Eha-Amufu: Day Enugu community erupted in turmoil

Ugwuanyi

In what many thought was the handiwork of Fulani herdsmen, CHUKS NWEZE reports that the recent communal clash in a community of Enugu state was largely caused by some persons from within.


While Nigerians were busy enjoying the Christmas and the New Year festivities, the people of Mbuji, Eha Amufu community of Enugu state were enmeshed in mourning and lamentation.

This is because men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen invaded a farm settlement in the community and killed five people with several others seriously injured in the wee hours of that morning.

As a result of this ugly development, the settlers started relocating to nearby towns and villages in droves because their farm settlements and communities were no longer habitable. 

The worst of it all was that some houses were set ablaze, thereby rendering them homeless. The belief is that even when they return, from fleeing their settlements their fear is that they would have nowhere to dwell in.

As if that was not enough, few days before the invasion of the farm settlements in Mbuji, Eha Amufu, three members of the vigilante called Neighbourhood Watch, were killed. The trio were pursuing kidnappers who were probably Fulani herdsmen that had kidnapped a woman and an 11-year daughter of Dr Eugene Edeoga, younger brother to Hon Chijoke Edeoga, the commissioner for environment.

With this scenario, Mbuji and the entire Eha Amufu communities were thrown into confusion and pandemonium because they could never tell what could befall them next. 

QThe incidents have forced the returnees to swell the population of the villages and towns in Eha Amufu and beyond. This indeed became a source of worry to the entire state because Eha Amufu is a border town to Benue and Ebonyi states where invaders could easily come from.

Blueprint gathered that the only solution for those communities is to set up serious security posts to be manned by various security forces including the Forests Guards and the Neighbourhood Watch security outfits.Previous attacks.

It could be recalled that this is not the first time an Enugu community would be visited with such carnage and mayhem. In April, 2016, barely a year Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi took over power from former Governor Sullivan Chime, the state was thrown into uproar as Ukpabi-Nimbo in Uzo Uwani local government area of the state was invaded by Fulani herdsmen who slaughtered many in their sleep.  

This caused the governor to raise a dirge, calling security meeting but to no avail because from time to time, ever since that ungodly incident, armed Fulani herdsmen have been attacking villages and communities in the state but not to the magnitude of the Ukpabi-Nimbo saga.

Not too longer ago, a widow who went to harvest her cassava at Nchatncha, Nike, Enugu was killed in broad daylight by armed herdsmen who accosted her in her farm. Report says she was killed after sexually molesting her.

Immediately the news of the incident filtered into town, heads of security agencies paid visits to the community to ascertain the enormity of the crime and find a possible way to prevent a possible future occurrence.  The police authorities especially promised to fish out the perpetrators of such crimes that have made living in Eha Amufu a nightmare.


Ugwuanyi’s intervention
Stung by this receny ugly development, Gov Ugwuanyi who had witnessed the horrendous invasion of Ukpabi-Nimbo, quickly summoned a meeting of all stakeholders to check the ugly development in Eha Amufu.

Those who were summoned by the governor through the special adviser on information Steve Oruruo to the security meeting that took place at the Government House on Saturday, January 8, 2022 include the chairman of Isi-Uzo local government area, Jacob Abonyi; Commissioner of Police; GOC, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army; Department of State Service, (DSS); heads of vigilante groups; Neighbourhood Watches; Forest Guards; community heads and traditional rulers. By convening the meeting, Gov Ugwuanyi wanted to know how the problem in Eha Amufu could be checked. He wanted to avoid a repeat of the Ukpabi-Nimbo episode that would hardly be deleted from the people’s pysche because of its horrendous nature.

Gov Ugwuanyi had convened the meeting to decisively resolve the recent security challenges that erupted in Mgbuji Village in Eha-Amufu, Isi-Uzo LGA of the state.

The Commissioner of Police, Enugu State, Abubakar Lawal, had  visited the area alongside the Commander of 82 Division Garrison Command of the Nigerian Army, Brig Gen Chris Ataki and the State Director of Department of State Services (DSS), Mr Habu Daluwa.

The on-the-spot assessment tour of Mgbuji village, enabled the Commissioner of Police and the Security Chiefs to jointly assess, strategise and put in place immediate measures to avert further occurrence of the incidence and other heinous criminal acts, allegedly perpetrated by miscreants suspected to have intruded into the area from border communities in Benue.

Outcome of intervention succesful
Although the outcome of that emergency security meeting was not made public, but addressing newsmen after the closed-door meeting at the Government House, Enugu, the Anglican Bishop of Eha Amufu, Bishop Olinya said  that the meeting was a successful one.

He added that, “We discussed and the decisions reached today, we are very sure are going to solve the problem.” But all these were after lives were lost.

The Anglican Bishop commended Gov Ugwuanyi for his intervention stressing that, “Our governor has done what he is supposed to do. Those of us from Eha-Amufu are going to do our own as we go back and we are sure that from this time onward, by the grace of God, Eha-Amufu problem would be solved.

“God is going to help us and everything would be well. We are very grateful for what the governor has done and worthy contributions from all our people.”

Stakeholders speak
Also speaking, a community leader in Mgbuji and former president general of the Mgbuji Autonomous community and the immediate past president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Enugu state chapter, Chief Eric Ebeh, thanked Gov Ugwuanyi for all he has been doing for the people of the area in particular and Isi-Uzo LGA in general, pointing out that the governor’s current intervention has again showcased his strength and capability.

“This is because after this security meeting, I am sure that all the problems of Eha-Amufu and Mgbuji Autonomous Community would come to an end. And I pray that God would continue to give him (Ugwuanyi) the strength, understanding and ability to continue to govern Enugu state because I still believe as you said that Enugu state is in the Hands of God.”

On his part, the president general of Mgbuji Autonomous Community, Barr Chukwuma Edeh, equally appreciated Gov Ugwuanyi for his kind intervention.

Barr Edeh, who expressed gratitude to God for the meeting convened by the government to resolve the challenges in the community. He said, “Going forward, we know that the challenges have been stemmed.”
He stated in his presentation that it was established that the problem in Eha-Amufu was influenced internally and externally and also among the people of the community.


The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, an indigene of Isi-Uzo LGA, Hon Augustine Nnamani, secretary to the state government, Prof Simon Ortunaya, the commissioner for environment who hails from Eha-Amufu, Hon Chijioke Edeoga and the special adviser to the governor on information, Steve Oruruo were present at the meeting.
So far, as the emergency security meeting has ended, the people would be waiting eagerly to know when and how peace would return to their community and for the farmers to return to their settlements.  This is because investigation has shown that Eha Amufu community problem is not caused by herdsmen alone, but hoodlums in the area are equally behind the mayhem, kidnapping and maiming taking place there.