• Tasks FG to unmask their source of weapons

The traditional ruler of Umuanyi autonomous com­munity in Isuikwuato coun­cil of Abia State, HRH Eze Uwadi­egwu Ogonnaya, has raised the alarm over the occupation of their farmlands by Fulani herdsmen.
Umuanyi is the community where the Department of State Services (DSS) penultimate week, claimed five herdsmen were killed and buried in a shallow grave by the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
IPOB has since denied any in­volvements in the saga, alleging that it was a frame-up to portray the pro-Biafra group as a terror or­ganisation.

The monarch said that since the allegation by the DSS went public, the community had been living in dread of the Fulani herdsmen who had relocated to the community in their numbers.
A statement issued by the royal father and made available to The AUTHORITY on Sunday, read in part: “Since the said incident, we have rather noted with trepidation and fear that more herdsmen have relocated to our farmlands behind the Abia State University, Uturu.
“They joined their kinsmen there who have made our people always look over their shoulders whenever they are going to the farm. Nobody dares to go to the farm alone.”

The monarch accused the herdsmen of wanton destruction of the community’s crops and des­ecration of their stream, adding that the invaders are armed with sophisticated weapons.
“Apart from the destruction of our food crops and pollution of our rivers and streams, the Fulani herdsmen are armed to the teeth with guns, swords, bows, arrows, charms, and amulets.
“Their main camp from where they take off every day to various directions is at the Alaumara Pla­teau towards Ogii in Okigwe LGA of Imo State. They always leave trails of destruction of food crops on their paths.

“The fear of Fulani herdsmen is now the beginning of wisdom for our farmers. They dare not com­plain or get nearer these Fulanis to express their anger over their de­stroyed crops,” he added.
The monarch called on the Fed­eral Government to as a matter of urgency, curb the excesses of the herdsmen and also investigate the source of their weapons.

“We, therefore, appeal to the Federal Government to check the excesses and acts of impunity dis­played by these Fulani herdsmen to avoid another Agatu tragedy.
“There should be a nationwide disarmament of the Fulani herds­men and security agencies should find out the source of their acquisi­tion of arms such as AK 47 riffles.”

The traditional ruler said that the lives of his subjects as well as “ten and hundreds of students of the Abia State University, Uturu, and workers living in the village have been put on the line.”
He also denied that the alleged killing of herdsmen occurred in his community, saying it took place in the neighbouring Imo communi­ty– about five kilometres away.

“We therefore, wish to use this medium to inform you correctly hat the five Fulani herdsmen were not killed in any Umuanyi for­est owned by this community”, he said.

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