Thursday, 28 April 2016

Fulani herdsmen:Angry South-East govs storm Abuja

South-East governors 

  • President directs CDS, IGP to stop perpetrators

  • Protest in Enugu as Ugwuanyi summons emergency meeting

Governors of the five South East states of Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra are unhappy with the spate of killings in the zone by Fulani herdsmen. They are demanding a meeting with President Mohammadu Buhari over the issue. Sources in government houses in the zone confided in New Telegraph yesterday that already, the governors have flown to Abuja to seek an audience with the president.
Although, they have other businesses to conduct in Abuja, their priority now is to put a stop to the menace, which the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha described as a national embarrassment. Although there have been isolated cases of killings and brushes with farmers in the zone, the killing of over 30 people in Ukpabi-Nimbo community of Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, on Monday, has rankled the governors. It was gathered that the governors are in Abuja to lodge their displeasure and complaint to the Federal Government.
They are also to make some definite demands on the presidency concerning the unchallenged impunities of Fulani herdsmen in the region. Okorocha, who returned to Imo State on Tuesday, from a medical trip, is said to have rallied his colleagues in the region to action, describing the killings by the nomads as a national calamity. While Okorocha, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, (Enugu) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) left for Abuja yesterday morning, David Umahi, the Ebonyi State governor was said to have left Tuesday evening for Abuja.
It is not very clear the disposition of Governor Willy Obiano of Anambra State on the issue. “The governors are evidently pained by the wanton killing campaigns of the Fulani nomads and are sufficiently embarrassed and insulted by the fact that in the face of such killings, the system renders them helpless and unable to protect their citizens”, said an official of the Imo State government.
It was also gathered that part of the measures being adopted by the states is to push the state Houses of Assembly to pass Bills outlawing grazing on farmlands and formation of a regional taskforce against unlawful grazing.
An official of the Enugu State government, who confirmed that Ugwuanyi left for Abuja yesterday, told New Telegraph that the governor was embarrassed that the attacks occurred just after a security meeting on Sunday in the state. “It wasn’t as if the Governor did not get a warning of the impending attack. He got it and summoned a security meeting last Sunday. Mobile policemen were deployed to the area.
In the morning, they just left. It was when they left that these people struck. We don’t know if anybody directed them to do that, but it is obvious that we are going to seek changes here.” It was gathered that the governors might ask for the replacement of the Commissioner of Police in the state.
But yesterday, protests and condemnations trailed the Ukpabi-Nimbo killing as a group, the Concerned Citizens of Enugu State, took to the streets of Enugu to protest. The protesters marched from New Market through Okpara Avenue, Holy Ghost Park, Edinburgh Street, the State House of Assembly, ending at the Government House, Enugu.
Some of the placards read: “Stop the killings. No more human blood for cows”, “Ndigbo are part of humanity, stop the herdsmen massacre at Uzo-Uwani”, “stop killing Ndigbo, Fulani must go, Gburugburu, wake up from your sleep”, “Stop the killing, Buhari sit up, Fulani must go, Ugwuanyi speak up” and “Operation stay alive, leave Igbo alone”.
Spokesman of the group, Dr. McGinger Ibeneme, decried the incessant destruction of farmlands; killings, rape and kidnapping of people of the South East geopolitical zone by suspected Fulani herdsmen. “The crux of the matter is that every day, people go to their sleep and Fulani cattle herdsmen will come and slaughter them. Just few days ago, over 200 people were massacred in their village in Uzo-Uwani. There has never been any arrest; if anything, the Awgu indigenes were arrested for chasing away the invaders. They had to bail themselves. Their women were raped, their men abducted.
“We have heard about a Catholic priest being abducted; we have heard about churches being burnt; we have heard about women being raped. Every single day, day-by-day, lives are lost. The Federal Government has refused to say anything; the presidency has been quiet over the Fulani invaders.
Are the lives of their cows worth more than our lives? Why are they killing us? Is it a crime to be a Nigerian? We just want answers. When will the killings stop? Why hasn’t the president sent the army? Why hasn’t the president deployed the intelligence?
Meanwhile, Ugwuanyi has summoned an emergency meeting with the traditional rulers, pres-ident-general of Towns Union and leaders of the neighbourhood watch in all the communities in the state. The meeting, which is part of series of action plans of the state government to find a lasting solution to the menace of the Fulani herdsmen in the state, is scheduled to hold on Monday, May 2.
The governor, according to a source, is “determined to put an end to the inhuman acts of the herdsmen which have consumed the lives and property of innocent citizens of the state, as well as threatened the peace and security of the state and the nation at large.”
Ikpeazu condemned what he described as the carnage and wanton destruction of human lives meted out to the defenceless people of Nimbo by the herdsmen. The governor, in a message to Enugu State, over the killing of over 40 people in the community, also decried the excesses of herdsmen across Nigeria, warning that the situation could degenerate into a national crisis, if drastic measures were not taken by the Federal Government to checkmate the rampage.
Ikpeazu noted that “the herdsmen’s audacious killings and sacking of communities and farmlands constitute another national security challenge and a huge threat to the peace and unity of the country.” He stressed that the trend was a “time-bomb waiting to explode.”
Similarly, the South East Senate Caucus yesterday warned of imminent dangers including possible threats to the unity of Nigeria if the Federal Government failed to urgently address root causes of the incessant massacre of innocent Nigerians by the armed Fulani herdsmen.
Rising from an emergency meeting in Abuja, the Senators the attack. In a statement endorsed by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe ( PDP/ Abia South), the caucus disclosed that the bi- regional summit will be attended by “We can no longer sit and watch while our people are daily slaughtered like fowls without even attracting the cursory routine condemnation by the Presidency.

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