The people of Ojuwo-Ajomaigbi in Bassa Local Government Area of Kogi State attacked by rampaging Fulani herdsmen, on Saturday, painted gory pictures of how the assailants slaughtered their people.
Apart from slaughtering those that could not be killed by gunshot, the invaders also reportedly looted the community and carted away no fewer than 47 motorcycles belonging to the victims.
Already, the entire community has been deserted, while about eight other neighbouring communities had also become ghost towns, as the people, particularly women and children, have deserted the communities.
They were said to have fled their communities to Anyigba, Etutekpe, Ikpakpala and Ologba all in Dekina Local Government Area and Ikende in Bassa Local Government.
But the governor of the state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has said that his administration would set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into the attacks by the “armed bandits.”
When Sunday Tribune visited the affected areas on Saturday, it was discovered that the attackers left gory scenes and wailing after the attack, with some of the victims said to have been given mass burial.
Newly planted cashew trees were cut down, burnt motorcycles littered the road, while the community was completely deserted.
Speaking with newsmen during an on-the-spot assessment visit of the governor to Ojuwo-Ajomaigbi, a survivor of the attack, Reuben Usman, said the herdsmen invaded the community at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday and surrounded the neighbourhood.
According to him, the assailants, who were dressed in black cloth (popularly called Jalabia) invaded the community with sophisticated weapons and started shooting sporadically and setting fire to houses in the community.
He said some of the victims were caught in the fire and burnt, while those that attempted to escape from their homes were shot dead.
He added that a middle aged man was shot and dragged from his house to the main road.
According to Usman, the assailants scooped fuel from the motorcycle that belonged to the people and sprayed it on the buildings before they were burnt.
Another victim of the attack, Smaila Maji, said another man was butchered, as his hands and legs were cut and placed on his lifeless body.
He said, “the attack took us by surprise around 8 a.m. on Wednesday. As they entered the city, they started shooting at the natives sporadically.
“Our people tried to repel the attackers but were overwhelmed, as they were over 500 in number. They had no option but to run for their lives, as the herders continued to fire gunshots at them with sophisticated weapons such as AK47.
“They killed about 25 of our people. Apart from that, they also killed about six of our people at Ogbakaka while some are still in he hospital. They made away with food stuffs and all valuables such as cash and about 45 motorcycles belonging to the natives.”
Mr Aaron Baba, a member of Ojuwo-Ajomaigbi community, whose father was killed in the attack, told the governor that 12 people were buried along with his father, adding that many others were still missing.
“They took us by surprise. They came in military camouflage with AK-47, AK-45 and AK-49. You can see the empty bullet shells scattered all over. I am appealing to government for assistance.”
He expressed shock at the attack “because we have been friendly with the herdsmen here and very often engaged in trade by batter with them until they started behaving “very strangely.”
Addressing the men of the Nigerian Army from the 913 battalion drafted to the communities, Bello said he would set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the attack.
The governor said he would not fold his arms and allow the Fulani herdsmen, who he constantly referred as armed bandits, to wipe out the people of the communities.
“The prompt information from the residents of the various villages helped a lot. The Kogi State government under my watch will not shy away from our responsibilities, that is why have taken the on-the-spot assessment of the incident.
“As a government, we will as much as possible comfort the families, Igala kingdom and the entire Kogi State. It is most unfortunate, I want to assure the people that a judicial panel of inquiry is underway to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the attacks. You will not be left alone in this time of grief and anguish. We are with you.”
However, the Kogi State police command, said the situation in the affected communities had been brought under control, saying normalcy was gradually returning to the area.
The Deputy Commissioner, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Mohammed Barde, said the presence the security personnel in the area had checkmated the crisis.
PDP fingers APC, gov •Links it to arms importation
THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Saturday, told Kogi State people and Nigerians in general to hold the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its government in the state and the federal level responsible for the massacre of over 50 persons by marauders.
The leading opposition party said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, that after a thorough analysis of the circumstances and events preceding the attack, there were crucial pointers that the APC and the Kogi State government have very serious questions to answer.
The party said it was pertinent to note that the attack was preceded by revelations of importation of military gadgets by persons allegedly linked to the APC and the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello.
The party said that the APC and Kogi State government must respond to the question troubling the mind of Nigerians on the perceived clandestine involvement in activities that must have encouraged or aided those behind the attack.
The statement added: “From every indication, there is no how one can exonerate the APC and its administration at the federal and Kogi State levels from this evil against the people.
“We invite Nigerians and the international community to note that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration did not take any definite steps to ensure adequate security in the ravaged communities despite series of alarms of security threats, the latest being the exposed illegal smuggling of military gadgets into the state.
“In spite of the allegations by the people of Kogi State that the military equipment were being delivered to suspected marauders, the Buhari-led Federal Government did not take any decisive steps to arrest and investigate those fingered in the illegal trafficking, particularly the already indicted aides of the Kogi State governor.
“This raises questions of conspiracy against the people by the APC government both at the federal and Kogi State levels.
“The question are; why did the Federal Government fail to deploy adequate security to the communities in the face of obvious threats? Why has the Buhari Presidency refused to take any firm step to investigate the illegal importation of military equipment into Kogi state, even when such gives a clue as to how marauders gain access to weapons?
“Furthermore, why did the APC, as a ruling party, fail to condemn the illegal importation of security gadgets or even caution its government in Kogi state, if it is not also involved in the illicit act that is now being linked to this massacre?
“Now that the deed has been done, all we get are apathetic statements and crocodile tears from the Federal Government and the Kogi State government while those behind the act are still walking free and probably targeting their next victims.”
The statement noted that the PDP resolutely condemned the obvious betrayal of the people by the APC-controlled government, saying: “We insist that life is sacred and must not be used as a pawn by any person to achieve any aim under any guise whatsoever.”
While the party commiserated with the victims of the attack, it insisted that the Presidency and the Kogi state Government must be put to task on these killings. The truth must be exposed.
Meanwhile, PDP National Youth Vanguard, has demanded investigation into what it sees as interferences in the trail of former spokesman of the party, Chief Olisah Metuh.
In a statement by Amb. Ibrahim Bala Aboki, its National Coordinator, in Abuja on Saturday, the group said it had continued to monitor the “wicked plots by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency in their desperation to elevate the media trial in camouflaging their obvious interest” in the on-going trial of Metuh.
The group cited a recent statement by the APC UK Chapter, wherein it alleged that Chief Metuh was playing ‘Nollywood drama’ in court by claiming to be seriously ill.
The group said it was shocked that the same persons, who are well aware that Metuh had pleaded to the court that EFCC be allowed to independently examine his state of health and report to the court, could make such mischievous claim.
The statement added: “The only deduction here is the apparent quickness of the APC to push their desire to discredit and mock a man who is only obeying the orders and rulings of a court.
“The question here for members of APC UK is whether the treatment of Chief Olisa Metuh, in his trial, can be obtainable in their country of residence.
“For instance does it take two months in the UK for a court to give a ruling on an application by accused persons to be allowed to go for medical treatment, especially when accompanied by affidavit of urgency?
“Is it obtainable in the UK that a court can give an order compelling a sick person in an intensive care unit of a recognized hospital to be brought to court in any condition whatsoever?
“It is also obtainable in the UK that a court can give an order barring any medical doctor or hospital in the country from issuing a medical repot to a defendant in admission in their facility?
“Is it proper that an accused, who has spinal chord injuries, should be refused an application to get quick medical relief after spending several hours in court under excruciating pain?
“Furthermore, we want to ask the APC UK, whether in the country of their residence, an accused person, who has been ordered not to tender any medical report from any doctor or hospital in the country, can still be challenged for not bringing evidence of his ill health to the court?”
It called on the leadership of the judiciary to conduct a full investigation into the perceived interferences and alleged interests of the Presidency and the APC.
As Rep member urges Buhari to pay attention to insecurity in Kogi
THE Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and other institutions, Honourable Tajudeen Yusuf, at the weekend, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigeria Police Force and all the security agencies in the country to give Kogi State the attention and support that it deserved towards tackling crime and ensuring security.
The lawmaker, who represents Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency in the House, said: “I express our deep collective sadness and shock as we commiserate with our brothers and sisters in Dekina and Omala local government areas over the callous attacks in which more than 25 persons lost their lives last Wednesday.”
“It is utterly regrettable and very worrisome that human beings can be wantonly shot and slaughtered in their dwellings, with homes and farms being razed to the ground across Oganenigu, Iyale, Aloko, Abejukolo and other rural communities by suspected herdsmen.
“We must all insist that those who killed and maimed our people in Kogi East must be fished out to face the law; the entire people of Kogi State must shun political, religious or ethnic differences and unite decisively against those things that threaten peaceful progress and development.”
“I also call on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigeria Police Force and all the security agencies in Nigeria to give Kogi State the attention and support that it deserves towards tackling crime and ensuring security.”
“Whatever the Federal Government does to facilitate peace and a secured environment in Kogi state would positively impact on millions of other Nigerians who daily have cause to pass through Kogi state – a state that directly serves as transit area for people passing through to Abuja and about twelve states.
“As we pray for God to give our people in the affected areas the strength to carry on in this troubling times , we must all do everything possible to prevent a repeat of such mind-numbing terror that has now put us in sorrow and tears; the Federal and Kogi state governments must ensure that it is never repeated”, the statement concluded.