Abia farmers on the run for fear of reprisal attack, mass arrest

www.odogwublog.com reports that fear and anxiety  have gripped locals of Umuobasiukwu Autonomous community in Ozuitem , Bende Local Government following a recent clash between Fulani herdsmen and aggrieved youths of the community.

The community said that their greatest worry now "is fear of reprisal attack by herdsmen  and mass arrest" by security agencies.

Police Commissioner, Mr. Leye Oyebade, had said that  the clash which occurred on Sunday, left one herdsman  dead and crops worth millions of Naira destroyed.

But Speaking in Umuahia, the Secretary General of the community, Chief Uwakwe Mbaonu, said the community was now virtually deserted following a mass arrest by the police.

He said over eight persons in the community had already been arrested, lamenting that such ugly development would leave the community vulnerable to a reprisal attack by the Fulani herdsmen.

But the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna said only six members of the community had so far been arrested.

Mbaonu queried the basis on which police would embark on mass arrest of the locals when no  Fulani herdsman had been arrested despite the fact that the community had severally been invaded by the rampaging nomads.

He denied the allegation by the police that the community was responsible for the death of a herdsman allegedly killed during fracas.

According to him, the victim must have died as a result of stampede by cows during the clash, arguing that herdsmen in the area are usually heavily armed hence, it would not have been easy for them to be killed.

He accused the security agents of pampering herdsmen while at the same time looking for an opportunity to deal with the locals.

Mbaonu contended that despite the community raising alarm about herdsmen attacks in the past, the security agents never prevented any of those invasions.

He said that a number of locals in the community  sustained serious gunshot and machete wounds during a raid by the herdsmen last year, yet non of them was arrested.

He accused the herdsmen of grazing their cows on farms destroying  crops with impunity and without restraint by the security agencies.

According to him, the rampaging herdsmen even uproot crops to feed their cows.

He accused the federal government of conspiracy of silence, wondering why no efforts are being made to call the rampaging herdsmen to order.

Another concerned member of the community, Okoro Ndukwe, wondered why the return  of President Muhammadu Buhari would be greeted by another clash between herdsmen and farmers.

He called on the federal government to stop treating herdsmen menace with kid gloves, saying it is capable of consuming Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker of the Abia House of Assembly, Hon. Cosmos Ndukwe, has sued for peace over the crisis, saying that government intensifying efforts to ensure maximum security of lives and property in the area.

He appealed to all parties to give peace a chance and avoid any action capable escalating the crisis. 

Similarly, the Chairman of Hausa / Fulani community in Abia, Danladi Yaro has also appealed for calm, urging migrant herdsmen in the state to reciprocate the hospitality of their host  communities.
Abia farmers on the run for fear of reprisal attack, mass arrest Abia farmers on the run for fear of  reprisal attack, mass arrest Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 Rating: 5

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