The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Wednesday, condemned the invasion and killing of eight residents of Okpokwu-Mgbuji community in Isi-Uzo Council Area by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
It warned that Ohanaeze “can no longer tolerate the intentional decimation of our people by Fulani herdsmen or any other group for that matter; not today, tomorrow or ever.”
Enugu Command of the Nigeria Police Force has kept silent on the attack four days after as it could neither confirm nor denied the invasion.
Among the people the assailants were reportedly killed include a pregnant woman and septuagenarian whose daughter and son-in-law were killed two weeks earlier by same herders.
The attackers who were said to have invaded the community on Sunday were said to have injured many and kidnapped about five women and destroyed hectares of farmlands.
It was gathered that the attack was the fourth in a series of onslaught by the militia herdsmen since December, 2020.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, had when contacted on Wednesday, four days after the attack, he simply said “will get back to you.”
But at the time of filing this report, he had yet to do so.
But Enugu leadership of the Igbo apex body in a statement titled: ‘the carnage in Mgbuji community, Enugu state by Fulani herdsmen’ described the unwarranted invasion, wanton destruction of lives and property including farmlands as unjustifiable.
The statement which was signed the President and Secretary, Prof. Fred Odo Eze and Dcn. Malachy Chuma Ochie, respectively, called on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State to take action and protect the people in their communities.
The statement partly read: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Enugu State unequivocally condemns this attack on the peaceful Mgbuji Community. This deliberate mass murder by these marauding herdsmen cannot be justified by any stretch of the imagination.
“We, therefore, condemn this attack in its totality as barbaric, provocative and a clear assault on the accommodative spirit of Ndi-Enugu State.
“This must stop. We, therefore call on all the security agencies and other critical stakeholders in the state to urgently identify and bring the culprits to book.
“We wish to thank His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi, for his prompt response to this security emergency; and his appeal for calm in the affected community and the entire Enugu State. We are aware that the Governor has at various times reached out to the leadership of Miyetti Allah in Enugu State with appeals to rein-in their men so that we can all live in peace.
“Regrettably, despite these peace initiatives and engagements by the Governor, we have had repeated cases of killings by Fulani herdsmen in Enugu State including Uzo-Uwani, Nkanu-East, Awgu, Udi and Enugu-East LGAs. We wish to warn that the peaceful disposition of the Governor and indeed the people of Enugu State should not be taken for granted or interpreted as a sign of weakness as no one has the monopoly of Violence.”
One of the survivals, Chinaza Akan had told journalists that she survived the attack by whiskers, noting that the attackers came through Benue State border Community.
She said that the pregnant woman, identified as Ogechi Ogenyi was killed and her stomach ripped open. “They killed and ripped her stomach open and removed the foetus while others were killed and slit their throats.”
She said the incident happened when they where coming home from marriage ceremony.
Some community members accused the police in the state of aiding the attackers, saying “police asked our community to sign an undertaking before they could release the corpses of our community members killed in previous attacks for burial.
“Part of the undertaking was that our community should allocate land to the Fulani people, accept and live together with them whenever they return to the community.
“Our people refused to sign the undertaking because what they are demanding of us is unacceptable to us.”
Meanwhile, the attack came barely one week after suspected herdsmen militias attacked Obie -Aku Opanda in Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani council area of the state and killed four and injured many.