Delta Government on Tuesday revealed plan to establish a special security outfit to tackle the persistent violent clashes between herdsmen and farmers which have led to loss of lives and properties in many parts of the state.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chiedu Ebie, who made this known at a news conference in Asaba said that the proposed security outfit would be christened “Operation Delta Hawk”.
Ebie said that the state government was concerned about the rising insecurity in the state occasioned by herders-farmers clashes, kidnapping and other crimes.
He added that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was worried about cases of death and injuries resulting from the clashes and has therefore, resolved to set up a security outfit to be controlled by the state in managing the security challenges.
Ebie, who was flanked by Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu and the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, said that the new security outfit would work with the vigilance groups and other security agencies in actualising the objective.
According to him, “we are concerned with the rising wave of insecurity involving clashes between herders and their host communities.
“This matter has been under the focus of the State Government since inception of this administration and had informed the appointments and governance structure that has been created since then.
“It included the creation of Office of Special Adviser (Peace-Building and Conflict Resolution), appointments of persons of Northern extraction and formation of Vigilante Groups in various communities.
“At the same time, we have been very active in the use of intelligence and a recent outcome of this application is the demolition and relocation of the Abraka Market which had turned into a meeting point and haven for criminally-minded persons.
“We have also been quite active in engaging with herders and their host communities to ensure mutual trust and peaceful co-existence through the offices of some of the political appointees.
“Against this background, the recent clashes are quite unfortunate, but let me re-assure Deltans that the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is rising up to this challenge.
“Already, full compliments of our security outfit are investigating the incidents and I am aware that some arrests have been made as mentioned by the Commissioner of Police recently,’’ he said.
The SSG stressed that the government was ready to rise to the challenge by establishing an independent security outfit to further deal with the challenges, adding that a Bill would be sent to the House of Assembly to give it a legal backing.
“More importantly and to deal with the security challenges, the state government has resolved to establish a joint security task force which will be drawn from the existing security agencies (in collaboration with the respective vigilantes).
“But, it will operate under an independent structure that will be backed by legislation. A Bill to this effect will be laid before the House of Assembly in the next few days.
“As tasking as the funding requirements of this new body might be, the state government sees it as a realistic and an inevitable response to the current challenge and other related forms of violence. The Joint Security Outfit has been christened Operation Delta Hawk (OPDH),” he stated.
Ebie called on the people not to resort to self-help in the event of any attack as such response was capable of precipitating endless cycle of violence which would do no good to anybody.
“In the meantime, we want to reiterate that the state government is completely averse to resort to self-help on the part of any party as such response is capable of precipitating endless cycle of violence from which no one can profit or benefit from.
“On behalf of the state government, we sincerely condole with the families affected by the recent conflicts and urge Deltans to give us the peaceful social space for our various initiatives to run their courses, including collaborating with the Federal Government to find solution to this national challenge.
“The process of implementing the new security outfit is being worked out and we will brief Deltans further as we get more details,” he stated.