The people of Ukpabi Nimbo community in Uzo-uwani Local Government Area that was attacked by Fulani Herdsmen on Monday have blamed security agencies for failure to act on the information given to them before the attack.
It was earlier reported that the community had called on security agencies that the Herdsmen were planning to attack them, prior to the gruesome invasion
One of the community’s leaders George Ajogu during the visit of the Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Enugu, Major General Attahiru Ibrahim, and the state Commissioner of Police, Nwobodo Ekechukwu said:
Had it been that security agencies responded appropriately, this would not have happened. They (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 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.
Caretaker Committe Chairman of Uzo Umani LGA, Cornel Onwubuya also said that he personally informed the governor, commissioner of Police and other heads of security agencies after confirming the planned attack. He said:
We had a security report that this was going to happen and I convened a meeting with Fulani stakeholders in Enugu State. Some Fulani leaders told us that the herdsmen were camped very close to our community. I informed the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State, who assured us that the attack would be stopped.
He (Commissioner of Police, Enugu) said he would get in touch with the Commissioner of Police in Kogi State to prevent the attack. The information we got was credible but unfortunately, they still attacked us.
Governor Ugwuanyi on his part said that he was assured by security heads that the attack would be prevented but lamented the fact that his people were still murdered by the Herdsmen. He also called on the Federal Government to act to stop the Fulani Herdsmen menace.
“At the emergency security council meeting, which I convened, we were given all the assurances that the attack would not happen. The Federal Government should do the needful, but as the governor, I call for peace and prayers. Until the Federal Government decides to address this situation, this will continue to happen,” he said
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police, Ekechukwu told PUNCH that he deployed policemen to the community after receiving the information that the place is under threat. He however said that the community is very vast and his officers, supported by soldiers prevented the attackers from coming to the centre of the community.
We massively deployed policemen in Uzo-uwani when we got information that the place is under threat, anyone saying we didn’t deploy sufficiently would not have been on the ground and so cannot say what happened.
Sufficient police officers were deployed, but the community is very vast; Nimbo is in Uzo-uwani Local Government Area and it has boundaries with Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue and Kogi States.
Our men were supported by soldiers and they prevented the attackers from coming to the centre of the community. The attack took place at the fringe of the town and my men engaged the attackers in a shoot-out and prevented them from coming to the centre of the town which was their target.
Speaking on whether any arrest has been made, he said, “It’s an ongoing thing, it’s a process, so we want to be silent on that.”