The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has condemned in strong terms, the killing of unarmed Nigerians in Uzo-Uwani Council of Enugu State, by persons suspected to be armed herdsmen.
This is even as he called for an immediate resolution of the unending conflict between farmers and cattle herdsmen, threatening to throw the entire nation into another round of crisis.
Senator Ekweremadu made the call on Tuesday at plenary when he relied on Order 43 of the Senate Standing Orders to make a Personal Explanation over the mayhem in Uzo-Uwani community, where he said over 50 lives were reportedly lost, while over 2000 persons were displaced and homes and property worth millions of Naira were destroyed.
He called on the Senate to immediately conduct a public hearing to enable all stakeholders state their feelings and experiences with a view to finding a lasting solution to the issue.
He said: “Mr. President, remember I called your attention to a resolution of this Senate on Thursday 03 March, 2016. Recall that on that day, one of the issues we discussed was a motion titled ‘tackling the perennial conflicts between farmers and cattle herdsmen’. At the end of that debate, we took a number of resolutions. I recall that in my contribution I suggested that the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development as well as the Committee on National Security and Intelligence do conduct a public hearing on this matter with a view to articulating a lasting solution to the problem. Up till now, that public hearing has not started.
“It is important for Nigerians to know that we are doing something about this perennial problem. It is not enough for us to be doing something; we must be seen to be doing something. I believe that it is time for the Committees to come together and commence action on these resolutions namely, to start a public hearing on this problem between the farmers and cattle herdsmen.
“I say this because it is getting too late. Just yesterday, we heard that over 50 persons were killed in Uzo-Uwani Local Government in Enugu State. We heard about 2000 people were displaced and over a hundred people were injured. Houses were burnt, including churches. As I speak, some people who live in Enugu, especially the Hausa and Fulani are taking refuge in the Army barracks and it is not good for our country. These are people who didn’t know about those who went and attacked the ordinary people of Uzo-Uwani and today they are now refugees. It also implies that if any person dies in the process, there could also be reprisals in other parts of Nigeria and this can engulf the whole country.”
Also speaking with newsmen, Senator Ekweremadu tasked security agencies in the country, especially those within Enugu State, to without further delay, fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act, with a view to making them face the full wrath of the law.
While condoling with the families of the victims; the Deputy President of the Senate urged them not to lose their patience.
He stressed: “I want to call on the relevant authorities, particular security agencies, to rise to the occasion. The primary duty of any government is the welfare and security of the citizens. The life of every Nigerian counts and no Nigerian should live at the mercy of the other, even in his or her home”.
The Deputy President of the Senate also called on the Federal Government to immediately deploy all the necessary intelligence-gathering mechanisms to ascertain whether the nation was truly dealing with herdsmen or terrorists and criminals marauding as cattle rearers.