Catholic Church, 11 houses burnt. ‘It’s a national issue, not ethnic’ —Okorocha
‘Cattle owners, not herdsmen, should be questioned’—Ohaneze
By Emeka Mamah, Clifford Ndujihe, Chidi Nkwopara & Chinenyeh Ozor Nsukka
ABOUT 40 persons have so far been reportedly killed by some Fulani herdsmen at Nimbo in Uzo- Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, sources told Vanguard at Nsukka Police Area Command, near the area yesterday. The incident took place barely 24 hours after stories filtered out that no fewer than 500 heavily-armed Fulani herdsmen sneaked into the community preparatory to launch an attack. 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 said to have been burnt by the herdsmen just as vehicles and motorcycles were destroed and domestic animals killed. A young man, whose name was yet to be ascertained, was burnt inside a commuter bus belonging to one Ejima, son of a prominent man popularly called ‘Are you there’ near the Christ Holy Church, Nimbo.
A victim’s story Kingsley Ezugwu, former Councillor, Nimbo Ward 2, was one of the victims of the attack. Speaking from his hospital bed in Nsukka, Ezugwu said: “I was coming out from the house when I heard the community bell ringing. I was going with a friend to know what the bell was all about, only to see about 40 Fulani herdsmen armed with sophisticated guns and machetes. “They pursued us, killed my friend and shot at me several times but missed. They caught up with me and used machetes on me until I lost consciousness.” He said one of them later discovered that he was alive and called on the others to finish him off. They ignored him. He said he crawled until a good Samaritan helped him to the hospital. Dead bodies litter hospitals Refugees: Some residents fleeing the community.
So far, six dead bodies have been recovered and deposited at Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, while others, who sustained injuries were rushed to Royal Cross Hospital and Enugu State District Hospital , Nsukka. Meanwhile, villagers and other residents of the area were fleeing the town. ‘It’s a national issue’— Okorocha
In its reaction to the development, the South-east Governors Forum, said what happened at Ukpabi- Nimbo is like any other national issue that deserves the understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians of goodwill to tackle. Governor Rochas Okorocha, Chairman of the Forum, speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said: “It is a national issue that also requires national approach to resolve. “Our problem in this country is that whatever happens is given an ethnic colouration and that makes the solution to such problem somewhat difficult.”
‘It’s failure of governance’— Ohanaeze To the Secretary General of Ohanaeze, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, ‘the continuous killing of people across the country by herdsmen without any response from the Federal Government is a failure of governance’. He said: “We are very sad and very disappointed that all over the country, not just the South-east, these killings by Fulani herdsmen have continued unabated and nothing concrete is being done by the Federal Government.”
“The first act of governance is protection of lives and property. It is complete failure of governance. There has been no response from the Federal Government and this is allowing the Fulani herdsmen to continue the killing spree. “Everybody is worried about the poor attitude of the Federal Government to this massacre across the country. Boko Haram is operating in the North-east and Fulani herdsmen are killing people all over the country. It is not the herdsmen that should be held responsible, but owners of the cattle. “The herdsmen are under the instruction of highly-placed Fulani people who own the cattle. They are heavily armed. How many cows can the herdsmen buy? Federal Government should stop this nonsense before it causes a catastrophe.” I have quoted copiously from the Vanguard news story of last Tuesday to underscore the seriousness of the threat to national security, peace and order and the continued corporate existence of this country posed by the condoned barbaric terrorism of the Fulani herdsmen. There is no doubt that the so-called herdsmen are working out a script written for them by the over pampered owners of the cows that are driven throughout the country. Rearing of cattle has no business with wielding deadly weapons including the dreaded AK 47.
We have not recovered from the shock from the massacre of over 200 unarmed farmers in Agatu community in Benue state where hundreds of houses were razed to the ground and hundreds of farmlands plundered and vandalised by the same notorious gang who go by the euphemism of herdsmen.
The truth must be told that the design of the men who are rampaging the whole country is 21 Century expansionism and colonialism. Does it make any sense that they are killing people who are supposed to buy their cows? We have seen how the tactics played out in Plateau state and Southern Zaria, , two regions that have suffered the raging scourge of Fulani herdsmen these past 30 years. And the problem would have been resolved long ago but for the timidity and hypocrisy of our so-called national leaders.
Politicians are notorious for double speak. And most of them are always controlled by their ambition for winning political positions and offices. Because of an eye on elections, politicians usually hide behind a finger!
Governor Okorocha is right to declare that the Fulani herdsmen marauding is a national issue and not an ethnic issue. This is because the issue involved is a huge threat to the continued existence of this country, and it should therefore be thoroughly addressed by the entire country. And when we discuss the Fulani herdsmen, it should not be seen as an attack on the Fulani nationality. After all, it is only one blind man in a community that makes people to refer to the community as the community of the blind!
There are fine, highly sophisticated, highly educated and highly nationalistic Fulani men and women just as you find such qualities in many nationalities that are struggling to make a nation out of Nigeria . But there are also within each of the nationalities individuals and groups of individuals whose activities are a direct threat to the good name of this country.
What is happening right now is that the Fulani herdsmen are taking Nigeria for a ride and they are posing serious danger to many communities across the country. By their ruthless plunder of other people’s means of livelihood, attacking other people’s lands, raping people’s wives and daughters, and butchering unarmed innocent citizens, they are behaving as if they are above the laws of this country.
There are laws against private acquisition of arms and ammunitions without approved licence. And certainly AK 47 guns are not listed among weapons any individual or group of individuals should own in this country.
To be continued next week