Idris Ahmed, Lokoja .
The recent upsurge in the ruthless activities of bandits and kidnappers in Kogi local government area of Kogi state has forced the Fulani herders to decamp from their settlements in Kogi and are currently taking refuge in Koton karfe town.
Following ceaseless kidnappings of some herdsmen and women, killings as well as constant rustling of their cattle, the Fulanis decided to leave Kogi local government area for other places they feel could be safer.
The people of Kotonkarfe who noticed the impromptu migration of the herdsmen, suspected that there is likely hood of another wave of violence as was the case of Tawari early this year, where over 20 persons were killed with property worth millions of naira destroyed.
A source in Kotonkarfe disclosed that stakeholders from the area led by the immidiate past Administrator of the local government council, Barrister Muhammad Tanko Musa, hinted the paramount ruler of the area, the Ohimege Igu, Alhaji Abdulrazak Isa Koto, who promptly summoned a meeting to brainstorm on the security threat.
According to the source, the meeting resolved to halt the mass exodus of the Fulanis so as to ascertain the reasons or causes of leaving the area.
It was gathered that the Ohimege Igu invited the Fulani leaders for explanation on their decision to move out of the area, which they explained that it was due to incessant kidnappings, killings of their members and rustling of scores of their cattle by those they called bandits and robbers.
Accordingly, the Ohimege Igu ordered the fleeing Fulanis and their families to be camped at primary schools, while security agencies and vigilante groups were placed on alert to prepare for the impending onslaught by the bandits.
It was also learnt that the state security outfit has been duely informed of the development in Kogi local government area and necessary measures are being put in place to forestall any possible incursion into the area by the bandits.
When contacted for comment on the sudden decision of the Fulani herders to desert Kogi local government area, the former Administrator of the area, Barrister Muhammad Tanko Musa, said such movements by Fulanis were usually signals of impending attacks by terrorists as witnessed in the case of Tawari.
“These gunmen are residing side by side with the herders in the bush, where they are free to perpetrate their criminalities. The Fulanis are the ones that know their activities and plans and we learnt they usually advise the Fulanis to relocate before they strike .
“With the experience of what happened before the Tawari attack, mass exodus of Fulani herders at any time should be suspicious.
“Stopping them and hosting them as directed by the Ohimege Igu will give the people of the area the direction of the attackers and who they are. ” The former Administrator explained.
Barrister Tanko commended the Ohimege Igu, his Council, Elders, Youth and all the stakeholders in the area for the swift and proactive responce to the impending crisis.
He equally commended the state Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, for his tenacity and readiness to combat and dealing ruthlessly with criminals across the state.
In a similar development the former council boss wish to use this medium to debunked an online reports claiming that Osuku community was under attack by bandits.
The said incident happened in Okofi community where some cows was Allegedly rustle by yet to be identify gang of criminals who carried out the operation.
The former Council boss therefore called on the people of the area especially the youth to be vigilant about movement of strangers and report suspicious characters to the relevant security agencies.