At Kwale in Ndokwa West Local Council of Delta State, Mr. Ikechukwu Ezechi, Secretary to the Delta State Livestock Management Committee (DSLMC), was apprehended by police detectives attached to Force Headquarters in Abuja.
According to The Guardian, Ezechi was apprehended after a petition was filed by a livestock owner named Alhaji Musa, who claimed that the committee secretary had requested him to leave the village.
Ezechi allegedly had a chilly relationship with Musa since Musa would not leave the Umusam Ogbe village in Kwale despite the fact that Ezechi’s cows were destroying farmlands at an alarming rate.
According to additional information, the secretary requested that Alhaji Musa put his cow in a cage in order to comply with the anti-open grazing rule that was passed two years ago in an effort to reduce the frequent conflicts between farmers and herders.
According to Mr. Matthew Ujene, coordinator of DSLMC in the Delta North Senatorial District, who confirmed the news, the secretary was wanted by Abuja police after Alhaji Musa petitioned for his arrest for allegedly refusing to comply with the government’s anti-open grazing ordinance.
Musa called to say that one of his boys had stolen a calf, and Ujene and I were at the NSCDC office in Kwale when he did it. I informed him to bring him along and that I would escalate the matter to the NSCDC Divisional Officer.
I was inside the house while Ezechi was outside with the secretary. After that, a Siena pulled up, and the secretary was taken into custody by the officers who stepped out of the vehicle.
The policemen stormed inside the civil defence office, claiming to be from Force Headquarters in Abuja, and began searching the entire building.
According to their story, they wanted to take me into custody because I incited the Umusam community to demand that Musa remove his cows from their land, and I was the one who organised the killing of animals.
However, several herders had previously committed to either restitution for their lost farms in Umusam or, failing that, to remain in the community. Rather doing that, he sent the police officers to disperse the arrangements.
“They said I’m intimidating them with the anti-open grazing law; now they’re sending police from Abuja to do the same to us.”
The issue was brought up by Mr. George Enubuzor, Secretary of the Umusam Ogbe Community Development Committee. Enubuzor stated that the community had invited Musa to a peace talk over the constant encroachment and agricultural devastation in the village, but Musa had ignored the invitation.
He claims that the herdsman had previously agreed with the community to leave since his cows were out of control, but he returned to the meeting at Okpala-Uku’s palace to beg for forgiveness, and then he and the police returned to arrest our secretary.
An anonymous NSCDC official also verified Ezechi’s arrest but did not provide further details, saying that agents from the sister security agency were responsible.
Officers from Force Headquarters in Abuja were the ones who made the arrest, according to Bright Edafe, a spokesman for the Delta State Police Command.