Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state, Sunday, revealed that herdsmen have allegedly asked their colleagues in some parts of Ebonyi to vacate the area that they want to lunch another attack after they killed over 20 people on Monday, March 29, 2021in Ishielu.
Umahi made the disclosure, at the Christian Ecumenical Center, Abakaliki, during the visit of Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, to sympathize with the victims of herdsmen attack in Egedegede and other communities, in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi state.
The governor sternly warned that such attack should better not be attempted because, according to him there will be grave consequences and resistance.
He said: “But it’s very annoying Sir, that some herdsmen in some parts of the state are being asked to quit because they want to attack again. This is one attack that must never be attempted, because as the chief security officer, I’m reporting to the federal government that I might not be able to control it.
“Let this madness stop, no one has the monopoly of violence. We assure the federal government that there will be no retaliation on this, believing that justice will be done. What was provided this afternoon in the way of information is good enough to unravel what happened.
“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. It is very important that we do everything very important to forestall any other attack not only in Ebony but in the entire south east”.
The governor said that the Ishielu communities which were recently attacked provided the Vice President with information extracted from the phone of one of their attackers which was picked at the scene of attack.
“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 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 government fails to do something sir, it will be on record that the people did their best by providing these very vital information. The killers are not hidden, they are there sir with their pictures, the call logs. I am told there is a particular person they were calling, they call him Bishop Frank Shakespeare, and they called him before the attack, 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 South east, they have a platform that involve even the herdsmen even in our local governance. There is no name the governors of south east are not being called, they call us cowards and all kinds of names because we know there is need for peace in this country. We know that one crisis in any part of this country can degenerate to a very serious civil war, we don’t want another civil war in this country but it is in the hands of everybody”, he added.
Umahi further called on the Federal Government to approve State Police to enable the States combat security challenges facing them. He also announced that local vigilantes have been set up to provide internal security in all parts of the State.
He appealed to the Federal Government to make funds available for the resettlement of those whose households and means of livelihood were affected by the attack, as well as the Ezza, Ezza-Effium communal war victims. Demanding for my security personnel be drafted to Ezza, Ezza-Effium communities.
The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Osinbajo, also visited Ezza, Effium communities in Ohaukwu local government area of the state that have been at war with each other since January 2021, leading to the death over 100 people and the destruction of many houses.
He condemned the killings, noting there is no excuse for the killing of innocent citizens, describing the incidents as unacceptable.
He promised that federal government will track down the perpetrators of Egedegede killings through the information and evidence presented to him by the villagers to ensure that justice is done for the victim families.
The Vice President, assured that federal government will beef up security in the affected Ishielu communities, even as he said that immediate relief would be provided the people in the short term through National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.
On his visit to Ezza, Ezza-Effium waring communities, he called on them to sheath their sword and embrace peace, else they will not receive any assistance from the federal government.
He said: “hundreds of people lost their lives, business and means of livelihood destroyed, Mr. President was particularly concerned about this, for the families of those who have lost their lives, you should please accept the condolences of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I want to say first to the leadership that the responsibility of leadership is to ensure that the people we lead do not die needless deaths, we must do something about peace in our Communities”
He commended Ebonyi people for being patience with the federal government and for not retaliating the herdsmen attack. “I agree with you that there is a great deed of pain, but that pain cannot be assuaged by war and retaliation. We are stronger together than apart. We must get justice…federal government is committed to ensuring that there is equity, fairness and justice.”
“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”, he added.