The wrath of rural dwellers in the twelve villages of Achi, a town in Oji River local government area of Enugu state, against wandering cattle rearing Fulani herdsmen worsened yesterday, as a farmer was found butchered in his village farm at Amankpunato Achi community by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
kilThe late farmer,Mr. Eugene Anayo Iloabana had left for his distant farm[Ugbo -agu] eearly in the morning,based on the fact that rural farmers in Achi has a culture of planting their large farms at distant forests[agu] in addition to the ones cultivated close to their family homes. His non return it till late evening, prompted both his immediate and extended family members in the community to initiate a search party to fish him out.
Unfortunately, they found his lifeless body lying in his own pool of blood in his farm.
The lifeless body was found with deep cuts in several places on his face and the neck.
Confirming the incident to newsmen in Enugu yesterday, Lolo Barr. Lady Gbugbu,the wife of the Igwe of Amankpunato autonomous community said the deceased left for his farm on Monday,June 29, in the morning hours ,but when he did not come back in the evening, the villagers organised themselves into search parties. But found his ” butchered” lifeless body on getting to his farm.
Barr. Mrs Chinyere Gbugu disclosed that the incident was the second of it’s type within Amanmkpunato community in recent time,perpetrated to rural farmers by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
She pointed that the community is still under pains of invasion of their farmlands and destruction of new growing crops by suspected Fulani herdsmen,an incident which was appropriately reported to security agencies.
The AUTHORITY checks revealed that even though, the Amamkpunato Achi rural community dwellers have reported the killing of Mr Eugene Iloabana officially to the Security agencies, the people are no longer comfortable of non active response of the government both at the rural,local government and state level in handling the menace of Fulani herdsmen in the area.
To that effect, they took the lifeless body of late Eugene Iloabana in their protest to Oji River local government area headquarters,on Tuesday,June 30[see pix below]. The chairman of Oji River council area, Barr Frank Udemezue seems to be helpless in finding a lasting solution to the menace of suspected Fulani herdsmen in the council area even as he sympathized with the families of the deceased and the entire people of Oji River council area. He called on the stakeholders to work out a lasting solution to halt the menace.
His words,’This is the best time to engage our brains and strategize more on best ways to avert the repeat of this ugly incident in Oji River”. He added that, the death of our brother Eugene must never be slept under the carpet; and that He cannot sit down and watch foreigners dislodge Oji River people from Oji River”..’The Governor have been briefed on the incident. As at this moment one suspect have been arrested and detained by the Police in Oji River.’ .
The Authority checks revealed that the menace of Fulani herdsmen in the twelve villages of Achi town and other communities in Oji River local government area has become a dangerous trend threatening the lives of the rural dwellers and impacting negatively in their sources of income,which is peasant farming.The rural farmers are forfeiting their traditional culture of cultivating large expanse of land in far away thick forests[agu] because of previous ugly incidences of destruction of those farm lands by Fulani herdsmen who also feed their animals from those farm crops, Any challenge from the farmer if found present in his farm,were usually deadly attack from the Fulani herders, instances of raping women and young girls has also stopped the women and girls from going to distant farms[agu] to weed the crops and fetch firewood.
The ugly situation in Oji River just like many other communities in Enugu state remains the fact that wandering Fulani herdsmen have taken over most of the forests where the rural dwellers plant their crops without any challenge. The rural farmers are most often mahandled or killed if coincidentally they were found on ground in their farmlands.
Investigations revealed that the security apparatus set up by the state government, the neighbourhood watch and forest guards as their name implies do not patrol across farmlands and forests in the rural areas, as measure to monitor and control the menace of farmlands by wandering Fulani herdsmen with their cattle.
The reason being asserted by sources who don’t want to be quoted in print is that the forest guards are complaining that they are not yet equipped with ammunition. Whereas most wandering Fulani herdsmen posses sophisticated weapons in addition to their poisonous daggers, etc and are always combat ready.