Residents of Ukpabi Nimbo, the Enugu community that was attacked by Fulani herdsmen on Monday, April 25, 2016, have said that they were aware that the Fulani herdsmen were coming but information made available to the police and soldiers were not acted upon, hence the deadly invasion that led to the death of over 20 persons in the community.
A community leader, Dr. George Ajogu, said the attack would have been prevented had the security agencies acted on the information made available to them by the villagers. According to him, the Fulani herdsmen did not take them unawares, they knew they were coming, but faulted the inaction of soldiers and policemen over the attack.
Punch reports that aged man saying “The Fulani herdsmen did not take us unawares, we knew they were coming. We are not happy; we have been crying for more than two weeks that our community is under threat. Now, over 20 people are dead.
“We are still discovering corpses; we discovered one corpse this morning (Tuesday, April 26) and so many corpses are still in the bush. We have been shouting and crying but the security agencies did not come to our aid; only one police patrol van comes to this community.
“Because we lack security, the Fulani come here and tell us the land is theirs. They tell the farmers to kneel down and they rape the women in front of their husbands.”
Ajogu said that due to the location of the village on the border between Enugu and Kogi states, residents of Ukpani Nimbo community were always under attacks from herdsmen, whom he stated sought to turn the villagers’ farmlands into grazing fields for their cattle.
He urged the federal and state governments to come to the assistance of the community, adding that security should be beefed up in the village to forestall future attacks. He also urged the security agents, who were deployed in the village to restore normalcy after Monday’s attacks, to remain in the community, pleading, “please don’t leave, if you leave now, they will return to attack us again”.
The scene of the incident and the gory sight of the dead bodies led to the governor of the state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi weeping when he visited the community in company of soldiers from the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu. In the governor’s entourage were the general officer Commanding of the division, Major General Atahiru Ibrahim and the state commissioner of Police, Nwodibo Ekechukwu.
During the visit, security was beefed up in the community with heavily armed military and police personnel positioned at strategic locations.
Governor Ugwuanyi, who said heads of the various security agencies in the state assured him that the attack would be foiled, described the incident as a sad moment for Enugu State. He said even as the governor, he was not in control of the security agencies.
He said, “At the emergency security council meeting, which I convened, we were given all the assurances that the attack would not happen.”
The Governor revealed that from available information, the attack was initiated from Kogi State. He said two lorry loads of herdsmen landed in parts of Kogi State before the attack. But he said as governor, he cannot control the security agencies but urged the federal government to address the situation that is threatening the security of the nation.