Barely 48 hours after president Buhari reiterated his administration’s victory over incessant killing in the country and the need to regularize the activities of the herdemen in the country, a 65 year old man, Mazi Ozoemena Iriaka, has been killed by herdsmen yesterday, in Umuekpu-Agwa, Oguta LGA, Imo State.
This, according to the villagers who converged at the scene of the incident said the killing has continued for some time as the bandits threaten to attack the community and their farmland again considering that their (community) livelihood is dependent on farming.
The community maintained that this was aside constant threat to life encountered by indigenes who farm in their land on a daily basis since 2015.
Findings revealed that the officers of the Nigerian Police Force at Mgbala Police Division, Oguta, and some personnel of the Nigerian Army arrived the scene after the killers had fled and carried the body of the butchered farmer.
Agwa, a community known for farming is located within the oil rich region of the state which contributes to the food security of the state, has been witnessing food shortages recently due to massive cattle ranching.
Several communities are currently battling with the constant threat of herdsmen to their means of livelihood, sources said are; Akabo- is one of the communities where it was also alleged that a couple was killed last week; others places includes: Izombe, Okwukwu, Ejemekwuru, Amafor, Obibi, Amakohia and Egbeme all in Imo state.
Speaking to newsmen in the wake of the attack which occurred in the early hours of yesterday, eye witnesses (name withheld) said, the incident has thrown the whole community into fear and chaos considering the spate of murder going on in the country by different men of the underworld.
Narrating the unfortunate incident, Mr Austin Onyeoma (a resident) said after a gruesome destruction of their crops by herder’s cattle, the community has been dragged into economic quagmire, subjecting them to excruciating pains during this pandemic.
He said, having heard the herdermen were on their farm land in the early hour of the yesterday, they matched to the location to know the rationale for their invasion only for the banditry unleashed AK-47 on them causing them on sighting them, then they ran for dear life.
According to him, “When we got to our farm land where their Cattle were devouring our crops which we invested so much, we engaged them on conversation only for them to start shooting at us with their AK-47.
“In the process, they shot Mazi Iriaka and slit his back neck after we ran for dear life. I have never seen this in my entire life where people can no longer farm on their land to survive because of threats from herdsmen considering the lockdown.”
More so, an eye witness; Mazi Chidi Onyeko, decried the lack security in the country especially in the rural areas, expressed surprise as to why would government allow all this atrocities and gruesome murder of people in a manner that is disdaining in the modern world to continue unabated.
“Many of the communities are made up of petty farmers who solely depend on their food crops for survival and to sponsor their children to school. Most of our children cannot go to school again with the fear of the herdermen.
“We do not any weapons to protect ourselves, that is why they committed this evil and escaped. We only demand justice and asked the government to intervane to bring this people to book. Unfortunately, the police did not come to our rescue despite the proximity of the scene of crime.
“Since 2015, we have been feeling insecure and whenever we go to our farmlands we see our crops ready for harvest eaten up by cattle and the worst of it all is those that we have planted for next season are totally destroyed,” he lamented.
The event which happened around 7.30am, Saturday13, June, 2020, is among the recent killings within the local government. They are calling on relevant authorities to come to their rescue and let the arm of law prevail over these deadly acts.
Speaking with our reporter in a telephone interview, The Head & Executive Director of Global Rights -Nigeria, Abiodun Baiyewu, said it’s high time the federal government as well state governors of Nigeria lived to their responsibilities to protect life and properties as the primary task of any government as enshrined in the constitution.
According to Baiyewu, Nigerians are still mourning the wanton death of so many citizens in recent time across the country and would not take more of such evil acts against humanity.
She stressesed; “Nigeria just commemorated Democracy Day, but in the past few days, about 150 citizens were killed in mass violence across the country. Our brothers and sisters killed were not just numbers, they had names, they had dreams, they were us, but for them democracy has ended, they will not be here, they will never speak again and they will never vote again, yet we are not at war.
“NigeriaMourns speaks for Nigerians who have died from insecurity in our democracy by publishing a representative list of these victims. In a democracy, government must be FOR the people.”
She added that life is precious and the sanctity of life must be reverend noting that everyone must rise and demand justice and accountability from the government. “We cannot afford to keep quiet in the face of growing impunity.” she ululated.