Enugu Killings: Senator Utazi Seeks Govts’ Urgent Intervention

Uchechukwu Nnaike

Senator Chukwuka Utazi, who represented Enugu North Senatorial District in the eighth assembly, has called on President Bola Tinubu and Governor Peter Mbah to halt the ongoing bloodbath in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Utazi said that the needless killings in the agrarian communities of Uzo-Uwani, following the slaughter of four people in Nimbo by suspected herdsmen last Sunday, have turned the area to a killing field and engendered panic among residents.

He noted that the building of a Mobile Squadron Base at Nkpologu, which would have served as a swift response unit in the face of such security threats, was politically thwarted by the past administration of Enugu State, thereby exposing the vast areas of Uzo-Uwani to kidnappers and violent herdsmen.

The senator regretted that since the 2016 massacre at Nimbo,  no week has passed without reports of killings and maiming of natives by rampaging herdsmen.

Utazi, who was the Minority Whip in the ninth Assembly, recounted that in the wake of the 2016 massacre in Nimbo, he brought the matter to the Senate plenaries, which prompted former President Muhammadu Buhari to dispatch IGP. Solomon Arase to the scene.

He said that the IGP approved the commencement and building of the Mobile Squadron Base at Nkpologu and handed the letter personally to him to deliver to the governor.

However, “once on receipt of the letter, he convened a meeting to change the location to his preferred site and in the process robbed Uzo-Uwani LGA of a project that would have put paid to the constant killings of our people,” he said.

The senator noted that the prosecution of the five suspects apprehended in connection with Nimbo killings suffered setbacks due to lack of funds by the Enugu State Government to diligently carry out the prosecution of the matter in court.

He further stated that the former governor set up a panel of inquiry to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the 2016 Nimbo killings, but there were no follow-ups on the matter and his personal attempts to bring the issue to governor’s attention met vicious attacks from political sycophants and hired online mob.

He argued that if the suspects arrested in 2016 killings were properly prosecuted, last Sunday’s attack could as well been averted.

Utazi explained that Uzo-Uwani has the largest landmass east of the Niger, with numerous water bodies and fertile lands which are major attractions to herdsmen.

“That the Eastern Region Government sited Adarice Farm Settlement at Adani by Dr. M.I. Okpara, (late Premier of Eastern Nigeria), was not by accident or lobby. It was because Adani and environs had comparative advantage over all other parts of the eastern region for agriculture,” he added.

In spite of the huge agricultural potential of the area, the lawmaker regretted that this year ranked as the worst farming season in the history of Uzo-Uwani.

According to him, natives, farming settlements and migrant farmers have since abandoned their farms for fear of death in the hands of gun-weilding herdsmen.

“Adani, the seat of farming in Enugu State, is now a shadow of its former self. Opanda Nimbo, a cosmopolitan town thickly populated by migrant farmers from all parts of Enugu State and beyond is now totally deserted because of kidnappers and violent herdsmen,” he stated.

Utazi advised Governor Mbah not to follow the unacceptable path of his predecessor in office in finding a lasting solution to the constant killings of natives on regular basis.

He also called on Mbah to facilitate the handing over of Nkpologu Divisional Police Station to the police in order to make the place functional.

He explained that he built the station, as well as residential quarters, and provided a functional borehole and Hilux vehicle as his contribution to fighting insecurity in Uzo-Uwani.

Utazi also advised the governor to revisit the report of the panel of inquiry on the 2016 Nimbo killings and possibly publish a white paper on it.

He urged the governor to direct the state attorney general and commissioner for justice to track the matter of the five suspects arrested in connection with the 2016 Nimbo massacre and ensure diligent prosecution until justice is duly served.

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