Eha-Amufu killings: Governor Ugwuanyi playing the ostrich, not doing enough

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By George Enene Agbo.

The Eha Amufu community in Isi Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State is fast becoming another Zamfara State in South Eastern Nigeria. This year alone not less that 200 persons including women and children have either been kidnapped, raped or massacred by murderous Fulani herdsmen who have kept on doing the same thing because nothing meaningful has so far been done to stop them. Aside from those killed, cases of missing persons and forced disappearances have become a daily occurrence in the community leading to the establishment of camps for internally displaced persons.

The Enugu State government appears helpless and incapable of defending the mainly farming population in the area whose lives have been turned into an unmitigated misery. The latest government’s response to the upsurge in the killings was a donation of ten million naira to the internally displaced persons. This approach is seen by many observers as a sign of surrender on the part of government as well as an absolute mockery of a grave situation which demands a drastic response.

The questions being asked in many quarters are: are the horribly traumatized people of Eha Amufu whose lives are being taken in their numbers , in need of financial assistance in IDP camps or protection of their lives and property to enable them live normal lives? If what started as mere skirmishes between the natives and the herdsmen had been given the attention and seriousness it deserved by the government of Enugu State, could we have gotten to this point? Is it not high time Governor Ugwuanyi went beyond window dressing by coming out fully to frontally confront the situation as the Chief Security officer of the state? Can’t soldiers and mobile policemen be permanently stationed in the beleaguered community until the bloody assailants are totally fished out and flushed out? By allegedly treating the herdsmen with kid gloves, is Enugu State government not playing with fire? What is the primary purpose of government if not the protection of lives and property of citizens? Why has Governor Ugwuanyi continued to fail Eha- Amufu people as though he owes them no duty of care?

It would be recalled that this is not the first time the Governor has been accused of paying lip service to the escalating Eha Amufu killings by reason of his lackluster response to what many see as a highly delicate issue capable of enveloping the entire state if nothing is urgently done to stem the tide.

Aside from the issue of lip service , some critics have also read politics as playing a major role in the entire saga, Eha Amufu being the country home of the Labour party gubernatorial candidate Hon. Chijioke Edeoga. This is so because the attacks, killings and kidnappings of Eha Amufu people went from bad to worse soon after the gubernatorial primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party in May this year and in which Chijioke Edeoga after being schemed out, picked the gubernatorial ticket of the Labour party. For those who believe this narrative, the Governor has ever since developed cold feet in dealing decisively with the Eha Amufu killings, something that has emboldened the murderers to step up their activities in the area. Even though this accusation might sound absurd, there existed antecedents giving credence to the suspicion.

Sometime in July this year, when several Eha Amufu people were once again gruesomely massacred leading to the establishment of many more IDP camps for thousands of those rendered homeless, a video clip emerged in which a large crowd of people were seen singing praises of the governor and the PDP, something that was presented to the public as a political rally in which Eha Amufu people were demonstrating their solidarity to Governor Ugwuanyi. No sooner the video emerged than the persons gathered were carefully identified as internally displaced persons in one of the camps in Eha Amufu who were asked to gather at a certain venue to receive relief materials. Unknown to them, the event was designed to be a political rally with communication gadgets stationed in various places to adequately captured the huge crowd as one participating in a PDP rally in Eha Amufu. The video was immediately put to use as a publicity stunt to show that Eha Amufu people remained in PDP despite the defection of their son to the Labour Party. In that particular scandal, the Chairman of the local government one Mr Obeagu was captured in the viral video executing the dirty job assigned to him by the government house. What a callous way to use a despondent and suffering people for political gains?

Analysts have warned that this levity and triviality on the part of government must stop if it ever hopes to bring the Eha Amufu killings to a decisive end and prevent it from degenerating into the intractable Zamfara situation. Then, even the federal government will be unable to find any answer to it.

Continuing to watch the people of Eha Amufu being mindlessly killed, kidnapped, raped and disappeared from their ancestral homes without any meaningful strategy to forestall future occurrence lays credence to the accusation that the Ugwuanyi government is already punishing the people of Eha Amufu for supporting their illustrious son Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour party. Though this is not something anyone would readily believe, the actions or inactions of the government in not nipping the killings in the bud nearly one year after it began is irresistibly leading to that conclusion.

For all intents and purposes, Governor Ugwuanyi must as a matter of utmost exigency, live up to his oath of office by rising to the occasion and bringing the killings to a stop by whichever means possible. What the people of Eha Amufu demand of the government is peace and security and not provision of financial handouts or palliatives in IDP camps. Enough is enough.