Herdsmen’s mayhem in Enugu: The untold story
The attack on Nimbo community in Uzouwani LGA, Enugu State by Fulani herdsmen may have come and gone, the damages will surely remain for ages. Families, friends and sympathisers have been mourning their deceased ones and the community has been deserted following the incidence of the early hours of Monday, 25th April, 2016.
Saturday Sun paid a visit to some families that lost their beloved ones in the attack and more facts emerged. Mr. Dennis Eze, a brother to late Mr. Maxwell Eze who died in the attack has this to say. “We are still in shock. We never knew this attack would happen because there was information prior to the attack and the security agencies were alerted one week before the attack yet they couldn’t do anything to stop it”, Mr. Dennis said.
Explaining how the attack happened, he said: “We had a meeting on Sunday evening where we discussed how to protect our community from the attack if it took place. It was around 3am on Monday that a warning bell was rung and woke everybody up, but we never knew it was the Fulani herdsmen that rang the bell so that we could come out. Behold, there were armed men in their large numbers and they started shooting at us. What saved some of us was that we have dispersed settlements in our community. Before some of us could come out, we heard gunshots and we ran for our lives instead of going to the village square. Only those who live close to the village square were killed. My own house is far from my brother’s own. Some also managed to escape.”
Another eyewitness who identified himself as Ifeanyi Onyeabor said that the herdsmen came to the community through Ameke village around 12am on Monday and laid ambush to attack by 3am. “We believe they came into our village around 12am and laid ambush to attack us by 3am. The information we got was that they would attack Uzouwani but no community was mentioned. We even thought it would be Abbi community because of the crisis they are having with Fulani herdsmen”, Ifeanyi said.
On the part of the security operatives, Ifeanyi said the security agencies did nothing to avert the attack despite the fact that they were given a first hand information about their hideout. “Our informant spotted where the Fulani herdsmen camped in between Ameke village and Eshi river and we reported to the police. All they could do was to patrol along Nsukka – Adani road without making any effort to chase them away from their camp”, he revealed.
When Saturday Sun asked for the name of the informant and how he got the information, Ifeanyi said “A man from Opanda whose name was never mentioned said he came in contact with his Fulani friend who warned him to leave Uzouwani with his family and run for his life saying they had recruited over five hundred armed men from Niger and Nasarawa states to attack Uzouwani on Monday. The man said he asked the Fulani man the target but the Fulani man could not tell him. He only said the attack will not happen at Opanda. Before then, they had relocated their cattle to Benue”
“Another man who spotted them at their camp at Ameke was in his farm when he saw them. He wanted to run but they told him not to run because they were not after him. They told him they were going to another community for revenge and not his community. The man came back and raised the alarm and the security agencies were alerted immediately through the Caretaker Committee chairman of Uzouwani LGA, Hon. Cornel Onwubuya”, he explained further.
Motive for the attack
Mr. Ifeanyi Onyeabor claimed he had no idea what the Fulani herdsmen avenged but another informant who would not want to be mentioned has a good information. The source said his Fulani friend came to him and showed him a picture of a Fulani man who was butchered at Uzouwani and they claimed it was Nimbo people that killed him because they also discovered a grave in Nimbo where two Fulani men were buried upside-down.
“He came to my house at Opanda one week before the attack and showed me the pictures. He came with two pictures, one has the image of a man that was sliced like bread and the other has an image of a man whose belly was sliced open and his intestines were removed. He told me that they discovered a grave in Nimbo where two of their people were buried upside-down and they attributed the other two killings to Nimbo people. He told me that they would attack Uzouwani but he never mentioned Nimbo”, the source revealed.
However, the families of late Raphael Irege and Adeja Nwagu have continued to mourn their fathers who were killed in the attack. Speaking to Saturday Sun, Mrs. Ijeoma Catherine Irege, the wife of late Raphael Irege said she wanted to demand for justice over the death of her husband but the way the security agencies handled the attack made her to believe that getting justice will never be possible. “What else can I say or do? I want justice for the death of my husband but it has dawned on me that such a thing is not possible in this country. If the government and the security agencies in Enugu State and Nigeria cannot do anything to stop the attack when they received first hand information that could have helped them, it would be stupid to hope or ask for justice. One will not be wrong to even say they collaborated with the security agencies. What will become of me and my family? Where do we go from here?”, she lamented.