FEAR of uncertainty has gripped residents of Attawu community near Enugu following the Fulani herdsmen attack on the village.
A Catholic seminarian whose name was given as Lawrence Nwafor from Imo State was killed, while four others were severely injured during the invasion that took place on Wednesday night.
Reports from the area had it that troubled started on Wednesday morning when some of the villagers chased herdsmen and their cattle away from their premises to prevent the cows from destroying their crops.
The herdsmen were said not to be happy with the action of the villagers, prompting them to invade the community at about 2:00 a.m. with guns, knives and other dangerous weapons.
It was learnt that the people of the area were caught unaware and before they could gather to fight back, the herdsmen had taken to their heels with their cattle leaving only their tents which they built at the outskirt of the community.
Nigerian Tribune observed that panic set in the coal city and its environs as security was beefed up in strategic areas to forestall any break down of law as some people were already preparing for reprisal.
Apparently to calm the situation from escalating, the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi with his aides promptly stormed the Attakwu community on Thursday to assess the state of damage as well as console the families of the victims.
Addressing the people of the Attakwu community, Governor Ugwuanyi condemned in its strongest terms the invasion of the community by the suspected herdsmen, saying that government would do everything necessary to bring the culprits to book.
“This morning, I received a report of an attack on Attakwu community by suspected Fulani herdsmen, during which one person, a seminarian was killed and four others injured; they are in the hospital at the moment.”
“Even though the police have not conducted into the matter I hasten to condemn this act in the strongest terms and its entirety as government will tolerate wanton destruction of lives and properties anywhere in the State by any one or group under any guise whatsoever.
“I have already summoned the Fulani community and relevant security agencies this afternoon to review the situation and determine the appropriate action to be taken.
“It is indeed unfortunate that this is happening just few days after the commission of inquiry on Nimbo killings submitted an interim report and is about to complete its assignment.
“I wish to on behalf of the State Government sympathize with the family of the deceased and I assure them that government will do everything necessary to ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
Earlier, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Dr Calitus Onaga told reporters that few weeks ago, both the clergy and the laity gathered and showed their anger over the activities of the Fulani herdsmen.
“We were able to calm people down; we said let us give government a chance; but you can see the climax, a student has just been butchered; it looks like we are being targeted every year, we are being attacked.
“The government should do something about this; it is very painful; it is very sad. This is not the way to do things; all of a sudden these people have assumed another effrontery, they have assumed boldness, they have assumed another attitude. If they cannot live with us together, let them quietly go; this is our land, we cannot pack out of this place.
“We are pleading with all the security agencies to look into this because at a time, people may not hold their patience again, there may be free range of anger and violence. Of course we are not prone to violence but at a time we can really be stretched so much that we will have no option than to defend ourselves. Life has been lost and to replace it is impossible.
“So, we are really sad; we are really in pain and I need to really summon the courage to address the Catholic Faithful on what happened; how would I explain it?
Look at where they came and did these things; go there you will see butchering, blood everywhere. Their cow was not killed; they themselves were not touched; just that they scared away their cows in the day time.
“Why would they kill an innocent boy just at the peak of his vocation? I pray and hope that our people will be restrained from over reacting. It is so painful; when I got this news, I was totally disorganised, the Cleric concluded.