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Osinbajo in Ebonyi, promises improved security

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Ruth Oginyi

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Sunday visited Ebonyi State on a one-day assessment tour of the scene where Fulani herds men allegedly massacred people at the Ishielu Local Government Area.The vice president, who arrived at Akanu Ibiam International Airport at exactly 2 pm was received by the Governor of Enugu State, Rt Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr.

Kelechi Igwe, and Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah.  He thereafter visited the Egedegede community in Ishielu Local Government Area where scores were killed by suspected herdsmen last Monday and Effium, in Ohaukwu Local Government Area.Addressing a Town Hall meeting at the State Christian Ecumenical Center, the vice president condemned the attack saying:

“This massacre is very sad indeed and very unfortunate. I am here not just for myself, I am here also at the direction of Mr. President. At times when things like this happen, when people are killed, when an incident like this happens and you feel particularly outraged.”

The reason is that those who have been mercilessly massacred are people like you and me who have hopes and aspiration; young ones, females, and children who are people who woke up in the morning and are expected to go about their normal business. “They expected to go out and fend for themselves but they ended up dead not because of anything they have done wrong but because of the cowardly wicked act by some other people who live in the same community with them.

“I sympathize with not just the governor and the people of Ebonyi state but in particular people of the communities that have been affected. These peaceful communities are communities that have lived with their assailants for many years. I think that what we have seen here is very cowardly and wickedness and all of us condemn it and we say that it must not be allowed to happen again.

“The attack of 29th March, when we look at the ball of these things, one of the things that have occurred to us is what do we need to do to ensure that this kind of thing does not repeat itself? What do we need to do to ensure that these things does not repeat themselves?  One is to beef-up security and that is very important. 

“Already, we are in conversation with GOC and with the Army about ensuring there is more security provided there. There is a need for greater security provided here, local communities themselves must be ready to give more and prompt information to all the law enforcement agencies so that prompt action can be taking in event that anybody wants to further cause havoc.”

Let me assure you that we will seek justice on behalf of those who have died not just because they are Nigerians but because they are human beings and deserve justice. Anybody who watches another person killed next to him and does not feel angry and pain and does not feel that the person deserves justice must answer to God.

Meanwhile, Governor David Umahi has appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that the perpetrators of the massacre in Ebonyi State do not escape justice. The governor also pleaded with the Federal Government to release 2billion to the state to enable the affected communities restart life and rebuild their destroyed homes.

“I want to thank the vice president and Mr. President for this prompt action you have taken to visit this peace-loving community. We are touched and we are encouraged by this visit.

“Your Excellency, we wake morning of Tuesday the 30th March to hear the shocking news of the unprovoked massacre of not less than 20. Every day, they continue to discover dead bodies from the bushes around.  “What happened was that these people divided themselves and were going towards the communities So, every okada with the passenger were hacked down. Initially, they were using knives, so nobody knew what was happening until they got to the communities and that’s where they started shooting and that is the time the people got to know and the villagers mobilized and started pursuing them.

“ I am told when we visited over the attack that the murderers left a telephone, even three days later, the telephone was still ringing and I am happy that what the communities have been hiding from the government, they have given it to you and I am told it contains the call logs, it contains pictures of the murderers, it contains their contacts; who are they calling, who is calling them? Your Excellency, these things are enough to get these people apprehended.

“If the government fails to do something sir, it will be on record that the people did their best by providing this very vital information. The killers are not hidden, they are there sir with their pictures, the call logs. I am told they was a particular person they were calling, they call him Bishop Frank Shakespeare, and they called him before the attacked, called him after the attack. Your Excellency, I am told there are over 50 contacts there, there over 50 call logs there.

“Your Excellency, we have made all effort to make peace between the farmers and herders in this state, and by extension in the southeast, they have a platform that involves even the herdsmen even in our local governance. “There is no name the governors of the southeast are not being called, they call us cowards and all kinds of names because we know there is a need for peace in this country. “We know that one crisis in any part of this country can degenerate into a very serious civil war, we don’t want another civil war in this country but it is in the hands of everybody.”

I am told this afternoon that another set of calls are going to the herdsmen that are in Ebonyi, that they should vacate, they want to attack again. Let me as the Chief Security Officer in this state say there will be serious consequences if another attack happens here in Ebonyi State because nobody will be able to hold the youths, nobody will be able to hold the people. We must do everything very important to forestall any other attack not only in Ebony but in the entire southeast.”

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