By Henry Umoru, Joseph Erunke, Francis Igata & Rotimi Ojomoyela
Pregnant woman’s stomach ripped open; four severely injured
Ugwuanyi summons emergence security meeting
Catholic bishop laments state of insecurity
We are at a loss —Traditional ruler
It’s a black Thursday—Caretaker Chairman
World Bank contractor’s son, 3 others drown in Ekiti
ENUGU—Four months after herdsmen invaded Nimbo village in Enugu State, killing and maiming the villagers, another village in the same state was, yesterday, attacked by, at least, 50 herdsmen leaving death and tears in their wake. The invaded village was Ndiagu,Attakwu, Akegbe-Ugwu in Nkanu-West Local Government Area of the state. Some of the victims include 26-year-old Seminarian, Lazarus Nwafor, on a year apostolic work, who was slaughtered and a six month pregnant woman whose stomach was ripped open.
Four members of Ogbodo Nwarum family, whose house the slain Seminarian was a tenant, also sustained severe machete cuts from the rampaging herdsmen, who ripped open the stomach of a 6-month pregnant woman, Mrs. Nwarum, in the operation that started at about 2:15am.
The attack on the Enugu community came on a day four persons, including the son of a World bank consultant, got drowned in Egbe River, Egbe, in Gbonyin Local Government Area of Ekiti State, as they were on a World Bank assessment mission to the dam and had commenced work on Tuesday night.
Until his death,Nwafor,was a seminarian at the Catholic Spiritan International School of Theology, CSIST, Attakwu. The injured victims are in critical conditions at the Mother of Christ Teaching Hospital and Parklane Teaching Hospital, Enugu.
Visit to Ndiagu
Vanguard’s visit to Ndiagu community at about 11.46am, yesterday, showed that the agrarian community, which is 10 minutes drive from Enugu metropolis, had been decimated, following the attack.
Economic activities have also ground to a halt, while a graveyard silence pervade the community.
Women and children wailed profusely, even as elderly men and youths lamented uncontrollably over the brazen manner herdsmen have raped, robbed, maimed and taken over their farmlands.
How the bubble burst
Romanus Ugwu, a farmer in the community, said: “The Fulani herdsmen were grazing right inside our compounds where we reside last, Tuesday. Their cows numbered over 100. The women and children on noticing their presence, quickly rushed and rang the metal gong at the village square.
“The sound emanating from the metal gong caused the cattle to scamper in disarray. The herdsmen were infuriated by the action of the women and children. They told the women and children that they would invade them that night.
“True to their words, they struck at about 2.15am. The herdsmen climbed the ceiling of the rented house where the seminarian resided, jumped down and unlocked the metal door leading to the parlour.
“They now surged in and attacked Ogbodo Nwarum’s family, whose house the seminarian was a tenant. They used a machete to slaughter the seminarian and slit open the pregnant woman’s tummy. Three other family members were seriously injured in the operation that lasted over two hours. Most of us scampered for safety with our children.”
Ugwuanyi summons emergency security meeting
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, who was one of the early mourners to the community, said while addressing the people: “I received the report of an attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen this morning (yesterday) during which a seminarian was killed and four others injured and are in hospitals at the moment.
“I hasten to condemn this act in its entirety, for government cannot tolerate the destruction of property and lives by any group under any guise. I have already summoned a meeting of Fulani community and security agencies in the state to review the situation and determine appropriate action to be taken.
“It is unfortunate that this incident is coming just days after the commission of inquiry set up to look into the killing at Nimbo submitted an interim report. I wish to, on behalf of the state government, express our sympathy to this community.
“I assure them that government will do everything to ensure that the culprits are apprehended and brought to book. Government will cater for those in the hospitals. I want to reassure the citizens in the state of governments’ unwavering efforts to ensure that security of lives and property is maintained in every corner of the state.”
Enugu Cathloic bishop cries out
Crest fallen Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga, appealed to the Federal Government to restructure the security architecture in the country, especially in the South East geopolitical zone to battle the growing insecurity challenges plaguing the region.
“We appeal to our Fulani brothers to extend the same hand of brotherly love which our people have extended to them by accommodating them in our communities,” he aid.
Traditional ruler at a loss
Traditional ruler of Attakwu, Igwe Greg Ugwu, said: “It is a sad development in the community because we cannot point to what warranted these killings and attacks on hapless natives in their ancestral home.
“This incident happened at about 2.15am. What would Fulani herdsmen be doing at about this ungodly hour? Their cows were grazing in people’s residential compounds and their offence was that they rang the metal gong to scare the cows away from their compound.”
Caretaker Chairman of Nkanu-West Local Government Area, Afam Okereke, described the act on the community as a “Black Thursday.”
He said: “I am shocked. It is black Thursday for us. Despite security meetings we have been holding, I requested that all the Fulani members in this community submit their names. The list until now, has not been submitted. The essence of the list is for us to know who is who.
“The seminarian just finished his pastoral work last Tuesday. Fulani herdsmen went and killed him in his house where he was a tenant.
“There was no quarrel. Just that the natives chased their cows away from their compounds by sounding the metal gong.”
Reacting to the incident, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, condemned it in very strong terms, saying the incessant attacks on parts of the country by suspected herdsmen posed a grave threat to the peace, security, and economy of the country and called on the Federal Government to take decisive steps to put a full stop to the ugly incidents.
Meanwhile, tragedy struck in Egbe dam, yesterday, when four persons, including a man believed to be the son of a World Bank consultant, were reported to have drowned in Egbe River, Egbe community in Gbonyin Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
The deceased were said to be workers on a World Bank assessment mission to the dam and had commenced work on Tuesday night.
Names of victims
Those that died in the boat mishap include Bamidele Waheed Alayande, Tirimisiyu Alaran, David Malu and one Albert, while the survivors, who are receiving treatments in the hospital are Charles Ehinlaye, Bukky Ajet and Yahaya Mohammed.
The project, according to a source at the Dam, is jointly owned by the World bank and Ekiti State government.
They were said to have come from Development Dams and Irrigation Schemes, Kaduna State, and met their untimely end when a boat conveying seven of them and their equipment capsized.
The bodies of the dead were fished out by local fishermen, who were said to have been mobilised by the Chairman of Gbonyin Local Government Area, Mrs. Folasade Akinrinmola.
Mrs. Akinrinmola, in a telephone chat with newsmen, said she was notified of the incident by the traditional ruler of the community.
Police confirms tragedy
Confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer of Ekiti State Police Command, Mr. Alberto Adeyemi, said: “They must have come from the Federal Ministry because dams are owned by the Federal Government; their boat capsized, four of them died, while three survived.”
Tragedy unfortunate —Ekiti govt
Reacting to the incident, Ekiti State government described it as unfortunate.
Commissioner for Public Utilities, Mr. Ayodeji Adesua, said the consultants were engaged to carry out a survey and data analysis of dams in the state.
No W/Bank staff drowned – spokesman
However, The World Bank in a reaction, last night, said none of the victims of Egbe Dam tragedy was its staff but failed to identify the victims.
The Bank in a terse statement issued by the spokesman, Mr. Kabiru Ali Muhammed, said: “The World Bank Group expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the drowning tragedy that took place on the Egbe Dam.
‘’Contrary to some reports, no staff members of the World Bank Group were involved in this accident, though we are saddened by this unfortunate event.”