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The Chairman of Ogbaru Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra, Mr. Arinzechukwu Awogu, has said that no herdsman was kidnapped nor cows rustled in the area.
Awogu stated this in a statement issued in Awka and made available to newsmen on Monday.
He described as misleading a report credited to the Southeast Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, that 10 herdsmen were kidnapped and 300 cows rustled.
He explained that there was a misunderstanding between farmers in Okija, in Ihiala LGA, and the herdsmen, which made the herders flee the area to safety.
Awogu stated that herders, who abandoned their cows to take refuge, later returned to recover them when calm returned to the area.
He added that he was personally involved in restoring normalcy in the area, in conjunction with the leadership of MACBAN.
He, therefore, wondered why a case of kidnap and rustling would be reported in the media.
Narrating what happened, he stated that some unidentified persons from Okija Community had issues with some herdsmen but this had nothing to do with Ogbaru LGA.
“It later spilled to Obene farm settlement on the Ogbaru side of the boundary, which made both farmers and herders in the farm settlement scamper to safety.
“I spoke with the chairman of MACBAN, with one Musa and a number of others, and I was physically present to help locate those that ran for safety.
“And as at 11.30pm on Saturday, all the cows had rejoined with their herders.
“So, which 300 cows went missing?
“We should be patriotic Nigerians and stop creating tension when none exists.
“I think we owe a duty to our country to always project the truth and not sensationalise sensitive issues,” Awogu stated.
He regretted the embarrassment the “unverified” media report had caused the state, along with the unnecessary tension it created.
Meanwhile, the Police Command in the state confirmed that it found the herders and their cows in the bush.
The command’s Spokesman, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, said the herders were unhurt and “not in any harm’s way”.
He said: “On April 24, some of the alleged victims of abduction were seen in the bush unharmed, while one of the supposed abductees is still missing.
“The joint operatives also discovered some of the livestock in the bush.
“Efforts are being intensified to locate the missing herdsman and more livestock,” Ikenga said.