By Chinonso Alozie
Owerri—armed herdsmen in Obokofia, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, yesterday, caused pandemonium when they invaded the community, shooting sporadically.
The Transition Committee Chairman of the local government, Damian Ezeru, confirmed the incident to Vanguard yesterday in Owerri, adding that he would convene a security council meeting with a view to finding a lasting solution.
He said: “There was no fight. The community people asked them to look for elsewhere for grazing land for their cattle. They had promised to leave, but instead came back with guns to harass the residents.
“The herdsmen did not injure anybody. We advised our people not to retaliate, because our lives are much more important.
“A woman abandoned her motorcycle when she saw them shooting, and ran away. The herders damaged the motorcycle.
“We have arranged for a security meeting to see other ways we can handle it within the limits of the law.”
A leader in the community, who declined to mention his name, told Vanguard that the herdsmen shot into the air to scare the host community into allowing them (herdsmen) remain and graze on their farmlands.
According to the source, “our people have been asking them to leave, but they refused. They have destroyed our crops and anytime we ask them to move away, they threaten to kill us; in our own land.
“We came to a breaking point and gave them a deadline. But we did not know that they have planned with their guns. All of a sudden they started shooting into the air and all of us ran away. Those in their farms ran home when they heard gunshots.”
When Vanguard called Imo State Police Public Relation Officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, he said he had not been briefed on the matter.