Enugu Killings, an Act of Criminality, Say Shettima, Okorocha


APC govs visit state  Ugwuanyi set to open IDP camp for Nimbo people
IG redeploys police commissioner

Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday in Enugu State asked the federal government not to rest until those behind last week invasion of Ukpabi Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State are fished out and decisively dealt with.

While describing the perpetrators of the heinous crime as criminals, the governor noted that Nigeria remains “one nation with common destiny.”

 He said despite the challenges facing the country, Nigerians must unite to surmount them.Shettima applauded the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for showing leadership in the face of obvious provocation occasioned by the attack in Nimbo community.

 Shettima spoke when governors of Imo State, elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by their Chairman and Governor Rochas Okorocha, paid a sympathy visit to the government and people of Enugu State.

Among those who were part of the delegation to the Coal City were Governor Baderu Abubakr of Jigawa State, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Shettima, Okorocha and the Deputy Governor of Yobe and Kogi States, Aliyu Abubakar and Simeon Achuba respectively.

 The Borno State governor said he understood the “meaning of terror and the associated pains. “We have been through that for over seven years and we have been able to forge ahead largely because of the empathy we have received from our compatriots from all over the country including the sympathy of the good people of Enugu State.

“In our last meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, it might interest you and other eminent personality to know that we acknowledged the generous contributions of the government and people of Ebonyi State to the victims of Boko haram attacks in Borno State. Though we belong to the APC club, Ebonyi which is South-eastern state, a Christian state, but in the true spirit of nationhood, the people showed sympathy and support to the people of Borno State. Even in the face of crisis, the need to maintain calmness remained imperative.

 “In a period like this, we must be able to maintain the highest level of clear-headedness about the challenges that face us as a country and we know that these are very difficult times for our country. Times like this call for sobriety, maturity, level-headedness, and I want to pay a specially tribute to my brother the governor of Enugu State for showing leadership in moments of crisis. I want to pay a special tribute to our traditional rulers for our religious leaders for maintaining calmness in moments of crisis.

“I was with our president last night and I can tell you how he expressed sadness and pains over the attack. He remains so much worried and is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that those criminals behind the attack are brought to book. Indeed, we must find the killers and treat them as criminals that they are,” he noted.

 On his part, the leader of the delegation and chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Okorocha, said they were in Enugu to identify with the people of the state over the ugly incident of last week which claimed many lives, noting that though the Enugu State governor belongs to the PDP, in such “situation, we must put aside our religious and political differences and come together in the interest of the unity of this country.

 “Death is death no matter how it comes but the most painful one is man-made death. This nation of ours is one irrespective of our political affiliations. In death, there is no political party.  We’ve come to show our genuine concern, to commiserate with Ndi Enugu. You’ve shown maturity in handling the matter in spite of the obvious provocation. In other places, there would have been reprisals but the governor has not allowed it to degenerate into ethnicity or tribal lines.

 “We condemn it in its entirety. This is an act of criminality. We must understand that a criminal in Borno State is also a criminal in Enugu,  Imo or Osun State; he remains a criminal everywhere and must be treated  as such.”

Responding, Ugwuanyi said the visit was not only heartwarming but to a large extent, confirmed that Nigerians do share a common of sense of grief and loss with the people of Enugu State over the unfortunate incident.

“I recall that most of you had earlier, during our last meeting, extended their condolences to me, but coming here in person today also demonstrates your love and high regard for the people of Enugu State. I’ve also previously expressed our gratitude to President Buhari along with members of the National Assembly, various Leaders of thought and indeed Nigerians for the concern, outrage and sympathy they displayed over the incident,” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Ugwuanyi yesterday announced that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp would be set up at Ukpabi-Nimbo very soon to cater for those who abandoned their homes at the wake of last week invasion and killing of residents of the community by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

 The governor spoke as a coalition of 13 women-based non-governmental organisations in the South-east zone organised a peaceful protest over the recent killings in Nimbo.
Dressed mainly in black and bearing placards with various inscriptions, the protesters marched from Okpara Square to the Enugu Government House and Enugu House of Assembly.

At the gates of the Government House where they were received by the state governor, Ugwuanyi, the protesting women decried the killings, raping of “wives and our daughters,” abductions and maiming of people in vulnerable communities in the South-east. While the widows tearfully narrated their ordeals to the governor, they lamented that they had no where to go as they didn’t feel secure returning to their precious homes.
As at 10:30a.m. more than 300 protesters majority of whom were women groups protested at the Government House gate.

 Addressing the protesters, Ugwuanyi narrated how every effort he made to forestall the herdsmen’s attack were frustrated by security agents.
He consoled the women and people of Nimbo and appealed to those who ran away for dear life to return as government was about to set up IDP camp for them.

 He also announced that the government and all the Bishops in the state would be holding prayers at Nimbo on Thursday to pray for God’s intervention and the return of peace.
Ugwuanyi expressed gratitude to God that Ukpabi-Nimbo killings were attracting the attention of the entire country and the world at large, saying that it means there will be concerted effort to find solution to the menace.

 Earlier in a statement jointly signed by the groups which they handed over to the governor, the spokesperson, Mrs. Joy Onyeso said the 13 NGOs decided on the protest after their meeting in Enugu.

 “We strongly condemn the killings, rape, abductions and maiming of our people in vilnerable communities in recent past, especially the killings on April 25th at Nimbo Community of Uzo-Uwani LGA that claimed several lives.

“We strongly condemn security agencies who despite early signs failed the law abiding citizens they were supposed to protect”.

The groups include: “Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Nigeria (WILPF), Forum for Promotion of National Ethos and Values (FPNEV), Women Aid Collective Enugu (WACOL) and J. C. Ibekaku Hope Project(JCIHP).

 Others are: Women in Peace building network (WINET), Federation of Muslim Women Association Nigeria (FOMWAN), Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), FIDA, NAWOJ and CWO.

Meanwhile, Enugu State House of Assembly has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to order the redeployment of all Heads of Security agencies, including the police, DSS, the military and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in view of their inability to avert the bloodbath that took place in Ukpabi Nimbo community last week despite initial security tip-off.

In a unanimous resolution at its sitting on Tuesday presided over by Speaker, Edward Ubosi, the lawmakers insisted condemning the killings in the troubled community, maintaining that what transpired at Nimbo Community should be conveyed to all the international human right organisations.

In addition, the House urged the state executive led by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to liaise with the National Emergency Agency, NEMA to ensure that the displaced people of Nimbo are taken care of.

 Thanking his colleagues for making robust contribution to a motion brought by the member representing Uzo-Uwani at the House, Hon. John-Kevin Ukuta, on the menace of Fulani herdsmen, speaker of the House, Hon. Edward Ubosi urged the people of Enugu State not to live in fear or to take laws into their hands as government is doing everything to protect their lives and property.

“I thank you all for your contribution to the motion.  You all spoke from your heart because human lives were involved.  However, I urge the people of the state not to live in fear or to take laws into their hands,” Ubosi exhorts.

Following the attack on the Enugu community by herdsmen which led to the death of scores of innocent citizens and the burning of several houses and property which has caused outrage, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Solomon Arase has ordered the redeployment of the Enugu State Police Commissioner, Nwodibo Ekechukwu to the Eastern Port Police Command.
A new Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Ojukwu, has subsequently been appointed for Enugu State.

Until his appointment, Ojukwu was the Commissioner of Police, Eastern Port Command. He was at one time the Commissioner of Police, Kogi State.
Ojukwu had also served as the Force Public Relations officer of the Nigerian Police and the officer in charge criminal investigations at Zone 7 police headquarters, Abuja in the past.
The redeployment may not be unconnected to the disclosure by the Governor Ugwuanyi that he had intelligence that the herdsmen were going to strike in the community and passed the information to the security agencies.