It was free flow of tears Tuesday morning as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State visited Ukpabi, Nimbo, in Uzo-Uwani local government area of the state.
The community came under attack Monday morning, leading to the reported death of 21 persons.
Ugwuanyi, who could not hold back tears, was in the company of Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nwodibo Ekechukwu the GOC 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, as well as the Enugu State Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC.
The Governor, thereafter, declared two days fasting and prayer in the State, asking residents to commit the situation into God’s hand.
“It calls for sober reflection; this is a trying period, not just for this community but for all of us.
“On Sunday, we were in the church for Nigeria Prays, with General Yakubu Gowon; I got a call from the council chairman and immediately, I summoned a security council meeting; prior to that we had met with the Fulani leaders, and it was indeed yesterday that we would have inaugurated a joint committee of the Fulani and the Enugu government.
“Be that as it may, what has happened, has happened; this is not the to blame any body; government will do what it is supposed to do; I understand that economic activities have been shut down here, we will as a government make available the sum of N5m to the leaders of this community and then from there proceed to the hospital, settle all the bills and then later we go to the next line of action.
“May I therefore, call on the entire people of Enugu State to please fast for two days and put this into the hands of God; Enugu is in the hands of God. I re-assure this community that the government and the people of Enugu State are behind you; your pain is our pain; you are the true heroes of democracy and we cannot abandon you; that’s why I am here”, the Governor stated.
The visit coincided with the recovery of one more dead resident, who was slaughtered by the herdsmen.
The victim, one Mr. Ugwuogbu, who according to the community has brought number of recovered dead bodies to 21, is a teacher serving in the community.
Governor Ugwuanyi was later at the palace of the traditional ruler of Nimbo, His Royal Highness, Igwe John Ako, who described the attack as unprovoked.
“We had a black Monday yesterday; no week passes by without our women being raped and our men killed by the herdsmen.
“We appeal for military and police presence; our people don’t go to farm again; they come to the farm, point gun at the farmer, ask him to go away, and the cattle will feed on the farm; we don’t go to farm again”, he lamented.
Meanwhile, a resident, who spoke earlier at the market square on behalf of the residents, heaped blames on security agencies over the attack.
According to him, “we were not taken unawares; we knew about this attack about two weeks ago; we informed all the relevant security agencies but they never took us serious; we are not happy; our hearts are bitter.
“This has been going on for years, right from the previous administration, we have been crying but nobody has ever listened to us; we thank the Governor for his quick visit.
“But we plead with the government to ensure that the army and the military remained here for months; this is not a matter of disappearing after few days, because they will still come back”.
Some of the victims include a fresh graduate, Eze Patrick Okechukwu, who just passed out from the NYSC few days ago, as well as an 80-year old man.
A church building belonging to the Christ Holy Church of Nigeria was completely burnt down by the invaders.
However, only few residents, especially the youths were seen in the community, even as the on-going Senior School Certificate Examination had been suspended in the area.
This is as many survivors, with various degrees of injuries on the head, neck, and other parts of the body are currently receiving treatment in different hospitals in Nsukka.
The hospitals include Royal Cross Hospital, Bishop Shanahan Hospital and the District Hospital, all in Nsukka.
Some of them were moved to the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu and the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu Tuesday afternoon.