The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah has condemned in strong term the massacre of scores of people at Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State by Fulani herdsmen last Monday.
Bishop Onah, who addressed the press last weekend, said the diocese is worried over the senseless killing of “innocent, unarmed and defenseless citizen of Nimbo.”
He said that the Nimbo massacre was analogous to the scenes of the 1966 civil war where people were forced to flee their homes in search of solace and peace, adding that the current crisis is different particularly as people are not only chased away from their homes, but also from their farms, churches, schools and village markets.
The Bishop further said: “The most painful aspect of the Nimbo massacre is that it was announced, expected and executed without inhibition – in broad daylight. The state government is reported to have made attempts to provide security in the area prior to the incident.
“But what those who lost their dear ones and all of us want to know is why, as the reports go, the security forces ‘tactically’ withdrew shortly before the attack and why when they later returned to the scene, there was no attempt to immediately pursue and arrest the perpetrators.
“At present, nobody can say with certainty the number of those killed, given that more of those who were badly wounded are still dying and some bodies are still being recovered from the bush where the people had been killed while taking refuge.”
He said that it was disturbing to note that only Christian religious houses were attacked.
Bishop Onah reiterated that Nsukka people are peace-loving people and called on them to remain law abiding without resorting to any unlawful protestations.
He, however, said that unnerving questions arising from the tragedy needed to be addressed.
The bishop, however, posed some questions: “How are we supposed to react to these threats to our very survival as a people when the federal government, who controls the security agencies, seems unwilling to protect us, and the state government appears incapable of defending us, since it has no control over these agencies?
“Our young people are asking us why the police and the armed forces of the federal government are so swift and sometimes so high-handed in their reaction when unarmed persons march the streets in protest in the South East, and so heavy-footed when it comes to stopping the massacre of the south easterners anywhere in the country, even in their homes.”
While the Diocese appreciates the stance of President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue, the Bishop said only concrete actions can lead to the return of normalcy in the community.
He also urged the federal government to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the massacre and disarm all those who carry assault rifles publicly.
He equally thanked Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Senator Chuka Utazi for their concerted efforts so far, saying that the state must use all the tools at its disposal to avert the recurrence of such tragedy.
As much as they diocese thanks the Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase for visiting the community, the bishop said it should bother the IG that some herdsmen possess better arms than policemen.
The Bishop announced that masses and prayers will be offered for the victims throughout the Diocese next Sunday.
Also, the General Overseer of Christian Victory Prayer Ministry (CVPM) Enugu, Pastor Dan Obinegbo, has described the incessant attacks in south east Nigeria as a ploy to proclaim Fulani Jihad in the region.
The fiery cleric, warned that if the federal government fails to urgently hurt the barbaric act, it would spell doom on the entire nation.
He said “the federal government must as a matter of urgency rise up to the occasion and address this issue, before it tears the country apart.”
Pastor Obinegbo, who advised south east communities to put in place crack and effective vigilante groups to safeguard their localities, posited that the time has come for the Igbos to defend themselves against the killer herdsmen.
“I think what is happening now is a wakeup call for our south east leaders, it is time for them to rise up to the occasion, and defend their people.
“We see this callous act as a bold affront on our people, and must be remedied before it becomes a cancerous disease capable of destroying Nigeria.
“Am sounding this warning because nobody has monopoly of violence, and Ndigbo have endured and tolerated this barbaric act enough, so, we are saying enough is enough.
“Ndigbo, as a people would no longer tolerate the killing of our mothers, sisters, brothers and innocent children, by terrorists elements hiding under any guise” Obinegbo said.
The Clergyman, who spoke emotionally, lamented that “it is touching that every day people go to their sleep and Fulani cattle herdsmen will come and slaughter them.
“They call them hoodlums, who are the hoodlums? Do the hoodlums have an army, that they invade a village and kill in hundreds? Who empowered them to carry AK47?