By Emeka Mamah & Chinenyeh Ozor
Nsukka— Five Fulani and Kanuri herdsmen were, yesterday, arraigned before an Enugu High Court sitting at Nsukka over alleged attack on Nimbo community in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, leading to the untimely death of several people on April 25, 2016.
Those arraigned included Mohammed Zurai (Fulani); Suleiman Lautai (Kanuri); Sale Haruna Lautai (Fulani); Adamu Suleiman (Fulani) and Alhaji Ciroma.
They were said to have attacked the people of Nimbo, killing many, most of who died of shock and haemorrhage sometime in April, last year.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty of the charge.
However, the defence counsel, Dr A. N. Mohammed pleaded for the release of the accused persons on bail, saying the suspects had stayed in prison custody for about a year and four months without any charge against them contrary to the law.
But counsel from Office of Director of Prosecutions, DPP, Paul Ugwueze, and Chuka Ezike opposed Mohammed, saying the issue bordered on the circumstances under which the accused persons were charged.
After listening to the arguments, the presiding judge, Justice Anthony Onovo, adjourned the case till October 16, 2017 for ruling on the bail application.
Herdsmen kill 2 farmers
Those killed in the fresh attack were identified as Chiaha Okeke and Charles Maduegbunam, both from Adaba in the area. They were reported to have been killed in their farms by herdsmen between Saturday and yesterday.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Ebere Amaraizu, said he had not been briefed on such a matter and promised to get further information over the issue, but a lawyer from the area, Chief Reuben Ochi, confirmed the story in an interview with Vanguard at the Nsukka High Court, yesterday, saying Chiaha’s corpse was yet to be recovered.
Ochi said that Chiaha was butchered and his remains taken away while Maduegbunam’s corpse had been found.
About 40 persons were reportedly killed by some Fulani herdsmen at Nimbo in Uzo- Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, sources told Vanguard at Nsukka Police Area Command, near the area on April 24, last year.
About seven villages in Nimbo (Nimbo Ngwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ekwuru, Ebor, Enugu Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuachara) were among the areas attacked. Ten residential houses and a church, Christ Holy Church International, aka Odozi Obodo, were also said to have been burnt by the herdsmen just as vehicles and motorcycles were destroyed and domestic animals killed during the mayhem which attracted local and international condemnation.
A young man, whose name was yet to be ascertained, was burnt inside a commuter bus belonging to one Ejima, son of a prominent man popularly called ‘Are you there’ near the Christ Holy Church, Nimbo.
Kingsley Ezugwu, former Councillor, Nimbo Ward 2, who was one of the victims of the attack, said then: “I was coming out from the house when I heard the community bell ringing. I was going with a friend to know what the bell was all about, only to see about 40 Fulani herdsmen armed with sophisticated guns and machetes.
“They pursued us, killed my friend and shot at me several times but missed. They caught up with me and used machetes on me until I lost consciousness.” He said one of them later discovered that he was alive and called on the others to finish him off. They ignored him. He said he crawled until a Good Samaritan helped him to the hospital.
“Dead bodies litter hospitals. Some residents fled the community. So far, six dead bodies have been recovered and deposited at Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, while others, who sustained injuries were rushed to Royal Cross Hospital and Enugu State District Hospital, Nsukka.”
The traditional rulers of Nimbo, Igwe John Akor and his counterpart in Igga, Uzo Uwani Local Government were among hundreds of Uzo Uwani residents who thronged Nsukka High Court to witness yesterday’s arraignment of the accused persons.