BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI-Two people are feared dead, while an unspecified number of women have been reportedly raped by Fulani herdsmen who invaded Umuapu community in Ohaji/Egbema local council area of Imo State with their cattle.
Vanguard investigation revealed that angered by the alleged gory activities of the Fulani herdsmen, scores of women and youths barricaded the ever busy Owerri-Port Harcourt federal highway yesterday to protest their plight.
Traffic along the highway was, for the greater part of yesterday, disrupted at Umuapu, while commuters were forced to seek alternative routes to get to their destinations.
One of the protesters, who simply identified himself as Chukwudi, lamented that “apart from the two dead villagers, the Fulani herdsmen have ceaselessly raped our women and girls as well as destroyed the crops in our farms.”
He described the grazing of their cattle on farmlands as “a deliberate ploy by these Fulani herdsmen to ensure that we are not food sufficient in Imo.”
Every effort made to reach the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Linus Nwaiwu, a deputy superintendent of police, failed as he was said to be away from the office when Vanguard called.
However, a senior police officer in the State Police Headquarters, Owerri, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the incident and quickly added that normalcy had returned to the rural community.
“The police is aware of previous reports about the activities of the Fulani herdsmen in the area. We are investigating the incident but the villagers did not wait for us to complete our investigations before they jumped into the highway,” the police officer said.