———–By Onitsha Shedrack, ————
The lawmaker representing Ethiope East Sate constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Evance Ochuko Ivwurie has called on President Mohammadu Buhari led Federal Government to constitute panel of inquiries to investigates the killing in Ethiope East by Fulani herdsmen.
Ivwurie in a letter addressed to the president had requested the government constitute commission of inquiry to investigate the killings, rapes and attacks by herdsmen, and bring the perpetrators to justice in order to forestall it reoccurrence.
It would be recalled that there have been renewed herdsmen masterminded attacks and killing in some part of Ovre r’ Abraka, Eku, Igun in Ethiope East LGA of Delta State leading to a protest by women and youths from these communities calling on the security agencies to check the activities of the herdsmen.
The lawmaker also stated that in the past five years over ten innocent people have allegedly been killed by these murderous herdsmen unchallenged, adding that he can no longer watch and allow his people to be killed in their homeland.
According to him, “I write to bring to your attention, the continuous deterioration of the security and unwarranted loss of life and properties in my constituency and to urgently seek your intervention to bring an end to the wanton killings, maiming and raping of my people by suspected armed Fulani Herdsmen at Ovre r’ Abraka/Eku/Igun in Ethiope East LGA of Delta State.
“I am compelled to write you this letter in view of the fact that I cannot fold my hands and watch my constituents suffer avoidable deaths and injury or watch to see my constituency go up in conflagration as a result of the heinous crimes being perpetuated against my people by suspected Fulani Herdsmen.
Among those allegedly killed in the past five years include, “Mr Solomon Ejor killed on Monday April 24th, 2017, Mr Sunday Idama killed on Saturday 25th March, 2017, Mr Sunday Couple killed on 3rd January, 2017, Mr Eyabigun Akpovena killed on 3rd January, 2017, and Mr Philip Obayendo killed on 11th March, 2016.
Others are; “Mr Francis Okotie killed on 29th March, 2016, Mrs Margret Okotie killed on the 20th of March, 2012, Mr Adjeke Agodah killed on the 5th of January, 2016, and Mr Friday Ogefere’s young Daughter who was raped and physically assaulted on December, 2016.
Giving details of the killings, he stated that; “on Monday April 24th, 2017 my constituency was thrown into pandemonium as Mr Solomon Ejor, a native of Urhuoka – Abraka, an iron bender/ welder, married with children whose mother was held captive by suspected Fulani Herdsmen in her Abraka farmland, was ambushed, shot and beheaded (ISIS style execution) when he attempted to rescue his mother from the captivity of the said Fulani Herdsmen in the area.
“This incident threw the community into turmoil and led to widespread protests by the youth such as have not been seen in the community before. The news media, electronic, print and social media have reported the development extensively.
“Also the incident has been reported to the Divisional Police Officer, Abraka for investigation but as with other previous occurrences there do not seem to be much confidence of any conclusive investigation into the matter.
“Unfortunately, this was not the first of such incidence of unprovoked and unjustifiable killing of my people by the Fulani Herdsmen. I am fully aware that on Saturday 25th March, 2017, one Mr. Sunday Idama, a 50year old father of 14 children and a senior Staff of the Library Department of the Delta State University, Abraka, was cruelly slaughtered in his farmland at Abraka.
“Prior to that was the killing, on the 3rd January, 2017, of two indigenes of Eku and Igun in my constituency namely Mr. Sunday Couple and Mr. Eyabigun Akpovena residing in Urhuoka – Abraka, they were said to have been butchered to pieces by the suspected Fulani Herdsmen as though they were common cows.
Earlier, on the 11th of March, 2016, one Mr. Philip Obayendo was callously murdered by the said Fulani Herdsmen. Accounts have it that after killing him, they dragged his lifeless body along their cattle tracks far off to where his already decomposing corpse was later discovered by a community search party. Also on the 29th of March, 2016, one Mr. Francis Okotie a senior staff with the Library Department of the Delta State University, Abraka and a father of 9 who had driven to his farm in his car across the River Ethiope to harvest his Plantain Plantation, was also said to have been shot and killed by the suspected Fulani Herdsmen.
“I must not fail to mention that on the 10th of January, 2017, one Denis Osademe from Obiaruku – (a neighbouring community) who farms in our Ovre r’Abraka farmland, was attacked by suspected AK47 – armed Hausa/Fulani herdsmen. He managed to escape from the farmland with gunshots but died later as a result of the gun shot injury sustained from the attack.
“During the same period, a woman and her daughter were held up at gun point, by the same suspected AK47 – armed Hausa/Fulani herdsmen who raped her and her daughter repeatedly. Both incidents were promptly reported to the Divisional Police in Abraka, but they remain un-investigated, while the victims continue to live with the associated social stigma.
“More so, on the 5th of January, 2016, one Mr Adjeke Agodah was accosted by a group of four (4) suspected AK47 – armed Hausa/Fulani herdsmen on his way to his farm and was shot several times on the leg but he managed to escape as other farmers found him and quickly raised alarm. The Police in Abraka were immediately informed, and it is on record that it was the Police who took the victim to Obiaruku General Hospital for treatment, but the case was never investigated.
“Also in December, 2016, one Mr Friday Ogefere also reported to the Divisional Police, Abraka that his young daughter was physically assaulted – (beaten and stabbed in the palm) and sexually assaulted in front of her other younger siblings, in their own farm by AK47 – armed Hausa/Fulani herdsmen. The matter was promptly reported to the Divisional Police, Abraka and it was never investigated.
He added that there are over ten thousand herds of cattle and about two thousands Fulani herdsmen armed with all kinds of sophisticated weapons including AK-47 whom have taken over the entire Ovre R’ Abraka/Eku/Igun farmland.
“It is also on record that my people have reported the sighting of Helicopter delivering supplies to herdsmen severally in our Ovre R’ Abraka/Eku/Igun farmland and I raised the alarm, after which the security architecture made me the issue instead of investigating the serious and weighty allegation made by my constituents over their sighting of the Helicopter several times.
He emphasised the fact that the Section 33 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) guarantee the sanctity of life of every Nigerian.
He also wonders why the security agencies have failed to swoop on suspected herdsmen since their locations are known, adding that, “could it be that our security agencies are compromised, afraid or disinterested?
“I have tried to fight back the notion that the Government of Nigeria and its security agencies are engaged in a conspiracy of silence against my people when they are expected to protect the lives and properties of its citizens from both internal and external aggression.”
“The dangerous consequence that could result from such inaction is that when protection is not forthcoming from the Federal Government on matters that have consumed such magnitude of lives and properties, the people become disillusioned, apprehensive, and highly aggressive and will most likely resort to self-help to protect their own lives. Inevitably, breakdown of law and order will naturally ensue.
It is therefore with a view to prevent such occurrence that I have written this letter to Your Excellency, Mr. President. I respectfully demand that Mr. President and the Federal Government should immediately take action to bring an end to the dangerous state of insecurity in my Constituency.”