The attention of Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, an environmental and pro-democracy rights group, was sadly and recently drawn to the news of the incendiary attacks and killings of indigenes of Umuogudu Akpu-Ngbo in Ohaukwu Local Government Council of Ebonyi State by yet-to-be identified gunmen.
The killings which happened in the wee small hours of Monday, April 12, 2021 tags along the recent sanguinary attack in the state, allegedly carried out by suspected Fulani armed herders against the communities of Egedege, Umuhuali, Obegu and Amezu, all in Ishielu LGA of the state just few days ago, during and in which lives (said to be in the neighbourhood of thirty or upwards) and properties were lost in addition to dislocation and displacement suffered by the locals.
FENRAD obtained online a release by Mr. Monday Uzor, the press secretary to the deputy governor, Dr. Kelechi Igwe which stated that the attack – contrary to different sources including from the grapevine – was not carried out by the Fulani herders but was a fallout of age-long inter-communal clash between Ngbo people of Ebonyi and their Agila neighbours of Benue State, according to what the release said was a “preliminary investigation.” The release further said that the state government is in contact with the state leadership (or state chapter) of Miyetti Alah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and that the cattle dealers’ society had affirmed its total commitment to peace in Ebonyi, distancing itself from the attack.
As good as this sounds, FENRAD wishes to remind the state government to rise to the occasion and do the needful, the utmost too. Killings in the scale and size that have recently befallen the state insert a large question mark on state government’s role as custodian of lives and properties within Ebonyi. Killings should not follow one after the other with a domino effect while the elected churn out plethora of release that it “received with dismay” news of the dastardly act only. Government should go beyond release to acting, and acting to save lives and properties as is its constitutional mandate.
FENRAD learns the state government heretofore was contemplating putting up a 1000-man vigilante formation(s) across the state to safeguard local and rural communities, mostly.
While it is welcome and ideal, FENRAD wishes to remind the state government that response to matters of life requires immediacy and rapidity and urges the Umahi-led government to vertically address this from top to bottom in such a way and manner that this evil does not repeat itself again in the state.
The Southeast, FENRAD says, is already threatened. Ebonyi, if not well handled, may morph to inferno. This is not what FENRAD wishes for or on any part of the country.
Lastly, FENRAD urges the state and even the federal government to get to the bottom of this whole matter; find out the remote and immediate causes of the conflict; address same and let culprits face prosecutorial trials.
Enough!, FENRAD says.
Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development FENRAD Nigeria
Aba.Abia state, Nigeria
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