The people of Oshimili North Local Government Area (LGA) in Delta State has given herdsmen seven days to leave their bushes.
An executive order handed to the herders by the LGA Chairman, Louis Ndukwe said the cattle breeders would have their structures demolished should they fail to vacate the bushes after the seven days ultimatum.
But, unhappy with the directive, the herders stormed Benin-Asaba highway, with their men, women and children in protest, bearing placards.
On the reason for the decision, Ndukwe said it was due to the alarming rate of killings, kidnappings and maiming among other atrocities, as well as security challenges allegedly being carried out by some criminals among the herders in the area.
He told Channels Television, that “the ultimatum is a seven-day ultimatum. That doesn’t mean that some amendments or waivers would not be given. Or extension of time, but the important thing to note is that we will come down heavily on defaulters.
“We have agreed with traditional rulers and stakeholders. We have informed the police and other security agencies.
“What we are saying is enough is enough. We don’t want to accommodate anybody in our bushes anymore. It’s about the security of our people.
“If you want to live in Oshimili Local Government, buy a piece of land and stop living in bushes.”
The LGA chairman was said to have issued the order over the weekend.
But, unhappy with the directive, the herders stormed Benin-Asaba highway, with their men, women and children in protest.
The herders who took part in the protest carried placards with various inscriptions, and said they were not criminals, adding that they remained law-abiding and that many of them were born in Delta State.
The spokesman of the herders, Idris Abubakar, noted that they were legal occupants of Oshimili and usually pay their rents.
He said, “The Federal Government should come to our aid so they can allow us stay as legal occupants. The government should come to our aid and halt the local Government Chairman from passing this so-called executive order.
“Whoever is living in any place is a legal occupant of that place. We have receipts that they gave to us. We pay tenancy each year.”
However, responding to the protest, Ndukwe maintained that the vacation order was not meant to victimise any tribe or persons but to rid the bushes of criminals using them to perpetrate crimes.