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Herdsmen attacks: Imo communities wait for investigation

By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri

Imo communities affected as a result of attacks by herdsmen said they were worried that the Imo State House of Assembly, has not visited their communities since the issue was brought before it.

It is not less than one month, the Imo House of Assembly raised the alarm over the killings by herdsmen in the state, after a protest by a cross section of community leaders from Okigwe Local Government Area.

This is coming at a time the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike boosted that there is calm in Imo communities after the investigation by South-East Voice had revealed the level of threats faced by Imo communities arising from the activities by the herders.

As a result of this development, South-East Voice called the former Majority leader of the Imo State House of Assembly, Mr. Lugard Osuji, representing Owerri Municipal Council, and he confirmed that the House of Assembly, was still on the issue.

Osuji was the lawmaker that raised the alarm through a motion calling for investigation into the matter.

His motion was supported by Mr. Kennedy Ibe representing Obowo State Constituency.

Lugard said: “I am not part of the committee that is investigating the matter. I want to tell you that Imo State House of Assembly is interested in what is happening in the community.

“A committee was formed to meet with the stakeholders and community leaders of the area. May be because of the Easter break, we have not been able to do that. I am sure we will still do that.

“It is not only the Imo State House of Assembly, the state government also  is interested in the welfare of every community. Yes, I moved the motion and it saw the light of the day.”

It will be recalled that during the presentation of the motion in state House of Assembly by Lugard, while on the matter of urgent public importance, he reportedly said: “The destruction of crops in people’s farms by cows, is a disturbing development and has already put residents in the affected areas in fear.”

Osuji called on the state government and all the security agencies operating in the state, to quickly wade into the matter with a view to nipping the problem in the bud.

Speaking in support of his motion, Mr Ibe said: “It must be noted that the crisis that pitched herdsmen against their host communities in states like Taraba, Adamawa, Benue and Delta among others, usually started like the incident in Okigwe.

Adding his voice, Mr. Ike Amuka representing Ideato South State Constituency said he was not happy over the activities of herdsmen in the state.

He was quoted to have said that “places like Akokwa in Ideato North and other communities in Ideato South, have also witnessed the menacing presence and activities of cattle rearers from the North. This has often led to confrontation between the herdsmen and the host communities.”

South-East Voice gathered that some of the community leaders were of the view that the visit by the Imo State House of Assembly members would help to douse the tension already created by the herdsmen in the area.

While others said there seems to be an uneasy calm over the delay as it defines the level of preparedness of the committee set up by the state House of Assembly to intervene in the troubled communities.

Many have also attributed the delay to be one of the reasons the untoward display by herders on their host communities have continued unhindered.

Some of the community leaders are of the opinion that the key stakeholders from both the endangered communities and Miyetti Allah parent body of the Fulani herdsmen, should be physically present in the said meeting and not by any proxy.

They also urged the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, not to treat the matter with kid gloves, adding that if few communities in the state were threatened as a result of the presence of herdsmen, the entire Imo communities one way or the other would be affected; adding that they had been beguiled with a lot of promises that their challenges with the herders would be put to a stop but up to this moment, they have lived under tension in their own land.


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