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28 Jan 2018

Herdsmen attacks: Courts, police afraid of Fulani cow owners – Ex-Naval Chief of Staff, Afolayan

A former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Samuel Afolayan, retd., has lamented his frustration in getting justice following constant destruction of his farmland by Fulani herdsmen.
Afolayan recalled how the police once told him that it was impossible arresting owners of cows destroying his farm.
He also said that even the court tried to avoid cases when it involved herdsmen and the cattle owners.
Recounting his experience in a interview with Punch, the former Chief of Naval Staff said, “On Christmas Day two years ago, they also burnt my farm. I was on my farm quenching fire that day. Last year, they did the same thing. The case is in court and nothing is being done. It has been a recurring event.
“There is even a very disgusting one. Being a law -abiding citizen, I was charged with criminal trespass on my farm. They went to the magistrate court in Omu- Aran, Kwara State and I have been standing trial since 2016.
“Do you know what they were telling me when they were about to conclude the case? When they knew that the case was about to be concluded and they knew that they were not making any headway with the case, they said the magistrate was being transferred; so, a new magistrate would have to start the case again.
“But I said no, wherever they transferred the woman, she must complete the case. They then realised that they could not do anything with that case. They had thought that they would transfer the woman and bring another magistrate who would be a man and they said they would start the case again.
“I sent my orderly to the farm and they said he shot a cow and other cows ran away. For two years, we have been in court
“One thing is sure from my experience. The owners of the cows are outside Kwara State. In one of the destructions, when I seized their cows , they went to General Kasali Akande, an indigene of Offa town who resides in Minna, Niger State.
“We arrested and remanded a cattle rearer, Mohammed Buba, who is of no consequence because the owner of the cattle he is managing is in Zamfara State. His name is Alhaji Shehu Nasarawa. But Buba has been arrested and he is being remanded.
“I said that is injustice. How do you remand a boy that is of no consequence when the boy had already told you that the owner of the cows is in Zamfara State?
“He gave the number of his employer and I said the police should invite the man who owns the cows and they were telling me that it would be difficult . What is difficult in that?
“The police can arrest anybody wherever he or she lives in Nigeria? If they use their property to destroy the property of another person, what is difficult in going to arrest him or calling him to question?”
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