Tunde Opalana, Abuja
The Senate on Wednesday intervened in the repeated cases of killings and kidnapping of citizens in Ebonyi State by demanding from the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, a comprehensive investigation into the dastardly incidents allegedly being perpetrated by suspected herdsmen.
The upper chamber made the call amid resolutions reached, sequel to the consideration of a motion brought to the floor by Senator Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi North) during plenary.
Coming under order 42 and 52 of the Senate Rules, Egwu, in the motion titled: “urgent need for the federal government’s intervention to end the serial killing of innocent and defenseless citizens in Ebonyi state by alleged herdsmen”, bemoaned the general state of insecurity in the country.
He expressed concern that, “the killing, maiming, kidnapping and wanton destruction of lives and property by herdsmen have now become the daily experience of citizens of innocent and defenseless people of Ebonyi state who are murder in their numbers almost on weekly basis.”
“Aware that on 30th day of March, 2021, over 18 indigenes of Egedege, Obehi and Amuzu communities in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, including a priest, were gruesomely murdered in cold blood by rampaging herdsmen.
“Alarmed that on Monday the 12th day of April, 2021, alleged herdsmen/Agila people again invaded Otuebu, Igidi Obu and Ndiagu Ibe-Agba villages in Umuogudu Akpu community, Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and gruesomely killed over 12 innocent indigenes, burnt/destroyed over 56 houses and kidnapped five persons.
“Concerned that if the federal government does not intervene urgently, these wicked and senseless killings, kidnapping and destruction of property may continue, thereby subjecting Ebonyians and other citizens in Ebonyi state to severe hardship and terrific fear”, Senator Egwu said.
In his contribution, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North) advocated for inter-agency interventions that would put a halt to herder killings across the country.
He said: “The most important part of our time spent here has always been about reportage of killings of our people in the hands of herdsmen.
“Mr. President, this is becoming very worrisome, that in a country which is under the rule of law, issues of these nature keep repeating themselves on a daily basis.
“Mr. President, I’m begging that, in order to solve this herder issue, we should make out time to have inter-agency meetings to sit down and see how we can return to these rules of engagement that can allow us do business without let or hindrance. With that, I say Mr. President, that something urgent has to be done.”
On his part, Senator Michael Nnachi (PDP, Ebonyi South) lamented the number of lives lost to communal clashes between communities and herdsmen killings.
According to him, the ceaseless killings had made citizens in Ebonyi state to live in fear of being attacked by herdsmen.
“As I’m talking to you, I got a call that nobody slept at Abakaliki in fear of the herdsmen attacking them last night, because they got signal that they were around. All of them ran into their houses.
“Mr. President, not to say much, the motion as heavily moved by Senator Egwu is heart-beating. I support this motion whole heartedly that something must be done to safeguard the lives of the people.
“Just less than three weeks over thirty-three people were killed by herdsmen; over seven hundred people killed by communal clashes between Benue, Effium and Ezza – which is part of Benue and Ebonyi.”
The Senate, accordingly, while observing a minute silence in honour of those killed by alleged herdsmen, condemned in the strongest terms the various attacks on communities in Ebonyi State which led to the destruction of lives and property.
The upper chamber, while urging the federal government and Ebonyi state government to put appropriate measures in place to forestall further attacks, requested the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately intervene through the provision of relief materials to the families of the victims and displaced persons in affected communities.
It also directed the Nigerian Police and other relevant security agencies to carry out comprehensive investigation of these dastardly attacks and to promptly arrest and prosecute the perpetrators, as well as rescue kidnap victims that are still held captive.