By Chinenyeh Ozor, Nsukka
The university town of Nsukka which was not long ago thrown into confusion and mourning following invasion and murder of two persons in nearby Abbi community by suspected Fulani herdsmen is once again under the grip of tension arising from the attack of an Enugu-based herbalist, Emmanuel Udorji, by unknown gun men who stormed his home supposedly on a killing mission.
But the talking point of the incident is that while the invaders had succeeded in assaulting and tying up their victim, they somehow found it difficult shooting him dead after several attempts as the bullets allegedly could not pierce or penetrate his skin and flesh.
The unidentified gunmen allegedly invaded the home of the native doctor along Edem- Ani road in the University town of Nsukka in a convoy of about eight vehicles, laid siege at the entrance gate of the house and waited for the native doctor to emerge from a meeting of his kinsmen holding in his residence.
Vanguard Metro gathered that kinsmen of the herbalist from Abbi community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State had convened a 12-man town hall meeting to hold in the Nsukka residence of the herbalist.
Investigations revealed that kinsmen of the herbalist had convened the meeting to discuss the atrocious acts of Fulani herdsmen who had in recent time terrorised Abbi community, including maiming and killing hapless villagers as well as burning down their houses and farms in the community. But only three out of the 12 people invited attended the meeting which ended abruptly following sporadic shooting by the invading gun men who allegedly came with a picture to enable them identify the herbalist.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of the gunmen at the Ascension Hospital, Nsukka, the herbalist said that the invasion of his residence by yet-to-be-identified gunmen was the worst traumatic experience of his life over the years as a native doctor in Abbi community.
His words: “My kinsmen convened a meeting of about 12 men and asked me to host it in my residence. I obliged. To my surprise only three persons showed up for the meeting. But we decided to go on with the meeting as earlier planned. The meeting was earlier scheduled the previous week. Later I received a phone call that it has been cancelled and rescheduled, unknown to me that there was an unseen hand behind the arrangement. The three that attended the meeting were Hyacinth Uchu (aka Yoke), Pastor Nicholas Diara and one other person.
“We started the meeting around 4pm and closed around 5.30pm. I was seeing off my guests to the gate with my good friend Chike Ndubuisi when I noticed about eight vehicles with tinted glasses parked outside the gate of my compound. Immediately, about eight individuals dressed in army uniform alighted from one of the vehicles; another six in civilian dresses and three others in Fulani attire were also there. That was when it dawned on me that something was wrong. And before I could react, they suddenly pointed guns at me and started shooting at me. There was stampede in my house and those of my neighbours. It was confusion everywhere with my family members shouting for help on top of their voices. Many people ran into bushes.
They tied my hands backwards: “When the unknown gunmen realised that their bullets could not kill me, they grabbed and beat me up mercilessly and tightly tied my hands backwards with rope and bundled me into one of the vehicles to an unknown destination. Along the way, my assailants who were discussing the incident, suddenly took pity on me. It was then they told me that we were going back to Nsukka and advised me to be careful of my people. I demanded to know what offence I had committed to warrant the unjust treatment but they did not tell me. They took me back to my house around 1pm. I had never seen any of them before and so cannot identify them.
“I cannot say exactly whether the gunmen were military men. The only thing was that I was driven to to 82 Division Enugu, though I was not brought down from the vehicle and taken to any office at the army headquarters. Only thorough investigations will unveil the circumstances surrounding the matter. When the gunmen had gone after bringing me back, my entire family broke down in tears.
“I have lodged a complaint with the police at Nsukka. I will definitely petition the Enugu State Commissioner of Police and the Human Rights Commission over the incident. My estate in my village was burnt, vandalised about two years ago. Now they are after my life.”
Police confirms incident: A senior police officer at the Area Command, Nsukka who would not want his name in print confirmed the incident, saying that the matter is being handled to avoid break down of law and order. He noted that investigation has commenced into the matter, promising that it will be amicably settled for the interest of peace in the community.