Women of Isu in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State yesterday marched on Abakaliki to protest the activities of Fulani herdsmen in the area.
The protesters, who carried placards with different inscriptions such as “Fulani have destroyed all our crops and polluted our rivers and ponds,” “Fulani have humiliated us,” among others, alleged that one of the herdsman raped a 70-year-old widow to coma. According to the leader of the protesters, Florence Okoro, the herdsman sneaked into the widow’s house while she was preparing her evening meal and raped her.
Okoro, who said the victim’s hands and legs were broken in the process, appealed to the state government and security agencies to come to their aid. Addressing the women at the Fatilami Abubakar Park, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Augustine Nwankwegu, condemned the assault on the widow and the destruction of Isu people’s farmlands by the herdsmen.
Nwankwegu assured them that government would take decisive action against the perpetrators of the crimes. He told them that Governor David Umahi had directed that the culprits be fished out and allowed to face the full weight of the law.
The commissioner explained that Umahi had always emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence and wondered why such wickedness should be meted out to the people. He said: “The governor has heard this and asked me to look for a way to catch the man (rapist) so that he would be punished accordingly. “We have gone to the police and they told us they were on the way to bring him to Abakaliki.
I’m promising you that by Monday he would be arraigned. You will come and see him because what he has done is wrong. The governor supports ‘live and let’s live.’” On his part, the Chief of Staff, Government House, Mr. Emmanuel Okorie, frowned at the activities of the herdsmen in the area. Okorie promised that the right thing would be done to serve as deterrent to others.
He said: “It is annoying the Fulani herdsmen, instead of taking care of their cattle, are touching you. What is expected to be done for you to be happy our governor will do it.”