From Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki, Fred Itua, Abuja, Aloysius Attah, Onitsha and Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Governor Dave Umahi, yesterday, imposed dusk to dawn curfew in Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government Area as part of efforts to restore peace to the troubled community.
Umahi, who gave the order through his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, said the curfew is with immediate effect.
Igwe, who announced the governor’s directive at Effium while on assessment visit, said military and police personnel have been fully deployed to man all exit and entry points, including forests and bush parts to enforce the order.
The deputy governor, in a statement by Monday Uzor, chief press secretary, warned miscreants and hoodlums hiding in the forests and bushes to vacate the community immediately in their own interest as security agents have been directed to route them out.
“Also, those who are in the habit of raising false alarm to distract and divert attention of security agents are by this announcement advised to desist from doing that as such person(s) will be tracked, arrested and prosecuted as one of those promoting the crisis,” he said in the statement.
•Attackers phone recovered
Residents of Egedege, Obegu, Umuhuali and Amauzu communities and its environs in Ishielu Local Governement Area are still living in fears about 48 hours after suspected Fulani herdsmen killed several persons
This is as report has it that a mobile handset belonging to one of the assailants has been recovered.
When Daily Sun visited the communities, yesterday, the entire area looked deserted and forlorn as many residents had reportedly fled for fear of another attack.
From Egedege Junction to Obegu community looked lonely and fearsome as nobody was sighted on the four-kilometre road to Obeagu except for security operatives stationed at the junction.
The Eze-elect of Obegu community, Lawrence Ede, told Daily Sun that the community was yet to recover from the shock of the incident.
He said many of the people killed were youths who served as breadwinners of their respective families, noting that the community was still mourning.
The community leader, who said the actual figure of the persons killed during the attack was yet to be ascertained, however, confirmed that six youths from the community were among those killed.
“We have never seen calamity like this before,” he said.
Daily Sun gathered that the mobile handset recovered at the scene of the incident may have provided some clues to unraveling the perpetrators of the attack.
Governor Umahi, while condemning the act on Tuesday, said government was in possession of credible lead to the assailants.
•CAN: South East under siege, wants govs to wake up
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East, has condemned the killings.
Rising from an emergency meeting in Enugu, CAN said it was grief-stricken over the senseless murder of defenceless villagers barely 24 hours after some natives were also murdered by suspected herdsmen in Igga, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the state.
In a communique signed by CAN Chairman in South East, Goddy Okafor, the Christian body said: “We are drenched in tears and sorrow and that is why we are demanding the perpetrators must be brought to book. We read in the newspapers that Governor Umahi of Ebonyi State ‘says he knows those behind the dastardly act’, so the government should go after them with every force of law to serve as a deterrent to others.
“Wherever these people are, whoever they are, security agencies must fish them out and have them face the consequences of their actions. These two incidents must not be swept under the carpet like previous ones.”
CAN equally said the latest killings should serve as a wake up call to the South East governors as “it now appears the zone is indeed under siege as no day passes by without one form of similar incident or the other.
“The governors should put politics aside and come up with collaborative strategies to safeguard the zone by checkmating the activities of these killer herders and bandits who are terrorising the South East zone.
“We are also telling the Federal Government that – enough is enough. Time of so much talk, little action should be over by now. Lives of Nigerians should not be treated with disdain anymore. The government should rise to the occasion and protect the citizens,” CAN said.
senators push for manhunt of culprits
Reacting, South East caucus of the Senate charged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, and heads of security agencies to fish out those responsible for the recent killings in some communities in Ebonyi State.
Leader of the caucus and former deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, in a statement in Abuja, said the killings must not go unresolved and the perpetrators unpunished like in other similar cases in parts of the country.
“This act is most unfeeling and gruesome; we condemn it in totality. But more importantly, this must not go unpunished like others before it. It is imperative to warn that the Nigerian state is fast delegitimising itself by its failure to discharge the primary purpose of government, which is security and welfare of the people, as clearly prescribed in Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution.
“The widespread killings and all manner of violent crimes across the country have continued to worsen because the perpetrators walk away with their crimes, never arrested or brought to book.
“Therefore, this is particularly a call on the IGP and heads of security agencies to bring the perpetrators of the Ebonyi killing to book expeditiously.
“To do otherwise, will amount to further loss of government’s exclusive power of coercion to non-state actors and brigands, leaving citizens and constituent parts of the country with no option than to further resort to self-help,” Ekweremadu said.
•Umahi shedding crocodile tears
However, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, has criticised what it described as crocodile tears shed at the scenes of the murder.
In a statement jointly signed by principal officers of Intersociety, including Emeka Umeagbalasi, Obianuju Igboeli, Chidimma Udegbunam and Samuel Kamanyaoku in Onitsha, yesterday, it described the governor’s visit to the scene as ‘medicine-after-death’.
The group alleged that under Umahi as Ebonyi governor and chairman of South East Governors’ Forum, the South East and Igbo enclaves in neighbouring Benue and Kogi states and security of the homeland Igbo people have grown porously and become gravely at risk and endangered.
“The homeland Igbo ethnic nationality, apart from the 1967-70 civil war, insecurity and other safe conditions, have never been so threatened and endangered. The present ‘South East Governors’ Forum’, involving Governor Umahi as its chairman and governors of Anambra, Enugu, Imo and Abia states is the weakest in Nigeria and a threat to future security and safety of the homeland Igbo Nation and its people.”