Wole Ayodele in Jalingo and Paul Obi in Abuja
Six people were yesterday killed by herdsmen at Korum, Orawua and Gidan Bature communities in Taraba state; despite the order recently given by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Inspector General of Police and the Chief of Army Staff to clamp down on armed herdsmen attacking communities across the country.
The latest attack is coming barely two weeks after herdsmen killed 19 persons in several communities in Donga and Bali local government areas of Taraba State.
THISDAY investigations revealed that the attack was launched on the communities following the return of Tiv farmers who were displaced by the crisis that erupted across Southern Taraba to their ancestral homes on the orders of Governor Darius Ishaku.
Narrating the ordeal of the affected communities, village head of Korum, Chief Emmanuel Chia told newsmen that the armed herdsmen launched an attack on the villages around 2:00 am yesterday morning, killing six people.
Besides those killed in the attack, according to the village head, several others sustained varying degrees of injuries while eight vehicles were also set ablaze by the herdsmen, who razed the entire community comprising of over 500 households.
Dozens of those injured in the attack are currently receiving treatment at the First Referral Hospital in Mutum Biyu as well as the MDGs clinic in Yerima and Ityav Clinic, a private hospital in Yerima.
Also narrating his ordeal, one of the locals and a victim of the attack who escaped being killed by the whiskers, Terver Akporogh further told THISDAY that the lands belonging to the displaced persons were reportedly sold to the herdsmen to graze their cattle by the Emir of Gassol, Alhaji Idi Ciroma and his local chiefs (Dekeci).
“The Emir and his local chiefs sold our farmlands to the Fulanis who came from other places to settle on our ancestral land. We can’t farm because the Fulanis are not allowing us. They claimed our lands were sold to them by the local chiefs and the Emir of Gassol himself.
“The attack would not have happened if the Emir had responded to security threats in the area when we reported the problem to him. The little crops we have planted have already been taken over by the herdsmen who turn our farms into grazing fields”, Akporogh lamented.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Joseph Kwaji confirmed the incident but noted that details of the attack were still sketchy as at the tile of filing this report.
But the Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matters, Wonukem Agyo told journalists that the Commanding Officer of 20 Battalion, Serti and 93 Battalion, Takum have been contacted to deploy their men to restore normalcy to the area.
Meanwhile, Rehemi Foundation and Association of United Igbo Gospel Ministers yesterday in Abuja urged President Buhari to reach out in person to the herdsmen in the country so as to stop the ongoing mayhem.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, President of the association, Air Vice Marshal Robert Konye Ekezie (rtd.) stated that across the country, the Igbo man is being hounded down by several forces, without the state intervening.
Ekezie said: “It is not news that the Igbo is the favourite for attack by any group of mercenaries or disgruntled elements in Nigeria. The recent attack on Nimbo Community, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State by suspected herdsmen follows a pattern. It is a continuous war on Igbo’s man existence.
“The constant attack on the Igbos by mercenaries, religious fundamentalists, and other disgruntled groups must stop. An Igbo cannot go to another tribe to wage war against the natives. If he’s ever there, it is for commercial purpose.
“We, therefore, ask our dear President Buhari, a man famed for integrity, also known to be a Fulani, to find a way of appealing to the Fulani herdsmen to stop visiting mayhem on Ndigbo.”
He further said, “the President as number one citizen should treat every Nigerian, irrespective of tribe and religion as his children, with the same responsibility to all.”
Ekezie explained that since the “president has appointed the Service Chiefs without considering Ndigbo. Ministerial positions are constitutional rights, and there was no way to exclude the Igbos.
“Now is the time to right the wrong, as the tenure of the present indefatigable Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase comes to an end in June, an Igbo man should be considered,” he said.
Also, speaking, Bishop Junita Chinwendo harped on the need for all Nigerians to shed off discord and return back to peace and unity. Chinwendo told journalists at this critical time, Nigerians must imbibe the spirit of unity in order to foster a common ideology for the good of the country.