Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi has indicted herders in the state over recent attacks by gunmen in some communities, warning that the federal government may be unable to hold back the youths of the state if there’s a repeat of the attacks.
According to the governor, there are indications that herders are complicit in the attacks that saw about fifteen killed in some communities in Ishielu local government area of the state.
The attacks took place in Nkalaha, Obegu, Amazu, Nkalagu, and Umuhuali communities in Ishielu LGA, with residents accusing herders of carrying out the attacks. The police are yet to confirm the identities of the perpetrators.
Umahi stated this on Sunday during a visit by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to the state and noted that the herders “deserted” the affected communities before the attacks started, noting there could have been reprisals if not for the swift intervention of the state government.
“Your excellency, we are touched and we are encouraged by this visit, I’m told the murderers left a telephone which contains their contacts, their call logs and pictures,” the governor said.
“Your excellency, these things are enough to get these people apprehended, very shocking is that at the point of the attack, all the herdsmen living in Ishielu local government all deserted.
“This means that they were part of the attack on our people despite the governors of the south-east being called names because we are committed to giving them protection.
“It is very important we do anything possible to forestall further attacks not only in Ebonyi state but in the entire south-east.”
On his part, the Nigerian Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo assured of the federal government’s commitment to ensure they get justice over the recent killings.
“You have done the right thing by peacefully presenting the case to the authority; it is up to the government to seek justice,” he said.
“I want to say that it is a very deeply distressing development and I sympathise not just with the governor and the people of Ebonyi state but in particular the people of the community that have been affected.
“This whole community, a community that has lived with the (so-called) assailants for many years, what we have seen here is very cowardly and it must not be allowed in our country. It must not be allowed.
“What we must do to ensure this kind of thing does not repeat itself is to beef up security, that is very important.”
The Nigerian Vice President promised that the incident would never repeat itself, noting that the security within the state would be beefed up.
“Already, we are in conversation with the GOC, with the army about ensuring that there is more security around here. Of course, I am aware that the GOC has already made some provisions but obviously, there is a need for even greater security,” he said.
“Local community themselves must be ready to give more information to all enforcement agencies so that appropriate steps can be taken in the event that anybody wants to do any further outbreak.”
By Abel Ejikeme