By Emeka Mamah & Francis Igata
Enugu—Worried by the accusation emanating from one Alhaji Sodu,an Enugu-based Fulani herdsman who claimed over the weekend that three of his sons and over 100 cows were missing, an aftermath of an alleged attack by Aku community youths, the entire Aku Welfare Association Federated, AWAF, yesterday, disassociated the community from such nefarious activities.
The union in a joint news briefing with all the traditional rulers of Aku community revealed that the purported attack did not take place within Aku boundary but instead, within Agu-Affa/Agu-Egede in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State.
A statement jointly signed by the chairman, Aku Traditional Rulers,Igwe V.O.Attah and the chairman,Aku General Assembly, Felix Ezikeanyi read: ”Available evidence and surrounding circumstances unequivocally shows that Aku youths or its representatives did not attack Fulani herdsmen as alleged.
“It was observed that the scene of the purported attack did not take place within Aku boundary but rather with Agu-Affa/Agu-Egede in Udi Local Government Area. Hence, there was no reason or nexus linking Aku youths to the alleged attack. We find it rather curious that the five assailants, who were reported to be masked and whose identities were by implication subjected to speculation were unguardedly associated with Aku youths.
“Security report from Igbo-Etiti Divisional Police Officer, DPO, during an interactive session between Aku community leaders and the division at Ogbede revealed that the attackers were suspected armed robbers; that butchering 10 cows and stealing another 300 is no mean feat and would be easily detected within Aku community, which is very close knit.”
It will be recalled that a palpable fear had engulfed Aku community last weekend,in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State following the allegation from Alhaji Sodu. Vanguard’s investigations showed that Alhaji Sodu has since reunited with his three sons. His allegation forced members of the community to scamper to safety over fears of reprisal attack.
Monarch urges govt to enact law regulating activities of herdsmen
Meantime, the traditional ruler of Unadu in Igboeze South Local Government Area of Enugu State, Igwe Okechukwu Agbaji, has asked the Enugu State government to enact a law to regulate the activities of Fulani herdsmen in the state.
Agbaji said that the ban on night grazing by Fulani herdsmen in the state was not backed by any law, adding that the motion passed by the state House of Assembly to that effect had no force of law.
He spoke during the New Yam festival of the community at his palace in Unadu, pointing out that at the time the government banned night grazing, he travelled to the near-by Akpanya community in Kogi State with members of his cabinet to sign agreement of friendship with the leader of the herdsmen to ensure peaceful coexistence with his people and the herdsmen, especially in respect of the ban on night grazing but regretted that the efforts did not deter the herdsmen from bringing their cattle to graze in the night at Unadu.
“The state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwanyi asked all traditional rulers in the state not to allow their people to fight the Fulani herdsmen but to dialogue with them.
“This is his policy as a peace loving governor. However, the government should work with the legislature and enact a law banning night grazing because the herdsmen are not observing the ban.”
“On August 28, 2016, herdsmen brought their cattle and destroyed all our crops here. The also came to one of the churches at Ugwuogene and drank all their water inside the church when service was going on. The herdsmen have been looking for avenue to attack our people and you know we are at the border of both Kogi and Benue States.
“Last week, a pastor in the Anglican Communion, at Obaka Unadu, ran to me here and complained that he came out to ease himself in the night and met some Fulani herdsmen sleeping with their guns and knives in the palour of his uncompleted building. Their mission is not yet known but this is provocative,” he said.