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Imo residents cry out over herdsmen killings

by Kelechi Onwubiko
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Tension has continued to mount in Imo State over the said killings by herdsmen.
This is coming after South-East Voice had one month ago, repoterd that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association apologised to Imo residents and farmers over the said killings and destructions of lives in the land by herdsmen. The most recent of the attacks was said to have happened in Okigwe Local Government Area of the state. According to residents of the area in a protest letter signed by their chairman, Elder C.I. Ugbaja and the secretary, Evangelist Victor Asodike, the Fulani herdsmen have made them visitors in their own land. Claiming that the herders had taken large swaths of their land and engaged them in violent attacks. The elders of the community said they have lost their beloved ones to attacks by the Fulani herdsmen. They have also stopped them from entering their farmlands. They mentioned some of the communities that could not harvest their crops as a result of fear of attacks. The villages as listed were, Ikpa Amaeze Ogii to Ikpa Ogu/Amukwa Ezinnachi, Ope, Ikpa Ora, Aku, Umuowaibu, Ihube, Ndinjoku, Ndindubuisi, Umuka and others. They added that some of their crops had been badly damaged by cattle. In the said petition, some villagers who were said to have lost their lives included one Mr. Godfrey Osuafor, from Egbuchi of Ugwuntu Ihitte Ihube and Mr. Modestus Onwubuariri from Ugwuaku. Disturbed by the spate of the said killings in Imo State, the Imo State House of Assembly, moved a motion urging Governor Rochas Okorocha to find a solution to the killings. As part of the motion raised by Mr. Lugard Osuji representing Owerri Municipal and seconded by Mr. Kennedy Ibeh, (Obowo) asked the governor to direct the Bureau for Peace and Conflict Resolution, to investigate with a view to ending the disturbances created by the herders. They also suggested a round table meeting of herdsmen and stakeholders in the affected communities.

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“We call on the governor to direct the Bureau for Peace and Conflict Resolution to investigate the activities of Fulani herdsmen in Okigwe LGA and other parts of the state with regards to their relationship with the host communities, by amongst other procedures, calling a meeting of all concerned stakeholders with the view to ensuring harmonious co- existence between the herdsmen and the members of the host communities.” On the report by South-East Voice where the Fulani herdsmen through their parent body, Miyetti Allah, apologised to the people of Imo, took place before the very presence of Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Chris Ezike. The meeting was held at the Imo State Police Command where other associations were present. According to the Imo State Chairman of Miyetti Allah, Mr. Audi Diko: “I want to apologise to farmers in Imo State. Imo State is a peaceful state and we have been living peacefully with the people of the state. We want to say forgive us. “We are happy that the Imo State Government has formed a committee to look into this issue and we believe that there will be positive outcome.”

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Following the development, some have said enough practical steps were not taken to restrain the violent behaviours of the Fulani herdsmen in the state. Others are, however, of the view that a more effective community strategy should be adopted to end the pains the people of the state are currently passing through.


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