By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU- EVER since the video went viral, tongues have been wagging on whether the Fulani herdsmen were actually chased away from Agbada-Nnenwe community or not.
The video which has trended since Saturday June 29 showed how Fulani herdsmen with large number of cows were guarded out of Nnenwe community in Aninri local government area of Enugu state.
Not long after the video circulated than the Nigeria police in Enugu denied that the video was real. According to the police spokesman in Enugu, Ebere Amaraizu, such situation never existed in the state, narrating that the herdsmen only came from Cross River state.
The police statement brought more curiosity to the development, a situation that made some native of Agbada-Nnenwe to declare the police statement as false, noting that the herdsmen actually came from the direction of Enugu before they were turned back and disallowed from marauding their cultivated farms.
According to 70 years old native of the community, Mazi Albert Ugwueke, “What took place in our community on Saturday was that as we were waking up in the morning, we saw a sea of cows passing through our place, the cattle were too many. We met the herdsmen and asked them where they were going but they ignored us. We had to stop them and asked them to go back that we have cultivated all our lands, that there is none left for them to graze on.
“We told them that our place cannot accommodate them in their numbers and so they turned and we followed them, all members of the community followed them, both old and the young followed them to the express (Enugu-Port Harcourt road). They wanted to follow Awgu but we refused and they diverted towards Enugu. That was the end of what transpired between us and them and before God.”
A woman of about 45 years, Mrs. Nkechukwu Maduekwe, who was so bitter about the menace of the herdsmen in her community, was furious on the twist of what happened before her own eyes and which she also said she was a participant.
“After cultivation in our farms, the herdsmen and their cattle will destroy them. If you go to our farms now, you won’t find any crop standing. The Fulani herdsmen destroyed our farms both last year and this year to the tune of millions of Naira. If other people like it that way, I particularly do appreciate it that way because I have many children that I take care of and I have no other source of living except through farming. After cultivation, I sell the produce and use the proceeds to train my children.
“It was at about 6am on that Saturday morning, when we had hardly woke up from sleep that we saw Fulani herdsmen passing though our road with their cattle. They were over 200 cows and there was out cry in the community and we all woke up from our beds and pursued them to the express road. That was what happened on June 29. Those who said we did not chase them out are telling lies. It happened. I was part of it, I was tying my wrapper that I slept with and followed to pursue them to the express.”
In the same manner, 44 years old Kenneth Aneke said “I cultivated with the hope of making money from the farm, all at a sudden, these people came and destroyed this farm that before God and Man I could not raise up to N50,000 from the farm. I cultivated Cassava, Rice, Potatoes, maize, you can ask anybody from this village, but all these things could not yield up to N50, 000 for me. We have not asked anybody to give us money.”
However, due to the attention the report generated, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the security agencies and other government officials went to the community on Monday where the delegation met with the traditional rulers and the community members.
Governor Ugwuanyi at the community said that an online trending video was not true.
In the same vein, Chairman of Aninri local government council, Chief Ezikel Chukwu also said that ever since the video broke out he has searched and could not witness such incident in the council area.
Ugwuanyi said “We are in Agbada-Nnenwe with the state commissioner of Police, the Director of Department of State Services, the Garrison commander 82 Division of the Nigeria Army and other relevant stakeholders on a fact-finding mission in connection with a video trending on the social media over the purported excursion of some herders and their cattle out of the community. We are also in Agbada-Nnenwe to ascertain other issues that require attention.
“We heard the traditional ruler and others denying the occurrence of such incidence in the community, thereby confirming the earlier statement by the police on the matter. Consequently, we found out that the said video is not true and we therefore appeal to those peddling the false rumour about Enugu state to know that Enugu is a peaceful state.”
Traditional ruler of Agbada-Nnenwe community, HRH Igwe Francis Imoh, said that what took place in his domain was a spontaneous incident which will never sever the long standing relationship between his community and the Fulani community in Agbada-Nnenwe.
Igwe Imoh said “I was at home on that June 29, when that spontaneous incident happened. I want to assure you that nobody is driving the Fulani community out of Agbada-Nnenwe. In the history of our relationship with the Fulani herdsmen, no cow has ever been killed in this kingdom; No Fulani man has ever been hurt in this kingdom and we have continued to maintain peace as directed by his Excellency Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who directed all the traditional rulers to maintain the secularity of the nation, to make sure that we leave peacefully with one another.