has admitted that it is difficult to arrest sponsors of recalcitrant herdsmen.

The ex-naval chief said he was told this when he reported the destruction of his farmland to the police.

Afolayan was head of the Nigerian navy from 2001-2005 under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In an interview with PUNCH, the ex-naval chief said he has suffered “untold and monumental” losses in the hands of herdsmen for ten years.

“My experience has been extremely bad,” Afolayan said.

“Two hectares out of the hectares of cocoa that I experimented with, at the confluence of the river at each edge of my farm, was completely burnt when the trees had fruits growing on them.

“At the prime of harvesting the cocoa, they (herdsmen) burnt the farm. That was sometime in 2009. The case stretched for three years.
I still have the pictures of the cocoa trees when they were full of fruits. Cashew trees and palm trees that were just growing were also burnt.”

Afolayan said he has been silent on the attacks to avoid escalating the tension in the country.

The ex-naval chief said he chose to speak out for the first time in January.

He explained that he has had to seize some of the herders’ cows to stall the attacks but they forcefully reclaimed them.

Afolayan said he “carried the Divisional Police Officer in my area, Mr. Aliu Umar, along in all these incidents. He is aware because we visited the farm together”.

He said the owners of the cows were highly placed persons residing outside the state. According to Afolayan, he told the police to bring one of them in for questioning but was told that it would be difficult.

“I said that is injustice. How do you remand a boy that is of no consequence when the boy had already told you that the owner of the cows is in Zamfara State?

“He gave the number of his employer and I said the police should invite the man who owns the cows and they were telling me that it would be difficult. What is difficult in that? The police can arrest anybody wherever he or she lives in Nigeria.”

Afolayan maintained that the federal government was not doing enough to address the attacks while calling on it to take drastic actions.


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