The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, has fingered herdsmen as possible suspects in the recent attacks on the people of Ebonyi state. Gov. Umahi said he suspects the Herdsmen as prime suspects in the recent attacks in the state because of the surreptitious manner in which they willingly left State.
Speaking on Tuesday after an enlarged security meeting at the old government house, Abakaliki, said he had reached out to the leadership of Myetti Allah to warn their members not to return to Ebonyi state for now due to the tension over the recent attacks and killings of the people of the State.
While directing the Council Chairmen to use vigilance groups in their various LGAs to enforce the State’s law on open grazing, the Governor disclosed that he had directed that AK-47 bearing herdsman should not be allowed into the state.
He however clarified that on the recent attacks on Ngbo in Ohaukwu LGA, which led to killings and burning of houses, the Agila people who had been having intractable land dispute with the community were responsible and not herdsmen as being speculated in some quarters.
The Governor also disclosed that the land dispute that ensued between the people of Iyionu and Ezzillo had claimed two lives, adding that he had directed for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the Councillor who he said allegedly ignited the clash.
Umahi who doubles as the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, said the Council also condemned the attacks on police facilities and killing of policemen in the region, and called on the leaders of the region to condemn the attacks and rise up against it, adding that it was a little monster that could consume the entire region if left unchecked.
He said, “on the issue of herdsmen, we want to put it on record that no herdsman is in Ebonyi state as at now. We didn’t ask them to leave. They left on their own; meaning that they were privy to the attacks on Ebonyi state. I have been talking to their national leadership to talk to them that with what is going on in various states that no state Governor has control of bandits.
“And because of the killings of defenseless Ebonyi people, they have all left the state for their safety. For their safety, they should please, not return back now. There is still very high tension under the people who pretentiously speak that they are protecting our people (referring to IPOB and ESN).
“But you can see that our problem is not only the herdsmen, we are still killing ourselves. We are killing police, we are burning police facilities, which means that the South-East should know that our problem is not just herdsmen; that we are problem to ourselves and we enjoin leaders to rise up to condemn this, because it is a little monster that if encouraged, will consume all of us, beyond herdsmen menace.
“And so, we have sent messages to the leadership of MyettiAllah. Please, Ebonyi state is under tension because of these killings and we would want them to still stay out until such a time that it will be safe.
“On the open grazing, well, no need talking about that because there is no cow in Ebonyi state now, there is no herdsman in Ebonyi state now, but the position of Ebonyi state government is that we have a law on open grazing. And the natives cannot continue to blame security agencies, because security agencies cannot be everywhere.
“So, we are directing the vigilante to enforce the open grazing law of the state. At the national level, the Governors have said there should be no open grazing. We don’t expect the security agencies to be everywhere, but working with the vigilante, the local government chairmen should enforce the ban on open grazing any time the healthy herdsmen will return. We will confront any herdsman coming to Ebonyi state with QK-47. I have directed that they should confront any herdsman coming into Ebonyi state with Ak-47.
“On Ngbo, the government has not bought into the information flying in the social media that the attacks and killings in the area were done by herdsmen. I have been in touch through my Deputy with the Benue State government and they said no herdsmen were there.
“But what baffles us is that the traditional ruler of Agila to be calling our people and will give the phone to a so-called herdsman and the herdsman will be talking to our people. We have never seen such arrangement. So, we still hold the killings of Ngbo people on Agila people and we are going there today and we will make sure that they will not have such opportunity to inflict such injury on our people again.I’m going to fund fully the operations of vigilante in that axis to protect the lives of our people.
“On the Iyionu and Ezillo crisis, this land dispute has been there for a very long time. Some of these land disputes have been there for over 100 years and the CAN under the leadership of Rev Abraham Nwali has been working very hard and has got to the level of conclusion whereby the state government declared the land in dispute a buffer zone. But unfortunately, out of greed one Councilor from Ezzilo took an expatriate investor to the disputed land and that resulted to shootings and killings where two people died.
“But the Bishop of Catholic Church Abakaliki has directed Rev Fr. Abraham Nwali to step in and he has done that; he is in meetings with the leaders and they have agreed that there will be no more shooting and killing. And that they will abide by every decision the government committee which is entirely CAN is going to come up with.
“The security council today directed the immediate arrest of the Councillor and for him to be prosecuted immediately.
“We condemn totally the killings of policemen and burning of their facilities in South-East. They are not being done by herdsmen. They are done by people within the Southeast. And my directive to a policeman is that if you see anybody coming to kill you, demobilize the person, that is the rule of engagement. Police people should not fold their arms and be killed.
“The Southeast leaders should rise up to condemn this. How do we feel if the federal government because of the killings of policemen in the Southeast decides to withdraw them from the region?”
On the recent attacks on Ngbo in Ohaukwu LGA, which led to killings and burning of houses, the Governor insisted that Agila people who had been having intractable land dispute with the community were responsible and not herdsmen as being speculated in some quarters. Independent.