Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Still mourning the loss of scores of lives and property as a result of the unfortunate invasion of their community by suspected herdsmen on April 25, the people of Nimbo in Uzouwani Local Government Area of Enugu State wednesday demanded a whopping N17 billion compensation from the federal government.
The traditional ruler of the community, Igwe John Akor who made the demand on behalf of his community while testifying before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to look at the situation, said only the compensation would appease the people of the area.
“Our community demands a compensation of N17 billion for human loses, unlawful destruction of properties and criminal deprivation of use of our farms for over two decades,” he said.
He said the community also needed a traumatic hospital to rehabilitate victims of the prolonged herdsmen incursions.
Akor said a total of 11 persons lost their lives during the April 25 invasion while several others were injured, adding that the corpses were still at the morgues.
“The conclusive evidence of deaths recorded during the incursion stands at 11. The economy of our community has been ruined.
“Part of our prayers is for a combined team of police, DSS and the military to investigate why the invasion was not contained in spite of prior information to that effect.
“We equally request the federal government to establish security presence in Nimbo being a boarder community,” he said.
He also denied collecting any form of gratification from the herdsmen to allow them graze in the area, noting that the economy of the rural community had been shattered following the activities of the herdsmen.
On his part, the President General of Nimbo Town Union, Mr. Ekere Matthias said the community had coexisted peacefully with the herdsmen for over 30 years.
Matthias said from the onset, different cattle breeders resided in their community, “and our people insisted that each group must have identification mark.
“When the arrangement of cattle identification was not working, the herdsmen had to relocate but came back in 2003.
“After they returned, our relationship with them became like that of cat and mouse: the herdsmen being the cat and our people being the mouse.
“Our people were always intimidated because the herdsmen came with sophisticated weapons, ordered farmers to kneel down and march their cows to graze on cash crops,” he said.
He said at their return, the herdsmen did not come with their wives and families, but entered the community through Kogi State.
He said, from their experiences members of the community were still in fear and would no longer want herdsmen in their community.
“Our men were traumatised as our wives were raped in our presence. From our soured relationship, we don’t want them again in our land. They should find another place to graze their cattle,” he said.
The Chief Legal Officer of the panel, Mr Richard Udeichi had announced that the Fulani community would be present on June 27 due to the ongoing Ramadan fast.