Gov’s Aide Attributes Killing Of Farmer By Herders To Misunderstanding
The senior special assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on security matters has said that the recent killing of two farmers in the state by herders were cases of misunderstanding.
Capt. Iniobong Ekong (retd) made the assertion in Uyo, Monday, while fielding questions from newsmen on what the state government was doing to ensure that herders attacks on farmers do not escalate in the state like in some states across the country.
He noted that the killing in Mkpat Enin Local Government a few months ago, as well as the recent killing of a farmer in Nkek community in Ukanafun Local Government by herders, were unfortunate incidents but not anywhere near those farmers/herders clash in other parts of the country.
He assured that the government was taking proactive steps to prevent a reoccurrence in all the parts of the state.
His words, "In fact injury not to talk of the loss of life is very important to government. We don't play politics with it. Within the context of proactive protection of the citizens Akwa Ibom government is deeply in a relationship, in synergy with the Hausa/Fulani settlement residents within the state.
"That isolated case in Mkpat Enin was unfortunate and we've to a great extent understood that it was not an invasion but it is an unfortunate thing and security agencies have addressed it adequately. The issue in Ukanafun about three days ago is also another case of misunderstanding.
"But we have also isolated it and we are addressing it immediately to prevent reprisal from either of both sides, because, be it as it may, nobody wants anybody to die in anybody's hands no matter where you come from. And you see it is something that we are always quick to generalize when it happens.
"Government has also taken enough steps to prevent influx that can't be controlled. But you find out that in interpersonal issues you cannot rule out those things like aggression. It is not entirely people against people. But again aggregates can form a mass, so we also must be very watchful."
Ekong stressed that government was addressing the issue in the same manner it has been handling family issues such as farm disputes, stool disputes.
He added that government was equally being both cautious and conscious in the steps taken to ensure that the situation was not misinterpreted by members of the public.
"So we are cautious and we are conscious. We are cautious to prevent a misinterpretation, and we are conscious to ensure that we don't allow a situation where it becomes a people against people it is an unfortunate thing, something that is regrettable, no loss of life can be explained in anyway or manner, but sincerely it is not in any way directed in the direction of Herders/farmers clash. We are taking adequate steps to prevent it from happening.
"Circumstancing issues may point in that direction but I think it is more of an interpersonal problem which is not necessary at this time. So we are on it. And as I speak to you I just ordered for one or two arrests to be made because we need to nip it in the bud to prevent a reoccurrence," he said.