From: Petrus Obi, Enugu
Scores of villagers from Ndiagu-Umunafor, Mburubu, in the Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State have fled the farm settlement in fear of possible attack by Fulani herdsmen whom they claim have recently unleashed terror on them, destroying farms and raping their women.
Traditional ruler of Mburubu, Igwe Emmanuel Eze, who spoke to our reporter, in his palace, called for quick government intervention, pointing out that his subjects were living in fear because of the weapons in the possession of the herdsmen.
His words, “As it stands today our women are very scared to go to the farms because the herdsmen are fully armed. We have heard of the incidences of Agatu, Nimbo and Atakwu, it scares when you see a man who has already commandeered all the cattle into a farm that you newly cultivated and they are busy vandalising all the crops.”
However, the state government said it has stepped into the issue, stating that it is not a threatening situation. He also disclosed claims by the herdsmen that 12 of their cows were killed by the villagers.
Also speaking, Prince Lawrence Eze expressed regrets that the herdsmen have suddenly become a terror to the villagers, saying “as we speak, they are almost in charge of our lands. This is like an affront on our people; it’s like declaring a war. We are not at war with anybody, but why destroying our farmlands?
“People can no longer sleep with their eyes closed because the herdsmen are moving with their guns in the evenings and at night. We are not war; we are not a conquered people; we are not slaves. We don’t want to go into confrontation with them because we don’t have the sophisticated weapons that they have, but one thing remains that we cannot run away from our ancestral home.”
Speaking for the state government, Chairman Nkanu East Caretaker Committee, Chief Ikechukwu Obeagu, confirmed that there was an issue between the herdsmen and villagers of Mburubu just like in so many other places.
According to Obeagu, “It is true but it is not as if it is a threat. They are chasing Fulani people around and they are feeling they will come back for them but there is nothing like that.
“The Fulani herdsmen are also complaining that they killed 12 of their cows, they have to pay for the cows. That is why I am here, although I don’t see the truth in it. But we are here to resolve the problem and see how to compensate some people.”
But a community leader from the area, Chief Simon Aniobi, disagreed with the council chairman pointing out that there was a heavy shooting recently which forced the villagers to flee the farmland pointing out that four of those displaced are in his house.