By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—BARELY three weeks after a community in Arochukwu council of Abia State was invaded and attacked by Fulani herdsmen, another community, Ozu Item in Bende council was again attacked with scores of farmers sustaining life threatening injuries.
Crops worth several thousands of naira belonging to Ozu Item farmers were also destroyed by the herdsmen and their cattle.
Current Secretary to Abia state Government (SSG), Dr. Eme Okoro is from the community and he has roundly condemned the invasion and attack.
The attacks by herdsmen in the state seemed to have defied solution from both the state government and the police in state.
Some victims of the deadly attack were taken to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Umuahia while several others were taken to private hospitals for treatment.
At the Federal Medical Centre, one of the victims, Mr. Sunday Oru, 40, who had a fractured right arm and chopped fingers was still wreathing in pains at the accident and emergency ward.
Oru told reporters that the herdsmen invaded their farmlands, plundered their crops including rice, cassava, okro and plantain and fed their cattle with them.
He alleged that thousands of cattle were led into Ozu Item community by herdsmen and when the farmers confronted them and asked them to leave the community, they ignored them and invaded their farms.
He alleged that the herdsmen “vowed that instead of being expelled from our community, they will conquer us and occupy our community.”
He explained that it was after the herdsmen invaded a rice farm on Thursday morning and youths and farmers went to expel them that they attacked the people, inflicting injuries on them.
“We are not civil servants. We are farmers and our crops are very important to us but the cattle are destroying everything”, Oru lamented.
When contacted, the state police command confirmed the attack but insisted that they were on top of the situation. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the command, Nta Ogbonnaya Nta said “the police is on top of the situation”.
However, the Abia SSG, Dr. Eme Okoro who hails from the attacked community lamented that the herdsmen have become very audacious in the attacks.
According to him, “there is no Bende community that the Fulani herdsmen have not invaded. Ozu Item has come under attack by Fulani herdsmen”.
According to Dr. Okoro, three days before the attack, he had alerted the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 9 Umuahia, Hosea Karma and he promised to send the state commissioner of police, Leye Oyebade, but said he wouldn’t know “if the police are handicapped” since the herdsmen successfully launched the attacked.