… Matchet 2 Residents, … Set for War
By Okereke Wilson Ogbonnaya
The people of Umuorie village in Oshiri Autonomous Community in Onicha LGA were said to have fled their homes, penultimate weekend following alleged attack orchestrated by some persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen through which two brothers and indigenes of the area, Mr. Uchechi Ugbala and Maduabuchi Ugbala were abducted and matcheted severely
The President General of Oshiri Town Union, Chief Obasi Elebe told our reporter who visited the area that on the fateful day, he received a distress call stating that his people were being attacked by the herdsmen and upon his arrival, he then discovered that the victims were seized by the Fulani men who tied and inflicted serious injuries on them.
He disclosed that the upheaval was promoted by the action of the cattle rearers who were not happy over the collective decision of the entire villagers whom encountered both in their farms and premises following presence of cows in the area, they then mandated the herders to relocate but instead of the herdsmen to leave peacefully, they opted to cause more havoc to the people by seizing the two men.
Chief Obasi told Citizens’ Advocate that on the fateful day, several appeals made to the Fulani men to leave Imeoha, an ancestral homes predominantly occupied by the indigenes, but they refused.
He said his people went to them without envisaging any act of violence and instructed that they should leave for another less populated area since the presence of their cows had unconsciously subjected them to untold hardship after their crops were destroyed.
According to Chief Elebe, while the herders were leaving, suddenly they chose for themselves another area that is already clustered against the will of the indigenes, an act through which verbal debate ensued between the two groups and when the herders discovered that Umuorie people were not armed, they then seized the two men but through the courage displayed by the village head and efforts of the police men from Oshiri Division the victims were rescued alive but with deep matchet cuts.
Chief Elebe said, “The true situation is that all the farms at Imeoha had been ravaged by these people’s cows and instead of the herdsmen to consider the farmers’ plight, they suddenly wanted to engage Umuorie people in a fight but for the peaceful disposition of our people and effort of the stakeholders, the farmers decided to be tolerant leaving action to be taken by government.”
He further said that the herdsmen had taken over the entire community in such a way that the residents don’t have a safe place for cultivation while those who are farming with Agric loan had ran into serious debt because of menace of the herdsmen and he thereby called on the state government to intervene in the situation.
Another resident simply identified as Mr. Ikenga frowned at the alleged nefarious activities of the Fulani men towards the people, pointing out that the herdsmen had in the recent time seized a woman’s well prepared pot of food and another resident’s handset but to enable peace reign, the victims decided to let go.
He also cited another incident where the same herdsmen sold cow to a resident whose name was not given and later ordered for the buyer’s arrest accusing him of stealing their cow while 5 cows belonging to a stakeholder and one of the top politicians had in the time past been stolen by the herdsmen.
He alleged that since the herdsmen invasion in the community that raping and other related acts had become daily occurrence and as a result called on the state government to wade into the matter to forestall impending violence.
We gathered that shortly after the incident, the herdsmen invited a great number of their counterparts suspected to be warlords who rushed to the community and started brandishing different kinds of weapon hoping that there might be a reprisal attack from the victim’s kinsmen.