In the wee hours of Monday, April 25th, 2016, mere anarchy was loosed upon Ukpabi-Nimbo, a sleepy small town in Uzo-Uwani LGA of Enugu State. On that day, scores of heavily armed Fulani herdsmen carried out a ferocious attack on members of the community, killing dozens and gravely injuring a large number of others.
According to reports from eye-witnesses, at least fifty people were feared dead and about thirty seriously injured in the onslaught. It was gathered also from sources that about twenty dead bodies were seen being deposited in the morgue of the Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, plus about thirty wounded natives, who reportedly insisted that more than fifty persons were killed. This much is in the public domain.
What many do not know, however, is that the bloody incident could have been averted, if prompt and decisive action had been taken, according to reports from civil rights groups. We learnt that the villagers became apprehensive from last week, when they observed the movement of large numbers of armed-to-the-teeth Fulani herdsmen around the area. According to a Human Rights Update issued by the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network, CRRAN, “The villagers therefore informed Mr. Cornel Onwubuya, the Chairman of the Transition Committee, Uzo-Uwani LGA, and also informed the state government and the leadership of the State Police Command.”
“We were informed that the Chairman of the Transition Committee of the Local Government informed the State Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the Police Commissioner, Nwodibo Ekechukwu, of the development. The Chairman of the Transition Committee summoned an emergency stakeholders meeting at the Uzo Uwani Local Government where the leaders of the Hausa Fulani in the Community assured the natives that no such attack will take place. All these transpired to over the weekend last week and by Monday morning the rampaging Fulani herdsmen attacked the community with sophisticated weapons like AK 47, killing and maiming the natives.”
The report continues: ”The spate of insecurity and human rights abuses which reached climax in the last three months gives concern for worry as the hitherto peaceful state of Enugu is now under siege. Since the departure of the administration of Barr. Sullivan Chime in May, 2015, the spate of insecurity is alarming, and the governor seems not to know what to do.”
If the foregoing is accurate, then the authorities had prior information regarding the impending holocaust. The question is, what did the authorities do to avert the impending catastrophe? The answer is, next to nothing. Which is really a pity, because all those lives could have been saved.
Something seriously has to be done about these incessant attacks on peaceful natives going about their lawful duties, and it’s only the authorities that can grant that succor to the people.