Clerics and Christian groups in Rivers State have raised alarm over alleged infiltration of some forests in the state by suspected Fulani herdsmen armed with dangerous weapons with a view of launching attack on the state.
The clergymen, from different platforms, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and Directorate of Religious Freedom and Church Collaboration of Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria, alleged that suspected herdsmen with arms had invaded communities in the state.
In a statement, yesterday, the Rivers CAN Chairman, Rev. Isaac Anyanasikike, said that the herdsmen were already intimidating land owners in some rural communities of the state and seizing land for grazing.
Anyanasikike, who read the statement on behalf of CAN and CLASFON, noted that tension was already building in communities of the state following the alleged presence of the armed herdsmen.
The statement, therefore, called on residents of the state, especially farmers in the rural communities, to be vigilant while on their daily businesses in the forests.
He said: “It has come to our knowledge that Fulani herdsmen or cattle rearers have constituted themselves into an embarrassing nuisance in rural communities in the various local government areas of the state where they graze their cattle with impunity on lands and or farms belonging to the natives and accompanied by their propensity for violence and other horrible forms of criminality whenever they are challenged by the land owners.
“That the Fulani herdsmen are still roaming the forests and farmlands in Rivers State with dangerous weapons and other instruments of violence without the security and law enforcement agents doing anything to check this pervasive use of unauthorised or unlicensed arms thereby leaving the lives of the majority of our rural community dwellers at avoidable risk in unacceptable”.