Three herdsmen have been arrested in Akwa Ibom for the alleged murder of a local farmer in the state.
The herdsmen on November 30 allegedly stabbed the farmer, Peter Asuquo, to death near a residential estate, Shelter Afrique, Uyo, according to a police statement on Tuesday.
The statement, signed by the police spokesperson in Akwa Ibom, Odiko MacDon, gave the names of the arrested men as Shehu Ule, Aliyu Umar, and Neusa Adamu.
Mr MacDon, a superintendent of police, said the suspects were arrested following a directive from the commissioner of police in the state, Imohimi Edgal, after a report of the incident was lodged with the police by one Ime Aman Essien of Afaha Atai, Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area.
The slain farmer is said to have hailed from Afaha Atai in Ibesikpo Asutan.
The police commissioner, Mr MacDon said, held a meeting on Monday with the traditional leader of Afaha Atai and the leader of the Fulani community in the area to prevent the incident from degenerating into crisis.
A relative of the slain farmer, a local police chief, members of a local vigilante and some other community leaders attended the meeting which took place at the police headquarters, Uyo.
“While the CP sympathised with the family of the deceased for the avoidable loss, he implored, and retained therefrom, the assurances of stakeholders present in the meeting to maintain the peace and avoid a breakdown of law and order while also assuring them that the perpetrators will be charged to court immediately,” the statement said.
A similar incident had occurred in the state in August when a farmer in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of the state was killed by suspected herdsmen.
The Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel, had described the killing at Mkpat Enin as a test on the patience of Akwa Ibom people.
“Although we are peaceful and civilized in Akwa Ibom state, the elasticity of our patience is not infinite,” Mr Emmanuel said through the secretary to Akwa Ibom government, Emmanuel Ekuwem who visited the victim’s relatives on behalf of the governor.
“As it is said in science, when the limit of elasticity is exhausted there must be rupture,” the governor said.
“Cattle rearing is a noble trade, so is farming. Someone must not use his trade to infringe on another man’s trade more so in his own land. We are not in animal kingdom where survival of the fittest is the order; we are in a society governed by the rule of law. The rights of our people must be respected,” he added.
Hassan Sadauki, the head of the Hausa community in the state, had also condemned the killing in Mkpat Enin.
“It very sad indeed; we are not praying for such a thing to happen again.
“We the Hausa/Fulanis that reside within this very environment have been enjoying very peaceful coexistence with the host community.
“There was no reason for the killing and attack; though as humans, even in one family we are bound to have one misunderstanding or the other because of individual interests.
“So it is very uncalled for to lose a life. We pray that relevant security agencies will do their best to bring the perpetrators to book.
“No matter the level of misunderstanding, there should be a peaceful way to dialogue and find a way out of such a situation.
“We have the Myetti Allah in the state which represents the Fulani herdsmen.
“In case of any misunderstanding, they should bring it to the notice of Myetti Allah for a peaceful settlement, instead of taking laws into their hands,” Mr Sadauki said.