Ugwuanyi Acts to End Killings by Herdsmen in Enugu

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Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Ugwuanyi

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Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State responds to killings of indigenes by Fulani herdsmen by setting up a security committee to find solution to the problem

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Sep 19, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE government of Enugu State is finding a permanent solution to the menace of the Fulani herdsmen in Enugu state. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state has set up a security committee to examine the remote and immediate causes of the attacks. This followed the latest attack in the state where a seminarian of the Catholic Church and a pregnant woman among others were killed in cold blood. A statement released on Tuesday, September 6, by Louis Amoke, senior special assistant to the governor on media and publicity, said the security committee would be headed by Brigadier-General Fred Eze (rtd).

Other members of the committee are from the Enugu State Executive Council, State House of Assembly, representatives of the security agencies and local government council’s chairmen. Also in the committee are representatives of the Fulani, Shuwa Arab and Hausa communities in the State, representatives of cattle market traders, traditional rulers, leaders of towns’ unions, representatives of Neighbourhood Watch Associations, representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Enugu State chapter, and Students Union leaders in the state.

The herdsmen have attacked the state in twice in a space of four months leading to the death of over 50 people. The latest attack happened on Thursday, August 25, in Ndiagu Attakwu community, Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State.

The armed herdsmen stormed the community at about 2a:m, and butchered almost everybody in one of the compounds where one person escaped and raised alarm.

Greg Ugwu, traditional ruler of the community, who spoke to journalists about the incident, said he was shocked that such horror was visited on his people without any form of provocation.

“There was no issue at all between them and my people. The only thing I heard is that they entered into the heart of the community on Wednesday afternoon and a woman sounded a gong after which the cows scattered; they got the cows together and left only to return in the night,” he said.

It was gathered that the herdsmen entered the house of the victims through the roof. “As soon as they got in, they started butchering the occupants; the seminarian died instantly; another person had her intestines ripped off; four of the victims are battling for survival as we speak,” a source from the community disclosed.

Governor Ugwuanyi had after the attack vowed to leave no stone unturned to bring the perpetrators to book. “This morning, I received a report of an attack on Attakwu community by suspected Fulani herdsmen during which one person, a seminarian was killed and four others injured; they are in the hospital at the moment. Even though the police have not investigated the matter I hasten to condemn this act in the strongest terms and in its entirety as government will not tolerate wanton destruction of lives and properties anywhere in the State by any one or group under any guise whatsoever.

“I have already summoned the Fulani community and relevant security agencies this afternoon to review the situation and determine the appropriate action to be taken. It is indeed unfortunate that this is happening just few days after the commission of enquiry on Nimbo killings submitted an interim report and is about to complete its assignment. I wish to on behalf of the State government sympathise with the family of the deceased and I assure them that government will do everything necessary to ensure that the culprits are brought to book.”

On his part, Calistus Onaga, Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, described the incident as one provocation too many.  He said, “Few weeks ago, both the clergy and the laity gathered and showed their anger over the activities of these Fulani herdsmen; we were able to calm people down; we said let us give government a chance; but you can see the climax, a student has just been butchered; it looks like we are being targeted every year, we are being attacked.

“The government should do something about this; it is very painful; it is very sad. This is not the way to do things; all of a sudden these people have assumed another effrontery. They have assumed boldness. They have assumed another attitude. If they cannot live with us together, let them quietly go; this is our land, we cannot pack out of this place.

“We are pleading with all the security agencies to look into this because at a time, people may not hold their patience again, there may be free range of anger and violence. Of course, we are not prone to violence but at a time we can really be stretched so much that we will have no option than to defend ourselves. Life has been lost and to replace it is impossible. So, we are really sad; we are really in pain and I need to really summon the courage to address the Catholic Faithful on what happened; how would I explain it?”

While lamenting the death of the seminarian, Onaga said, “Look at where they came and did these things; go there you will see butchering, blood everywhere. Their cow was not killed they themselves were not touched; just that they scared away their cows in the day time. Why would they kill an innocent boy just at the peak of his vocation? I pray and hope that our people will be restrained from over reacting. It is so painful; when I got this news, I was totally disorganised.”

The Fulani herdsmen had in April killed more than 40 persons in Nimbo community of Uzo- Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State. About seven villages in Nimbo (Nimbo Ngwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ekwuru, Ebor, Enugu Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuachara) were among the areas attacked. Ten residential houses and a church, Christ Holy Church International, aka Odozi Obodo, were also burnt by the herdsmen just as vehicles and motorcycles were destroyed and domestic animals killed.

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