Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA), has condemned the growing trend of attacks by armed terrorists and herdsmen in Imo State in Nigeria, and urged the Governor, Hope Uzodinma to take urgent steps in tackling the menace.
HURIWA who expressed worry on the failure of the Imo State Governor Mr. Hope Uzodinma and the House of Assembly to address the issue, canvassed for the passage and enforcement of a legislation to ban outdoor and open grazing of animals all over Imo State and to equip the communities to set up active vigilantes in addition to the community policing mechanism recently unveiled in the state.
The Rights group has also charged Governor Hope Uzodinma to avoid the anti-opposition
In a statement to the media by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA), said it was unfortunate that palpable tension had enveloped Obudi Agwa community in Oguta council area of Imo State following marauding herdsmen attacking and killing an indigene of the community in his farm.
HURIWA also expressed shock to learn that for two weeks since that gruesome murder of Elder Ozoemena Iriaka who had gone to his farm in the morning hours when he saw herdsmen grazing their cattle on his farm and that he had confronted them for grazing their cattle on his farm, the Imo State House of Assembly and Governor Hope Uzodinma are still unable to put pressure on the relevant security forces in Imo State to apprehend the killer Fulani herdsmen and bring then to justice.
“The inaction of the Imo State government is the motivating factor to these armed marauders who seem to have upped the ante of their murderous attacks to other sections of the state including the sexual violations and murder of a mother of four which till date since after two weeks is yet to be resolved” HURIWA lamented.
HURIWA noted that the primary duty and responsibility of government is to secure the lives of the citizens just as the Rights group said it was regrettable that even when it was further learnt that the deceased had tried to chase away the cows from his farm, an action which had angered the herdsmen who attacked him with their machetes, inflicting deep cuts on the back of his head as he tried to escape from them, the Imo State administration seems to be working on the theory that soon the matter would be swept under the carpets.
“We reject this absolute neglect of the primary Constitutional responsibility of government by the current political establishment in Imo state and we call on the governor and the State House of Assembly to pass the Anti-open grazing law in Imo state and to stop the infiltration of the state by killer armed herdsmen.
The Rights group said it is possible that a 45-year-old woman, Mrs Susanna Iwuoha, who after raping her, was killed by the same armed herdsmen who killed the elderly farmer in Oguta because the woman, whose undergarment was carted away by her attackers, was discovered by a community search party after her children raised the alarm over her disappearance since June 3. One Bernard Ekeka, who is believed to have seen the unidentified attackers, was also killed.
According to Iwuoha’s 15-year-old daughter, Ugochi, they had earlier gone to the farm together for weeding and returned home before her mother decided to stay behind that day to harvest some crops and return later, but never did.
Hope Uzodinma as far as the law is concerned is the Chief Security Officer of Imo State by virtue of the legal fact that he is the governor of Imo State and should govern Imo State for the benefit of Imo people and the best way to go about it is to eliminate all traces of threats to the security and lives and property of the good people of Imo State for the period of time that he would preside over the affairs of Imo state.
HURIWA is once more charging the Imo State governor and the State House of Assembly to rapidly pass the anti- open grazing law if there is none to put to a permanent end the rampaging attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen, just as the Rights group said the Imo State government should seek for ways of galvanizing a regional approach towards instituting a SOUTH EASTERN ANTI-OPEN GRAZING LAW and to set up a regional security network to protect the region from all forms of violent attacks.