By Francis Igata
Following the slaughter of 46 Ukpabi, Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State natives last Monday, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on Friday, accused security agencies in the state of complicity despite assurances they gave him that planned attack will be forestalled.
Ugwuanyi made the accusation while speaking in an emotional laden tone during a news briefing at Government House attended by the Deputy Senate President, Ike
Ekweremadu,Deputy Governor,Cecila Ezeilo,all serving senators and House of Representatives members in the state.
The governor’s speech read in part:”On Sunday, April 24, by 7 pm, the night before this carnage took place, I got security information from Uzo-Uwani Local Government Transition Chairman, Hon. Cornell Onwubuya that such an incident was likely to take place in the state.
I immediately summoned a meeting of the State Security Council which commenced by 10 pm.
The meeting was attended by the following: Garrison Commander, Brigadier General Olufemi Akinjobi who normally represents the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division Nigerian Army; the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nwodibo Ekechukwu; the State Director of Department State Security Services (DSS), Mr. M. Abdul Malik; the State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Mr. Lar Stephen; Representatives of the Nigerian Air force, Federal Road Safety Corps and Nigerian Prison Services, who attended as observers.
“From the side of government were, myself, the Governor, the Deputy Governor, the Secretary to the State Government, the Chief of Staff, the Chairman, State Traditional Rulers Council and the Honourable Attorney General of the State.
“In the meeting, we received assurances from the Commissioner of Police that the Area Commander of SARS was on ground in Nimbo. That the Anti-Terrorism Unit was at Nimbo. That he was in contact with the Kogi State Commissioner of Police and reported suspected herdsmen grouping at Odolu in Kogi State preparatory for an attack on Nimbo and Abbi communities. That Police mobile force and conventional police were already drafted to Nimbo and Abbi communities. That he was in touch with the Area Commander, Idah, ACP Ikegwuonwu and had linked him with the Area Commander, Nsukka, ACP Monday Kuryas. Both men according to the CP reported that there were no traces of suspected herdsmen in Nsukka or Idah.
“That he ordered the Area Commander, Nsukka to redeploy to Nimbo. That the Garrison Commander on his part assured the meeting that Military was already deployed to Nimbo. Let me state that the State Government provided logistics for these deployments. After receiving these assurances of deployments to Nimbo, I felt quite confident that we had done everything possible to forestall an attack on Nimbo.”
“I have deliberately narrated what transpired at the Security Council meeting fully conscious of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution pertaining to my oath of office. I am doing this in due discharge of my duties as Governor.
“Sadly, in the early hours of Monday reports of this carnage reached me. More disturbing was the report that the attack of innocent and defenceless citizens were carried out at about 6.30 am. Further reports available to me indicate that apart from the killing and maiming of innocent and defenceless citizens of Nimbo, a Church was also burnt. Following this development, I engaged the security agencies in order to ensure that the Nimbo area was secured from further attacks that might escalate the situation.
“I am at once, constituting a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the immediate and remote causes of all the violent occurrences in the State associated with suspected Fulani Herdsmen and recommend appropriate measures that will be put in place to prevent future occurrence.
“What happened between 6.30am and 7.30 am on Monday 25th April, 2016 despite assurances from the Security Agencies? Only the Security Agencies can answer this question”.