By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU- CATHOLIC priests in Enugu state have ordered Fulani herdsmen to leave the state for peace and tranquility to be restored in the area.
The order followed the killing of the Parish Priest of St. James the greater Parish Ugbuakwa Rev Fr Paul Offu by persons the priests said were Fulani herdsmen on Thursday.
The Catholic priests took the decision after their emergency meeting on Friday at Holy Ghost Cathedral Ogui-Enugu. They subsequently marched on street protesting from the cathedral to Enugu government house where they made their position known to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Speaking with Vanguard on how the incident occurred, the Director of catholic communications, Enugu Diocese, Rev Fr Ben Achi said “what happened was that after our meeting in Emene, we came out to hear a news that one of us, Rev Fr James Offu was shot dead by some Fulani herdsmen who took him into the bush around 2pm at Agwu road. He was travelling for a visit to one of his family friends when he was accosted by these men and was shot dead.
They were shooting and he kept moving even as they were shooting and because they have shot and deflated his tyres, he and the boy that accompanied him ran into the bush but they cut up with them and eventually killed him.
“They left the boy that accompanied him but they killed the priest because they said the priest was the one driving and that he refused to stop by the time they were shooting at him. According to the young man who came to speak with us this morning, he said that one of them suggested that they take him and ask for ransom but the other said because he had given them troubles, they were going to kill him.
“According to the boy, one of the killers said that even if they take him, the ransom may not be paid. So out of anger they decided to kill him, his body was raided with bullets. They Youngman is not a seminarian, he is a young boy of about 17 years.
“Our demand for the protest is very clear. We had a meeting before we moved to the government house; we saw the Governor and made our point very clear. Since the herdsmen have become so murderous and are still killing our people, we are no longer comfortable with them, we are demanding that they leave the state. We have leaved with herdsmen and cohabited with them over the years but this time their stay has become inimical to our people and we are no longer comfortable with that.
“So if they can no longer leave peacefully with us, we demand that they leave our state and we are demanding that the government should see to that exist. The governor received us and we left our statement with him.”