•Say enough is enough
•Attack on any Igbo soil is an attack on Nigeria—Iwuanyanwu
•Displaced residents narrate ordeals
•Nursing mothers, widows, bedridden patients now in exile—Rep By Anayo Okoli, Emman
Ovuakporie, Vincent Ujumadu, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Chinenyeh Ozor
UMUAHIA—As condemnations continue to trail the massacre of no fewer than 40 people of Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu by Fulani herdsmen last Monday, Igbo youths under the aegis of Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) have given the herdsmen three days to leave Igbo land or they will be forced out.
The Igbo youths gave the herdsmen till Monday to vacate all Igboland saying enough is enough even as it was gathered that the attack by the herdsmen has forced nursing mothers, widows, children and bedridden patients from the affected communities into exile.
An Igbo traditional ruler, Igwe Rowland Odegbo and Champion newspaper publisher, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu also condemned the massacre and tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Rising from an emergency meeting held in Enugu on Thursday, the Igbo youths in their communique noted that the herdsmen “are off-shoots of Boko Haram and must not be allowed any breeding ground in Igbo land. Any herdsman who fails to quit South East by Monday will have himself to blame”.
The communique was signed by the National Vice President of the group, Mazi Obinna Achuonye and the Chairmen of OYC in seven Igbo- speaking states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Delta, Imo and Rivers.
According to the communique, “never again will Igbo youths fold their arms and watch our people being massacred by blood-sucking terrorists under the guise of herdsmen. Urgent times need drastic measure. We warn all violent Fulani herdsmen to vacate our farmland, our backyards, our territories and boundaries on or before Monday next week.
“Even though Ohanaeze Ndigbo will meet over the weekend to discuss this menace, Igbo youths will not wait until our people are massacred again before we take action.
“If after Monday and the herdsmen are still around, we will direct Igbo vigilante groups set up by OYC in all the 95 Local Government Areas in South East to force them out”.
Continuing OYC said it had also uncovered plots through its intelligence unit that Ebonyi State has been marked as the next target of the rampaging herdsmen.
“We have uncovered plots that their next target is Ebonyi State. They are coming from Taraba State to attack Ebonyi.
We want the Governor of Ebonyi State and all the security agents in the state to be at alert”, OYC alerted. OYC claimed that Igbo youths were already collaborating with Ijaw youths and Middle Belt youths on how to defend their people as the Federal Government under Buhari has failed to protect them.
“Ijaw youths, and Middle Belt progressives are already waiting for the expiration of the deadline on Monday. Fulani herdsmen have pushed us to the wall, time to take action is now or never”, it warned.
Nursing mothers, widows, bedridden patients now in exile—Rep
Meanwhile, the barbaric murder of over 40 persons in Igboland by Fulani Herdsmen has forced nursing mothers, widows, children and bedridden patients in the area into exile, a member of the House of Representatives Chime Oji has said.
Speaking in an interview with Saturday Vanguard in Abuja, Oji who represents Enugu North/South Federal Constituency of Enugu State said that since the gruesome murder of innocent citizens by the herdsmen, the mood in the area had been that of total frustration, despair and anguish.
According to him, “To the best of my knowledge, the killing was not an offhand attack. It was too coordinated to be an impromptu or perfunctory misunderstanding. The damage is colossal to be dismissive by any right thinking and patriotic Nigerian.”
Describing the mood in the area as that of anguish, he said, “it is total frustration, creating fear, despair, anguish and forced exile on the people, most of whom are infirm children, very old and pregnant women, nursing mothers and widows, including bedridden patients who were all compelled to leave their homes for exile.”
Displaced residents narrate ordeals
Residents of the community who fled their homes as a result of the attack and now taking refuge at petrol stations, churches, motor parks, hospitals, army barracks and uncompleted buildings have also recounted their ordeals. One of the displaced persons, John Ayogu of Nimbo community told Vanguard that his family survives at the mercy of good Samaritans who donate food, water and fairly used clothes.
“We sleep at any available space at night and roam the town in the day time for food to eat, mostly for the teenagers who were forced out of school by the barbaric attack and killings in our community. People have been helpful to the residents of Nimbo, some people took some of us to their residential homes to take refuge, and many others buy food items and water for us. We fled our community without food and cloth. The number of death was too much for one community to bear. Our children were forced out of school for a good number of days now; we don’t know when it will be safe for us to go back to ours farms. We are predominantly farmers but the herdsmen could not allow us settle in our farms as they rape women and young girls. We no longer allow our younger girls to go to the farms for fear of being defiled by Fulani herdsmen”
Utazi Chikodili of Nimbo in tears at Royal Cross hospital said, ‘’Fulani herdsmen have finished our people, turned indigenes of Nimbo to beggers. We wander about everyday looking for food and water to stay alive with the little ones who could do nothing but to cry when they are hungry. We sleep at this hospital every day and night, people do come here to give us food and water, and we take our bath at midnight because of space.
Ajougwu Chisom (15) an SS 2 student at Community Secondary School, Nimbo and Ugwoke Regina (10) in primary six, said, ‘’we went to buy food items with the little money people gave to us. We are staying with our sister and our parents but we want to go back to school”
Attack on any Igbo soil is an attack on Nigeria—Iwuanyanwu
Chief Iwuanyanwu, in his reaction said “once again, innocent Igbo blood have been shed in Igboland by Fulani herdsmen. The activities of these herdsmen in the past 12 months have been of great concern to all men and women, who are committed to the unity, peace and economic development of Nigeria. These group of people have waged serious war against many Nigerian communities.
“Wherever they attacked, they were reported to have used sophisticated weapons and other weapons of modern warfare. They have slaughtered people in a most brutal and uncivilized manner. They have raped women, including young girls, married women and the aged women. This matter has become a matter of grave concern to everybody.
The recent attack in Ukpabi Nimbo in Enugu State, is very painful to Nigerians and Igbos in particular. By Igbo culture and tradition, the greatest injury one can inflict on an Igboman, is to attack him and kill him in his home. It is even worse when his property is destroyed, some lives are lost, their women brazenly violated. Attack on any Igbo soil is an attack on Nigeria and an impunity on the peace loving Igbo people.
“This matter should not be treated with levity but regarded as a matter that can seriously affect peace, unity and economic progress of this country, which all of us are trying to achieve.
Today, most farmers in these areas are afraid to go to their farms for fear that they may be killed, kidnapped or raped by this group, resulting in poor agricultural production in Igbo land and other parts of Nigeria, where they are invading. The truth is that this matter has assumed a dangerous dimension. The Nigerian Police is over stretched. It is impossible for Nigeria to get enough policemen to police Igbo farmland and other parts of the country, where the so called herdsmen are rampaging. Rather the following questions needs to be addressed and answered:
*By the laws of Nigeria, individuals are not allowed to carry automatic weapons.
Who allowed the herdsmen to carry automatic weapons? *Since this invasion, kidnapping and raping by the Fulani herdsmen commenced some years ago, no arrests or prosecution or conviction has been made against any of them.
Set up panel of inquiry, Monarch tells Buhari Similarly, the traditional ruler of Nteje in Oyi local government area of Anambra State, Igwe Rowland Odegbo has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a panel of inquiry to look into the remote and immediate causes of the activities of Fulani herdsmen who have been killing people in various parts of the country in recent times.
Speaking in an interview, Igwe Odegbo, who is a prominent member of Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers, said the panel of inquiry should consist of security operatives, leaders of thought and traditional rulers.
He described as unfortunate a situation whereby herdsmen swoop on communities and slaughter people and wondered “why people should be killed because of cows” He said: “President Buhari is a Fulani man and his silence on this matter is not sending any good signal.
He was elected to protect the lives of all Nigerians irrespective of their tribe and he should not encourage a section of the country to threaten the lives of other Nigerians.
“Grazing areas should only be established in the North for the people who do the business of rearing cows. They should not come down to the south to avoid conflict with communities who are mainly farmers.” Vanguard