Several women on Wednesday blocked major roads in Uromi, headquarters of Esan North-East Local Government Area of Edo State to protest the activities of criminal herdsmen which they said have brought hardship to their communities.
The women accused the herdsmen of armed robbery, raping, and destruction of farmlands, among other crimes.
The women took their protest to the Palace of the Onojie, Anselm Edenojie, and the Divisional Police headquarters in Uromi, and demanded the immediate removal of herdsmen from their lands.
One of the protesting women, Omoh Igbanke, told PREMIUM TIMES they were not able to see the monarch and the divisional police officer to present their complaint.
The women, who came from the main Uromi town and neighbouring villages, assembled in the city centre where they set up a bonfire.
They later divided themselves into smaller groups and blocked major roads in the town, chanting solidarity songs.
Another protester, Angela Esangbedo, said they could no longer access their farmlands for fear of being raped.
“We are demanding that Fulani herdsmen must leave our communities because we can no longer go to our farms for fear of being kidnapped or raped by the herdsmen. They have taken over our farmlands and have destroyed our farm produce,” Mrs Esangbedo said.
The women vowed to repeat the protest on Saturday.
PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately reach the police spokesperson in the State, Chidi Nwabuzor, for his comment, as he did not respond to calls from our reporter.
The Uromi monarch, Mr Aidenojie, later told our reporter that the activities of the herdsmen were becoming worrisome.
“They kidnap our people, rape the women, maim and do a lot of havoc. They don’t allow people to go to their farms anymore so their activities are terrible. But that does not mean that there are no good Fulani people because they have been living with us in peace in our kingdom.
“But this set of Fulani herdsmen that are engaged in criminal activities are strange and are not known to us. We condemn their activities, but we are handicapped. We are trying to encourage the vigilantes, giving support to the police and that is the best we can do. We cannot tell our people to take up arms.
“I have asked the women to remain calm that I will communicate their grievances to the appropriate quarters. I have spoken to the DPO and the area commander and will also reach out to the Governor to let him know the situation we have at hand,” he said.
Protests have heightened in parts of the nation in recent weeks against the activities of criminal herdsmen who have infiltrated the ranks of relatively peaceful cattle herders.
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