Police detectives attached to Force Headquarters in Abuja have arrested the Secretary to Delta State Livestock Management Committee (DSLMC), Mr Ikechukwu Ezechi, at Kwale in Ndokwa West Local Council of Delta State.
The Guardian gathered that Ezechi was arrested following a petition by a cattle owner, one Alhaji Musa, who alleged that the secretary of the committee asked him to quit the community.
According to sources, Ezechi had a cool war with Musa for deliberately refusing to leave Umusam Ogbe community in Kwale, following alleged incessant destruction of farmlands by cattle.
It was further gathered that the secretary acted based on the anti-open grazing law enacted two years ago to curb incessant cases of farmers/herders’ clashes, to ask Alhaji Musa to cage his cow.
Confirming the development, coordinator of DSLMC in Delta North Senatorial District, Mr Matthew Ujene, said police officers from Abuja came for the secretary’s arrest following Alhaji Musa’s petition, who allegedly refused to comply with government anti-open grazing law.
Ujene said: “We were at the office of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in Kwale when Musa called that he was bringing one of his boys that stole a cow. I told him to bring him and that l will tell the Divisional Officer of NSCDC to handle the matter.
“I was inside while the secretary, Ezechi, was outside. Then one Siena drove in and some officers came down from the car and arrested the secretary.
“The officers, who claimed that they were from Force Headquarters, Abuja, entered the civil defence office and started searching everywhere.”
They said they came to arrest me because I was the one mobilising communities to kill cows, and inciting the Umusam community to ask Musa to move his cows away from the community.
“But, there are herders who had agreed to either pay compensation for farmlands destroyed in Umusam or leave the community if they were unable to pay. Instead he brought the police officers to scatter these arrangements.
“They alleged that l am using the anti-open grazing law to intimidate them; but now they are bringing police from Abuja to intimidate us.” Speaking on the issue, the Secretary of the Umusam Ogbe Community Development Committee, Mr George Enubuzor, said the community had been inviting Musa for a peace talk over the incessant encroachment and destruction of crops in the community but he failed to honour the invitation.
According to him, the community had agreed with the herder to leave since he could not control his cow but he came begging at the meeting held at Okpala-Uku’s palace, only for him to come back with the police to arrest our secretary.
Also, an official of NSCDC, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Ezechi was arrested by operatives of the sister security agency but could not give more details. When contacted, spokesperson for Delta State Police Command, Bright Edafe, said the arrest was made by police officers from Force Headquarters in Abuja.