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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Herdsmen rampage on Nimbo: Ugwuanyi blames security agencies, sets up judicial panel

The Enugu State governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has blamed the security agencies for their failure to avert the suspected Fulani herdsmen rampage on Ukpabi-Nimbo community in Uzouwani Local Government Area, insisting he took all the cautionary measures to forestall the attack, reports ITRealms.

This is coming as Gov. Ugwuanyi has set up a judiciary commission of inquiry to investigate the immediate and remote causes of all the violent occurrences in the State associated with suspected Fulani herdsmen and recommend appropriate measures that will be put in place to prevent future occurrence.

Disclosing this on Friday at a meeting with key stakeholders in the state, including the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; members of the National and State Assemblies; Council Chairmen and members of the State Executive Council; as well as Peoples Democratic Party chieftains at the Government House to review the extent of the invasion on Nimbo, said scores of people were killed and property worth millions of naira destroyed.

He insisted that his leadership in Enugu State did everything possible to ensure the carnage was averted, declaring that “Only the security agencies can answer why” the attacks took place as they had given him assurances that the herdsmen attacks would be forestalled.

According to him, “On Sunday, April 24, 2016, by 7 pm, the night before this carnage took place, I got security information from Uzo-Uwani Local Government Transition Chairman, Hon. Cornell Onwubuya that such an incident was likely to take place in the state. 

“I immediately summoned a meeting of the State Security Council, which commenced by 10pm, attended by the following: 1. Garrison Commander Brigadier General Olufemi Akinjobi who normally represents the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division Nigerian Army; 2. The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nwodibo Ekechukwu;  3. The State Director of Department State Security Services (DSS), Mr. M. Abdul Malik; 4. The State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Mr. Lar Stephen; 5. Representatives of the Nigerian Air force, Federal Road Safety Corps and Nigerian Prison Services, who attended as observers. 

“From the side of government were, myself, the Governor, the Deputy Governor, the Secretary to the State Government, the Chief of Staff, the Chairman, State Traditional Rulers Council and the Honourable Attorney General of the State,” he explained.

Ugwuanyi also expressed confident after receiving assurances from the Commissioner of Police that the Area Commander of SARS was on ground in Nimbo, and that the Anti-Terrorism Unit was at Nimbo.

“That he was in contact with the Kogi State Commissioner of Police and reported suspected herdsmen grouping at Odolu in Kogi State preparatory for an attack on Nimbo and Abbi communities. That Police mobile force and conventional police were already drafted to Nimbo and Abbi communities. That he was in touch with the Area Commander, ldah, ACP lkegwuonwu and had linked him with the Area Commander, Nsukka, ACP Monday Kuryas,” the governor said. 

He went on to explain that “Both men, according to the CP, reported that there were no traces of suspected herdsmen in Nsukka or Idah; that he ordered the Area Commander, Nsukka to redeploy to Nimbo; That the Garrison Commander on his part assured the meeting that Military was already deployed to Nimbo and the State Government provided logistics for these deployments. 

“After receiving these assurances of deployments to Nimbo, I felt quite confident that we had done everything possible to forestall an attack on Nimbo," he said, stressing that he “deliberately narrated what transpired at the security council meeting fully conscious of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution pertaining to my oath of office.

“I am doing this in due discharge of my duties as Governor. Sadly, in the early hours of Monday reports of this carnage reached me.  More disturbing was the report that the attack of innocent and defenceless citizens were carried out at about 6:30am. 

“Further reports available to me indicate that apart from the killing and maiming of innocent and defenceless citizens of Nimbo, a Church was also burnt. Following this development, I engaged the security agencies in order to ensure that the Nimbo area was secured from further attacks that might escalate the situation.”

Ugwuanyi stated that “on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, I visited Nimbo in order to establish firsthand the extent of carnage,” lamenting that his visit to Nimbo was revealing as he came face to face with the wounded and bereaved. 

“I saw burnt and damaged personage of Christ Holy Church. I saw a traumatized community in shock and despair. I saw a dead body. I wept,” wondering what has become of the quest for a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. 

“Our first national anthem had a phrase which went thus: ‘though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand,” he said. 

The governor further alluded that “only two weeks ago we gave a posthumous award to Alhaji Umaru Altine, a Katsina born Muslim who was elected mayor of Enugu before the Civil War, in the period that Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was leader of the NCNC. 

“Now in less than three months, violent clashes have occurred in Enugu State in Awgu, Nike, Abbi and Nimbo between suspected Fulani herdsmen and our people. This situation cannot be allowed to continue,” he said.

Gov. Ugwuanyi also said he sought audience with His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. 

“Our discussions were frank and cordial. I am very grateful to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari, for his prompt and decisive reaction to the incident in Nimbo.

“The President came out with a clear and unmistakable condemnation of this dastardly act and gave clear and definite directives to the security agencies to fish out these criminals and bring them to justice.

“l have called you today not just to brief you on what has happened so far, but to discuss in depth with you on what we must all do to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future. 


For Ugwuanyi, “So long as we are Nigerians, we cannot live in isolation, but those who come to Enugu must respect our values and not engage in such dastardly act as we have witnessed recently.” 

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Pix: Gov. Ugwuanyi.

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