•   Ugwuanyi: This’ ll not happen on our soil again

By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
 

Tears flowed in torrents yesterday as nine out of the scores of persons who were ambushed and murdered in cold blood by suspected Fulani Herdsmen on April 25 at the Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State were laid to rest.

 The community was said to have earlier buried about four persons, while the remains of an unconfirmed number of persons are still in the morgue waiting to be buried at a later date.

The funeral service which was held at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Nimbo and conducted by the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Rt. Rev. Godfrey Onah was intermittently interrupted as villagers especially those who lost their loved ones battled to control tears at the sight of the remains of their loved ones.

 Though it was a joint funeral mass, each of the affected families carried the remains of their relatives to their individual family compounds for burial contrary to earlier information that they would be given mass burial.

In an emotion-laden speech at the service which attracted former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, Senator Chuka Utazi repesenting Enugu North Senatorial zone, council chairmen, Commissioners and other top government functionaries, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who vowed that the April 25invasion of the agrarian community would never happen again said “Monday, April 25, 2016, will ever remain a dark, sad and solemn day in the memory of the people of Enugu State and indeed Nigerians at large”.

 The governor said no matter the situation, the unfortunate invasion of the community “will never happen on our soil again. We won’t take this again.

 “Though our emotions cannot restore them to life, we find solace in the fact that the whole world had stood by us and offered us sympathy and solidarity, ever since the incident that took their lives, occurred.

“We make bold to declare that their deaths can never be in vain and we pledge to do all that is within our legitimate means, to give them justice. Like the martyrs they have become, the spilling of their innocent blood is already saving souls as it has aroused in our people and indeed the whole nation, a burning impulse to do all that is necessary to prevent the future occurrence of similar incidents anywhere in the country,” he noted.

He therefore expressed gratitude to the generality of Nigerians who put aside religious, ethnic and political differences, to offer us their hands of support and sympathy after the killings, while also thanking the Federal Government and the security agencies for the steps they were taking to prevent future occurrences and address the issues that led to the incident.

Earlier in a homily, Bishop Onah urged the federal government to ensure that such invasion and gruesome murder of hapless citizens did not reoccur not just in Enugu state but in any part of the country insisting that the primary responsibility of a responsible government should be to protect the lives and property of her citizens.

In the sermon of lamentation, the Catholic cleric said though it was a day of mourning, the villagers should also offer Thanksgiving to God for not allowing the invaders to achieve the primary aim of wiping out the entire community.

“Those marauders had one thing in mind in that fateful day and that was to wipe away the entire Nimbo community but they failed. The fact that we are all here with these number of villagers is a testimony that God is good and we have every reason to thank the Almighty for sparing the lives of these ones,” Bishop Onah noted.