How suspected herdsmen killed my husband, sister in -law in Enugu, widow narrates

 A house destroyed  during the mayhem

A house destroyed during the mayhem

A widow, Mrs. Stella Okeja, yesterday narrated how her husband and sister-in-law were killed by suspected herdsmen in Abbi community, Uzo Uwani local council of Enugu State.

Okeja was testifying yesterday in Enugu before the commission of inquiry into the killing of people and destruction of property by suspected herdsmen in Nimbo.

She said the incident happened around 4p.m. on the ill-fated day while she and her husband, Mr. Fidelis Okeja, were harvesting pepper in their garden at the back of their home. She said while they were in the garden, they heard gunshots, but could not decipher the direction the sounds were coming from.

“Suddenly, some men on flowing gown accosted us and that was when we knew that there was danger and we had to run for our lives. As we were running, I grew tired and fell down, but the herdsmen moved ahead in pursuit of my husband,” she said.

The widow, who said that her late husband was a schoolteacher, disclosed that the hoodlums eventually caught up with her spouse and gave him deadly machete cuts, which led to his death.

“I ran into the bush with some other members of the community. We were there until we heard that soldiers had come to our community before we came out.
“On getting back home, I discovered that some of them went into our house and killed my husband’s younger sister. Several houses and motorcycles were burnt in the course of the invasion,” she said.

Okeja added that the deceased’s family has been suffering for lack of care since the incident happened in February as her husband left behind 10 children and three wives.

Another witness, Dr. Michael Ajogwu (SAN), told the tribunal that members of the community have turn to refugees even in their homes due to incessant attacks by suspected herdsmen.

Ajogu, who is also the counsel to the community in the inquiry, said the herdsmen always put up an argument that they were free to move anywhere.
“The argument the herdsmen put up every time is that there is freedom of movement, but we say that the freedom of movement envisaged in the Constitution is that of people not cows. There is no way their reason can be justified when their cattle eat up our crops on the fields.

“Rearing of cattle is farming. So, government must put up initiatives to safeguard crops planted by crop farmers, same way they seem to be supporting the herdsmen, who are doing their private business but becoming lawless in recent times. Our people are turning to refugees and beggars because farming is our sole industry,” Ajogwu said.

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