Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 29 April 2016 | 2,941 times
The traditional ruler of Umuanyi Autonomous Community, Uturu in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State, has raised the alarm over the relocation of more Fulani herdsmen to the community since the Department of State Security (DSS) maliciously alleged that five Fulani herdsmen were abducted, killed and buried in shallow graves in Umuanyi forest.
His Royal Highness, Eze (Dr.) Cletus Uwadiegwu Ogbonnaya, who vehemently denied that no Fulani herdsmen were killed in his territory as alleged by the DSS recently, said the people of the community have been gripped with fear of imminent attack by the Fulani herdsmen who are currently massing in their farmlands.
Eze Ogbonnaya, in a three-page petition to the Director-General of DSS entitled ‘Malicious Allegation Against Umuanyi Autonomous Community, Uturu, Abia State’, appealed to the Federal Government to act fast and check the excesses and acts of impunity displayed by the Fulani herdsmen to avoid any tragedy in his domain.
News Express recalls that early this month, Mr. Tony Opuiyo, spokesman of DSS, alleged in a statement that five Fulani herdsmen allegedly abducted by suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were killed and buried in shallow graves in Umuanyi forest.
The royal father said that since the publication of that falsehood, “the Umuanyi Autonomous Community has been bombarded by phone calls from our sons and daughters at home and in the Diaspora on what actually was happening in their land of birth. They are worried that their home could witness another Agatu Massacre, God forbid.”
“We, therefore, wish to use this medium inform you correctly that the five Fulani herdsmen were not killed in any Umuanyi forest owned by this community,” Eze Uwadiegwu wrote. He added that Isuikwuato Local Government Transition Committee Chairman, retired Navy Captain Chris Osondu, in company of soldiers went to the spot of the alleged killing on Thursday, April 7, 2016, and saw that the forest belongs to another community in a neighbouring state.
“The alleged spot of abduction, killing and burial in shallow graves is more than five kilometres from Umuanyi Autonomous Community,” Eze Uwadiegwu, a veteran journalist, said.
Part of petition reads: “Since the sad incident (DSS allegation), we have rather noted with trepidation and fear that more herdsmen had relocated to our farmlands behind the Abia State University, Uturu.
“They joined their kinsmen there who have made our people always look over their shoulders whenever they are going to farm. Nobody dares to go to farm alone
“Apart from the destruction of our food crops and pollution of our rivers and streams, the Fulani herdsmen are armed to the teeth with guns, swords, bows, arrows, charms and amulets.”
Eze Ogbonnaya disclosed that the Fulani herdsmen take off from their main camp at Alaumara plateau towards Okigwe and head to different directions daily.
“They always leave trails of destruction of food crops on their paths. The fear of Fulani herdsmen is now the beginning of wisdom for our farmers. They dare not complain or get nearer these Fulanis to express their anger over their destroyed crops,” Eze Ogbonnaya lamented.
He therefore appealed to the federal government to act fast and protect his people from any Fulani herdsmen attack “to avoid another Agatu tragedy.”
“Tens and hundreds of students of the Abia State University, Uturu, and workers are living in Umuanyi and other villages with indigenes of Uturu. We should be saved from harm at the hands of these Fulani herdsmen,” he said.
He suggested that there should be a nationwide disarmament of the Fulani herdsmen and probe of the sources through which the arms such as AK47 are supplied to them.
The petition was copied was copied to several authorities, including Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and heads of security agencies in the state.
•Photo shows DSS DG Lawal Daura.
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