ENUGU—The people of over forty communities in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State are currently panicking, following the invasion of their areas by Fulani herdsmen allegedly armed with AK 47 rifles.
The herdsmen, who invaded the council area with their cattle two weeks ago, had allegedly destroyed crops in the farms and were reported to have raped some women in the village who were working in their farmland.
Agricultural and economic activities in those communities have been brought to a halt on account of the violent activities of the herdsmen, while the local vigilante group in the area had become helpless due to the superior arms carried by the invading herdsmen.
Vanguard learnt that a retired police man in the area had confronted two of them who strayed into his compound and the confrontation that ensued led to the death of a herdsman.
Justice Ozobu speaks
Speaking on the development, former Ohanaeze President General, Justice Eze Ozobu, who is now the Traditional ruler of Imeziowa Community of Ezeagu local government area, said the situation had got out of control, adding that his people were on the fringe of death and anarchy.
He said: “I do not know what government has done or any action taken by security operatives to checkmate the insurgency by the Fulani herdsmen. These people who we thought carry only sticks and machetes now carry AK47 rifles openly and we wonder where they got those guns from.
“People no longer go to farm anymore and every one now lives in fear of these people. They come in and settle down as if it is their home, nobody is doing anything to stop them.
“In my own place, my brother who retired as a police officer, came out in the night and asked them what they were doing with guns they were carrying. At some point, he had to bring out his gun and shot two of them.”
He, however, expressed fears that with the incident, the town was apprehensive of a reprisal attack by the herdsmen.
Ozobu further lamented that should the state government fail to take action over what was happening, the tension might develop into breakdown of law and order.
Also speaking shortly after a meeting of the Ezeagu general assembly in Enugu, the President General, Dr. Obiora Ozobu, said they had a resolution to make an official complaint to Enugu State Government, after speaking with the local government chairman and the state House of Assembly.
He said: “This is a very serious issue in Ezeagu and we shall make official entry with the police and also speak with the council chairman and elected political office holders and we shall also find out the position of the state House of Assembly in order to figure out how we are to go about it.
“At a neighbouring town, a farmer was shot dead by these Fulani people and we have had three reported cases of rape of village women that went to their farm.
AK 47 rifles
“The most frightening aspect of this problem is how and where they got those AK 47 rifles that they brandish openly. That means there is more to the cattle rearing that meets the ordinary eye.
“It is not that we cannot defend ourselves or that we do not have what it takes to defend ourselves, but we are only trying to do this within the ambit of the law so that our actions do not worsen the already bad situation.
“In Ezeagu, we do not sleep at night because they can come at anytime and begin to slaughter people.”