BENIN CITY- A humanitarian, Chief Mrs. Josephine Oboh-Macleod, the Adonor of Emu Kingdom, yesterday, said the recent security threat by Fulani herdsmen in Esan land and by extension in Edo State, may discouraged tourists from visiting the state to savour the beauty of the returned looted Benin artifacts.
She said this in a statement signed and made available to newsmen in Benin City.
Chief Oboh-Macleod said if the indigenous people are not safe in their own land, it would be difficult to guarantee foreigners their safety.
“If indigenous people cannot be protected how can tourist coming to visit the recently returned internationally acclaimed Benin Bronzes and world respected locally produced artworks be protected? The governor must do something urgently.
“We are appealing to the government of Edo state for a solution to plight at hand.
“Moreover, Edo State should be concentrating on how to move the economy of the state forward, not forgetting the potentials of making Edo state the number one tourist state in Nigeria if not in Africa especially now that our stolen ‘Benin bronzes’ have been returned”, she said.
Oboh-Macleod said the people of Ugboha, Ubiaja and other neighbouring communities in Esan land have continued to live in perpetual fears consequent upon the activities of the killer herdsmen who have constantly rain terror on them.
“What’s being done to the people of Esanland in Edo state is inhumane. It’s like genocide.
” Esan people are mainly farmers and the land and the forest means a lot because that’s where we get our livelihood.
“It’s now being occupied by barbaric hoodlums masquerading as purported Fulani herdsmen whom are alleged to be heavily armed always”, she said.
She alleged that the herdsmen are raping women in front of their husbands and children in front of their parents, actively kidnapping asking for ransom but allegedly killing most and harvesting their human organs in a professional way and still collecting ransom because they know that traditionally, they believe in laying to rest their dead ones.
She said this act is becoming rampant hence this call to Save Esan Land.
She also alleged that the security force have turned a blind eye or are inadequate so they urge the governor of Edo state as their elected Chief Security Officer to save their lives and properties because they are now afraid to go out of their houses, with their farms occupied.
According to her “We are now starving and we fear they we come and drive us out of our home soon, a close relative said to me recently.
“The high level of insecurity is unacceptable. With people constantly living in fear and are unable to go about their normal lives.
“We appeal to governor Godwin Obaseki to Save Esan Land, Save the people of Edo state from this hoodlums.
“Our sons and daughters living in other parts of Nigeria and overseas are now unable to visit their beloved ancestral homes for fear of being kidnapped, raped, violated and killed or while still alive vital organs harvested from their bodies.
“Very painfully, the perpetrators still ask for a ransom to release these dead bodies for burial and in most cases, they are never returned even after ransoms are paid so, urgent intervention is needed by the government of Edo state whose duty is to protect lives and properties”, she said.