Contrary to the Department of State Security (DSS) report that some Fulani herdsmen were killed in Umuanyi forest in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of the state, the traditional ruler and people of the community have denied the report, stating that the forest belonged to Ihube community in Imo State.
In a press release by the traditional ruler of Umuanyi Autonomous community, HRH Eze Cletus Uwadiegwu Ogbonnaya accused the DSS as biased, putting into consideration that, “It has been confirmed by the combined team of Nigerian Soldiers and the Isuikwuato Local Government Transition Committee Chairman, Navy Capt C. Osondu (rtd), who went to the spot on Thursday, April 7th, 2016.”
According to the royal father, “they saw that the forest belongs to Ihube community side of the Okigwe Local Government Area of Imo State which shares inter-state border with Ngodo community, Uturu in isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State”, which is a site more than 5 kilometres from the Umuanyi community and as well does not share boundaries with either Ngodo or Ihube.
Because of the peaceful nature of the Umuanyi community, Eze Ogbonnaya said more herdsmen had relocated to the community’s farm land behind the Abia State University, Uturu, to join their kinsmen which was why there was fear on the part of the community rural farmers.
The scenario, he said “have made our people to always look over their shoulders whenever they are going to the farm.
“Nobody dares to go to farm alone. 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.
“They always leave trails of destruction of food crops on their paths. The fear of Fulani herdsmen are now the beginning of wisdom for our farmers. They dare not complain or get nearer these Fulani to express their anger over their destroyed crops”
The community, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government “to check the excesses and acts of impunity displayed by these Fulani herdsmen to avoid tragedy”, calling for a nation-wide disarmament of the herdsmen.
The community also called for an inquiry on the source of the acquisition of arms such as AK47 riffles by the herdsmen.
The release was copied to the state governor, State Commissioner of Police, State Director of the DSS, Nigerian Army, Ohafia, and LGA offices of the LGA Chairman, DSS, DPO and ABSU Nigerian Police.