By Francis Igata, Enugu
The provocative invasion on April 25, of Ukpabi,Nimbo community in Enugu State by over 500 dare-devil Fulani herdsmen culminating in the slaughter of 46 natives, was an incident which would have made most Leaders lose their head, belching blood following instigating comments that could engender reprisal attacks which could snowball into ethnic and tribal uprising across the nation.
But,Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, after a copious review of events culminating in the attack held security agencies on the jugular,demanding explanations as to what transpired between 6.30AM to 7.30AM on the ‘Black Monday’ despite assurances that they(security operatives)were on ground to ward-off any impending danger on the community.
Ugwuanyi’s decisive step to expose security agencies in the state as being culpable especially as the natives alleged that one Police corporal,Chukwu of Adani Police Station led the fulani herdsmen that invaded their community,led to the redeployment of Commissioner of Police, Ekechukwu Nwaodibo.
The governor’s strident call for peace,prayer and fasting in the face of stretched frayed nerves won him accolades which jolted the ruling party,All Progressives Congress,APC,Governors who visited Enugu House last Tuesday,to commend him.
Leader of the APC governors,under the aegis of Progressives Governors Forum,Rochas Okorocha,whose mien showed the depth of his heart as he spoke said,”we are in Enugu to share in the peoples’ moment of grief. This situation calls for unity and indivisibility of the nation.
“We are governors from various states representing the entire governors elected under APC platform. We are here because of the tragic incident that took place here on April 25. Death is painful but the most painful is, man-made death. We are here because you are one of us irrespective of political party affiliations. In death we are one. We are here to commiserate with you and the people of Enugu State over the dastardly act.
“You(Ugwuanyi) have shown profound maturity in handling the provocative incident. This incident would have snowballed … if the governor did not handle it with maturity. That is why we are impressed with your conduct and leadership qualities. We will partner with the Federal Government to fish out the perpetrators and bring them to book. We will further ensure that this incident does not repeat itself anywhere in the country.
“The traditional rulers have demonstrated a high sense of leadership by suing for peace rather than retaliation. This incident is a criminal act and cannot be associated with tribe,religion or political party. We condemn it in its entirety.
“We will join hands with the Federal Government to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book and forestall a re-occurrence. This is time we speak about the unity of this country. All the APC governors would have been here but we are representing them because of some tight schedules. We reaffirm the unity of this country which is not negotiable. Our sympathy goes to the victims and family. This matter is being handled with utmost urgency by the Federal Government”.
Speaking on behalf of Northern Governors,under APC,Governor Ibrahim Shettima of Borno State said,”we are here to register our profound condolence to the people of Enugu State over their tragic loss. As a nation,we mourn and rejoice with each other at different times. We have lived with our brothers and sisters in the North-East ravaged by Boko-Haram for seven years.
“What kept us going was the empathy from people living outside the north-east including the people of Enugu State. Times like this call for maturity,calmness,leadership role which Ugwuanyi has exhibited. We are one nation with a common destiny. The killers should be treated like criminals and should be fished out and dealt with”.
Enugu funds Neighborhood Watch Groups
Welcoming the visitors,Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi assured them that a Judicial Panel of Inquiry will be set up,adding that Government has moved to fund 472 Neighborhood Watch Groups in all communities in the state to compliment efforts of the security agencies to forestall a repeat of such dastardly act.
Continuing, Ugwuanyi doled out N100 million to fund Neighborhood Watch Groups in 472 communities to complement the services of security agencies in the state. The governor also mandated the Ministry of Poverty Reduction and Human Capital to quickly inaugurate Neighborhood Watch Groups in all the 472 communities in the state to forestall a re-occurrence of Fulani herdsmen invasion of any part of the state.
This came on a day,the Traditional Rulers and Town Union Presidents in the state in a Communique at the end of their meeting,commended the Governor for the mature and astute way he has been handling the situation arising from the murder of Enugu Citizens at Nimbo, Uzo Uwani Local Government, by suspected herdsmen.
The Communique read in part: We are also grateful to the Governor for the donation of the sum of N100 million in support of the security efforts and activities of the communities. We have resolved to go back to our respective communities to mobilize the people and sensitize them on the need to support the initiatives of the government as they relate to security of lives and property in Enugu State.
“Traditional Rulers and Presidents General of Town Union will work harmoniously and concertedly to ensure the success of the new initiatives of Government on security. We reassure all visitors, settlers or foreigners in Enugu State of their safety and the friendship of the Enugu people so as long as they conduct themselves in a manner that promote peace and order and refraining from acts that may truncate their peaceful coexistence with their host communities”.