We’re now refugees in our land, say victims of Enugu herdsmen violence
• N’Assembly wades into crisis
• Gov. Ugwuanyi calls for fasting, prayers
In a bid to keep the peace in the polity, the National Assembly yesterday waded into the massacre of innocent citizens by cattle rearers who invaded several communities in Enugu State.
At the Senate, its Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu called for an urgent solution to the unending conflicts between farmers and herdsmen.
Senator Ekweremadu made this observation during plenary when he relied on Order 43 of the Senate Standing Orders to make a personal explanation over the mayhem in Uzo- Uwani community, where he said over 50 lives were reportedly lost, while over 2000 persons were displaced and homes and property worth millions of naira destroyed.
He insisted that the Senate must immediately conduct a public hearing to enable all stakeholders to state their feelings and experiences with a view to finding a lasting solution.
Ekweremadu said: “Mr. President, remember I drew your attention to a resolution of this Senate on Thursday 3rd, March, 2016. Recall that on that day, one of the issues we discussed was a motion titled ‘tackling the perennial conflicts between farmers and cattle herdsmen’. At the end of that debate, we took a number of resolutions. I recall that in my contribution I suggested that the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development as well as the Committee on National Security and Intelligence do conduct a public hearing on this matter with a view to articulating a lasting solution to the problem. Up till now, that public hearing has not started.
“As I speak, some people who live in Enugu, especially the Hausa and Fulani are taking refuge in the Army barracks and it is not good for our country. These are people who didn’t know about those who went and attacked the ordinary people of Uzo-Uwani and today they are now refugees. It also implies that if any person dies in the process, there could also be reprisals in other parts of Nigeria and this can engulf the whole country.”
Ekweremadu tasked security agencies, especially those within Enugu State, to urgently fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act, with a view to making them face the full wrath of the law.
He also called on the Federal Government to immediately deploy all the necessary intelligence-gathering mechanisms to ascertain whether the nation was truly dealing with herdsmen or terrorists and criminals marauding as cattle rearers.
At its plenary presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the House of Representatives mandated the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Ehigiator Arase, to conduct a thorough investigation into the killings allegedly perpetrated by herdsmen in order to bring them to book.
The House also summoned the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Mr. Lawal Daura, to explain the measures the agency was putting in place to stop the killings.
From Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi came yesterday a call for the people of Enugu State to embrace peace, saying that it was undergoing a trial period.
The governor, who visited the devastated Ukpabi Nimo community, Uzouwani council of the state following an early morning attack by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, called for two days of prayers and fasting for God’s intervention.
This is just as those who remain in the now deserted community said that they have “become refugees” in their own land, stressing that its existence “is now seriously threatened that we need to be told whether we are still part of Enugu State or whether we should be carved into Kogi State.”
The lawmakers’ decision followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Mr Chukwuemeka Ujam (Nkanu East, West: PDP: Enugu) who claimed that dozens of persons were killed in Ukpabi, and Nimbo community.
House Minority Leader, Mr Leo Ogor maintained that the ugly incident should serve as a wake-up call on the need to ensure herders are confined in specific areas in the country.
Aminu Shagari (Yabo: Shagari: Sokoto: APC) who decried the attacks maintained that those behind the dastardly act must be foreigners masquerading as Nigerian Fulani.
Meanwhile, Archbishop of Enugu Province (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma has warned that the frequent attacks and killing of innocent citizens across villages in Nigeria by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen are potential factors that might cause another civil war.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to do something quickly to tame the herdsmen, saying they have gradually turned an embarrassing menace to the country.
“One is wondering therefore what the federal government is doing about
these Fulani herdsmen that have become a menace in the whole country. We totally condemn this act; it is condemned, unacceptable and we say the Federal Government must speak and do something about it or else, this is calling and breeding for civil war,” declared Chukwuma.
Ugwuanyi, who battled to fight back tears on sighting the butchered body of one of the victims killed during the attack as it lay on a police patrol van, said he was more embarrassed that the attack could come after every effort and meetings he held with the security agencies and leaders of the Fulani community in the state.
On its part, the Agbekoya Farmers Revolutionary Group (AFRG) called on the Federal Government to immediately curtail the excesses and killings by herdsmen all over the country, to prevent it from escalating into a full-blown crisis.
The Baale of AFRG, Chief (Baale) Olalere Ayalu, made the call in Lagos against the backdrop of unrelenting attacks on farmers and communities by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Ayalu lamented attacks on Lagun, Iyana Offa, Offa, Alalagba, Lapala and their surrounding communities in Lagelu Local Council Area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
Also proffering solutions to the problem yesterday, Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari called for correct classification of Fulani herdsmen as separate from their Bororo counterparts.
Gambari, while receiving Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was on a courtesy visit to his palace, said not all herdsmen are truly Fulani as many “if not all of them are Bororos.”