Recallsthat a resolution was passed in this House following a motion I moved on tackling the perennial conflicts between herdsmen and settled farmersin which I warned the nation of the threat posed by nomadic Cattle herdsmen to settled farm and land owners and prayed the nation to move fast to avert any further escalation of the conflicts.
Aware that around 4.am in the early hours of Monday, the 25th April, 2016, Fulani cattle herdsmen in their numbers, armed with sophisticated dangerous weapons invaded Nimbo Community in Uzo-Uwani LGA of Enugu State, while the inhabitants were asleep.
Informed that about seven villages namely NimboNgwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ekwuru, Ebor, Enugu Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuechara were predominantly the areas attacked by the herdsmen.
Informed that these rampaging gunmen, who entered through the border with Kogi State, unleashed unspeakable mayhem on the Community, shooting, hacking, knifing, matcheting, slitting the throats of unsuspecting residents of the village and torching buildings.
Shocked that following this orgy of killings by the herdsmen, about 38 people were gruesomely murdered, over 100 persons sustained varying degrees of injury, many fatally, many domestic livestock were slaughtered and countless number of houses and other property were razed. There is ongoing intensive search to recover more corpses or account for missing persons.
Informed that two Churches, Christ Holy Church of Nigeria, aka OdoziObodo, and the Parish House of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the Community were torched.
Informed that the dead have been deposited at the mortuary of Bishop Shanahan Hospital, and the General Hospital in Nsukka; the injured are being treated in various hospitals in Nsukka, while the severe cases of injury have been moved to the UNTH, Enugu.
Informed that the whole Nimbo town is in panic and deserted as the human population has been moving into neighboring communities like Nkpologu, Uvuru, Adani, with some running Northwards towardsNsukka and others Southwards towardsOmasi in Anambra State. There is widespread fear of more attacks as there has been recurring attacks by herdsmen on communities in Uzo-Uwani Local Government recently.
Concerned that the towns that harbour these Internally Displaced Persons are themselves in panic, apprehensive of a possible attack by these marauding herdsmen, while the risk of an outbreak of disease due to the pressure on available facilities in these rural Communities is looming.
Recalls that only about three months ago, Abbi Community, a neighbouring Community to Nimbo was attacked by herdsmen and scores of people were killed, houses and barns of farm produce set ablazewhich also formed part of the fulcrum of the earlier motion referred to above.
Worried that the regularity and audacity of these attacks has become a pattern and the whole people of Uzo-Uwani LGA are facing a clear danger of extermination.
Further Worried that the Boko Haram terrorists fleeing the sustained onslaught of the military in the North East may be fleeing southwards, massing around communities, unleashing havoc in their wake.
Disturbed that we are witnessing the incipient activities of terrorism in the Southern part of Nigeria, beginning with the South-East, as the choice of targeting churches and places of worship is not consistent with even the most criminal of ordinary herdsmen’s activities.
Aware that the purpose of Government in the welfare and Security of the people.
Pained that there was credible intelligence on the impending attack of Nimbo that was passed on to security agencies to forestall the attack and protect lives and property, yet somehow, their action came post factum.
Concerned that thepeople of Uzo-Uwani LGA and the surrounding Communities in Enugu North Senatorial District now live in constant fear of attack by herdsmen.
Alarmed at the dramatic escalation, of recent, of attacks by cattle herdsmen who kill, maim, burn, rape and terrorize villages with impunity. By some reports, herdsmen attacks killed about 80 people in 2013, and by the end of 2014, it had risen to 1,229.
Recounts the serial attacks by herdsmen across the country in 2016 thus: On January 4, 2016, between 12 and 38 people were killed in UdeniRuwa, in Nasarawa State. On January 10, up to 45 were killed in Agatu, Benue State. On January 17, 3 three people were killed by cattle rustlers in Gareji village in Taraba State. On January 23, between 30 and 60 people were killed, including a police DPO in Demsare, Wunamokoh, Dikajam and Taboungo, all in Adamawa State.On February 2, another 7 people were killed in yet another early morning attack in Agatu, Benue State. On February 7, ten people were killed in Tom Anyiin, in Benue State. Four days later on February 11, two people were killed in Abbi, Enugu State, and nineteen were declared missing. They have not been found up until now. Thirteen days after the attack of Abbi, on February 24, between 300 and 500 Nigerians were killed in Agatu. On February 28, another nine people were killed in Agatu. On March 7, eight people were killed in Logo, and the next day, 12 were killed in Mbaya-Tombo, both in Benue. Mbaya-Tombo suffered two more deaths on March 13, 2016; then fifteen more on March 17. On March 20, residents of Ossissa, in Ndokwa, Delta State fled their homes following attacks by herdsmen. Six days later, on March 26, residents of Ugwunesi in Awgu LGA in Enugu State were left wondering if they were second class citizens as they were arrested and detained by soldiers in Umuahia for holding a meeting to discuss the problem of herdsmen attacks in their area. They were granted bail on April 1 after the intervention of the Governor of Enugu State. On March 29, between 7 and 16 people were killed in Ohali-Elu, in Rivers State, for ‘stealing cows’. On April 3 and 4, there were violent protests in Tarka, Benue State, over the murder of a local political chieftain by Fulani herdsmen. Tarka General Hospital was also attacked during those two days. On April 9 in Ilado, Ondo StateOluFalae, a former SGF, was attacked again, and a security guard was killed. Between 15 and 44 were killed in Angai, Dashole, Dori and Mesuma villages, all in Taraba State on April 10. On April 13, a herdsman was killed in a reprisal attack in Ilara-Mokin, in Ondo State showing that people are now taking matters into their own hands. On April 18, there was news that another 18 people had been killed in Moor, in Benue State. On April 20, soldiers were attacked in Agatu, Benue, and a policemanwas declared missing. It has not been reported that he has been found. Then on Monday, 25 April, despite forewarnings, the attack on Nimbo Community of Uzo-Uwani LGA in Enugu State happened, killing up to 38 persons, with more still unaccounted for.
Disturbed that it is strange that of all economic groups in this Country, only herdsmen openly bear and flaunt sophiscated arms, even along highways, without any form of interference by security authorities, giving the impression that some groups are officially certified as being above the law.
Concernedthat the unrestrained and rampant violent activities of herdsmen across the Country is like sitting on a keg of gun-powder as people and Communities would have no option but take extra-ordinary measures to defend themselves from these recurring brutal attacks with grave implications for national security.
Concerned that the silence of security authorities to these series of attacks which contrasts with the rush to issue Public Statements, as recently witnessed, gives the impression that there are grades of killings the Security Service may take interest in and this militates against harmonious co-existence in a nation like ours.
Convinced that a stitch in time saves nine, and that Nigeria can ill-afford the multiplicity of security crises bedeviling it now and must therefore nip this rising threat of herdsmen and the sustained infiltration of the South East by terrorists posing as herdsmen, before it escalates beyond what we can manage.
THEREFORE RESOLVES TO:
- Observe a minute silence in memory of those who were killed in the attacks in Nimbo Community.
- Urge the National Emergency Management Agency, and other relevant Agencies to urgently dispatch relief materials to Nimbo Community and other neighbouring Communities of Nkpologu, Uvuru, Ugbene-Ajima and Adani to ameliorate the living conditions of the victims of the attack who have become Internally Displaced Persons.
- Call on the Security Agencies of the nation to improve its Intelligence-gathering capabilities and be proactive rather than reactive to threats to internal security, especially in cases where there is credible intelligence to act on to safeguard lives and property.
- Call on Security Agencies to enforce the laws on arms bearing by unauthorized persons.
- Call on the Nigerian Police to expedite action on the establishment of a Rapid Response Police Unit around the Communities where these attacks take place.
- Send a delegation of the Senate to commiserate with the people of the Community, the Local Government, and the State on the unfortunate attacks.
- Invite Security Chiefs to brief the Senate on the movement of fleeing terrorists to ensure that measures are put in place to forestall a spread of terrorist activities all over the country.
- Mandate the Senate Committees on Agriculture, Police Affairs and National Security to carry out an investigation of the incident and suggest ways of stopping these attacks before the affected communities resort to self-help.
I so move.