Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State on Tuesday declared herdsmen carrying guns as criminals, insisting that his administration will not tolerate herdsmen carrying guns in the state.
Obiano said this while addressing a security meeting comprising security operatives, traditional rulers, youths, and other stakeholders in the 181 communities in the state, he said it was unwise to treat such herdsmen with levity because they are dangerous to the society.
According to him, after the last census of herdsmen conducted in the state, there were 77 of them in 2020 and directed the state Commissioner of Police to conduct a fresh census, adding that once the exercise was concluded, the state would no longer tolerate itinerant herders in Anambra State.
In his words;
“By last year, there were 77 registered herdsmen in the state and I want the CP and the security committee to do a new census.
“The census will give us their names, phone numbers, and their addresses, and when we do that it will enable us to know when another herder strolls into the state.
“Any herdsman that carries AK 47 is an armed robber and we will not tolerate herdsmen carrying guns in Anambra. So anytime any of them is seen, he should be arrested because he is not a genuine herdsman.
“We should not allow itinerant herdsmen to come and cause trouble here. The itinerant herdsmen don’t know the terrain and the routes and so should not be allowed to stay here.
“In the past, herdsmen carried only a stick and, perhaps knife for killing reptiles in the bush. But this recent development of carrying guns shows that there is something behind it. We will not tolerate the carrying of arms by herdsmen in Anambra.”
He added that after the census, the real herdsmen should be properly documented and they should be attending meetings in the state.
Obiano said his administration saw tomorrow when it established the herders/farmers committee as of 2015 when most states did not know that the problem would assume the present dimension, noting that it was the reason the state has not had major challenges between herders and farmers in the state.