Hundreds of nomadic Fulani residents said they cannot comply with an executive order instructing they clear out of the bushes they currently occupy across some communities in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Mr. Louis Ndukwe, Chairman of the LGA had ordered them to vacate the places within seven days owing to the spate of killings and kidnappings in the area.
Ndukwe noted that the criminal activities were being perpetrated by elements believed to have their hideouts in the bushes.
According to him, the LGA will demolish their structures if they fail to heed the order.
But the Fulani group on Sunday protested along the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha expressway, stating that they were not criminals.
They explained that they were law-abiding Nigerians who have lived all their lives in the state.
Mr. Idris Abubakar, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, lamented that they would be subjected to needless hardship should the council go ahead to demolish their structures.
Describing the order as draconian, he added that it would cause more havoc and achieve the exact purpose for which it was issued.
He accused Ndukwe of acting without the imprimatur of the State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa in issuing the quit notice.
“That law is null and void. We are lawful tenants and we have been paying rent. We have documents to prove that.
“We have become citizens of Delta State because we have lived here all our lives. If you ask us to go now, we don’t even know where to go,” the Fulani spokesman said.
Reacting to the protest, Ndukwe said, “We have not asked them to leave the local government but to come out of the bush and live socially and economically with us in the towns and villages. Our government is people friendly and the people of Anioma are very friendly too.”
Meanwhile, Governor Okowa has expressed deep sadness on the demise of a legal icon, author and Professor of Law, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte.
Karibi-Whyte, renowned retired Supreme Court Justice, hailed from Abonnema in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers. He died at 88, on Friday in Port Harcourt after a brief illness.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, on Saturday in Asaba, Okowa commiserated with the people of Kalabari Kingdom, Rivers Government and Abonnema community over the passing of the renowned scholar, jurist and elder statesman.
He described the late Justice as a quintessential jurist, scholar par excellence, and intellectual colossus whose judicial pronouncements on the bench had continued to resonate in Nigeria and beyond.
According to the governor, the deceased was a well-respected scholar and a man of stellar accomplishments who was driven by his passion for justice according to law, firmly resolute with unassailable and reputed integrity.
He said “the news of his death came to me as a shock and I send my heartfelt condolences to the family, the people of Akuku Toru Local Government Area, Abonnema community in particular as well as the government and people of Rivers on the passing of the renowned elder statesman and retired Justice of the Supreme Court.
“As a bastion of knowledge and inspiration, a man of great wisdom and insight, a leader of leaders, he contributed immensely to the development of our country’s jurisprudence in the several capacities he served.
“As a government, we acknowledge his role and efforts as Chairman of the Nigerian Constitutional Conference of 1994-1995.
“As a scholar, Justice Karibi-Whyte authored 13 books and over 55 academic publications in local and international learned journals, which till date remains an indelible contribution to the academic world.
“In acknowledgment of his outstanding accomplishments in life, he was honoured with the Hallmark of Labour award as well as two national honours. “On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I mourn the exit of a great elder statesman, Honourable Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, whose fountain of knowledge has remained an inspiration to many.
“He will be sorely missed, especially for his dissenting opinions on judgments which had become illuminating judicial guides for the Supreme Court in subsequent similar cases and the basis of legislative intervention,” Okowa said.