VICE President Yemi Osinbajo has described the killing of no fewer than 22 innocent rural dwellers by Fulani herdsmen in four communities of Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State as sad and unacceptable.
He stressed that the dastardly act cannot be defended adding that the Federal Government will ensure justice for the victims.
Osinbajo stated this while speaking to Ebonyi stakeholders at the Christian Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki. Aside justice for the victims of the attack, he said the Federal Government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Services and Disaster Management will provide relief materials to them to cushion the negative impact of the incident.
The VP, as part of his one day working visit, visited the troubled communities of Effiu/ Ezza-Effium Communities of Ohaukwu Local Government Area and Egedege Community where innocent Ebonyi rural dwellers were killed in Ishielu LGA of the State.
He said: “We condole with the people of Ebonyi over the killing in Egedege. We are very concerned where innocent people were slaughtered. This killing must be condemned in the strongest terms. Nobody can defend these killings. It is sad, unacceptable; the killings are unacceptable. We must ensure that they are prosecuted.
“It is our responsibility as governments at all levels; the local community leaders of Egedege Community were able to get facts which will be used to get those who committed this crime. We will maintain peace in all the communities; aside from seeking justice, we will beef up security in the community. We need to ensure that relief of some sort will be mobilized to provide for those displaced. That’s in the short term. We will make sure that there’s compensation for those affected.
“If we don’t want people to resort to self help, we must ensure that our responsibility as government in the protection of lives and properties is carried out. Let’s be patient as much as possible. Across the country, there are lots of flash points.
“I agree with you that there is a great deal of pain and such cannot be assuaged by revenge or retaliation. The poor suffer more than anyone else. Let’s maintain peace. I will assure the commitment of government that such thing will not happen again.
“The duty of leaders is an onerous task. We will ensure that every Community is treated fairly and justly. We are committed to ensuring justice, equity and fairness. No profit in war and trouble.”
In his remarks, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, who described the killing of the innocent Ebonyi citizens in Ishielu LGA as unprovoked demanded proper investigation into the unfortunate incident.
“The killing was unprovoked. We have been called different kinds of names. We demand for proper investigation. The Federal Government should do something about this. This senseless killing should stop. We demand that justice be done.
“No one has a monopoly of violence. They have stayed with us for over 50 years. It’s unfortunate that our goodness was not rewarded. We demanded more security presence. NEMA should bring relief material to the people. N2b should be given by the Federal Government to enable them rebuild their homes.
“Since the Effium/Ezza-Effium crisis, we have not slept. We need more army and Police personnel. All the houses are burnt down. The Federal Government should release N3b to rebuild their houses. The Federal Government said they will not bring aid until the communities are in peace.”
Speaking on behalf of the Local Government Areas of the State, the Chairman of Afikpo South Local Government Area, Barr. Eni Uduma Chima who lamented that herders have been dealing with the people of the State for sometime now appealed to the Federal Government to stem the tide of criminality in Ebonyi State and across the country.
“Herders have been dealing with our people; they have been polluting our water. They have been operating in lawlessness. The Government has included them in appointment of Technical Assistants, TAs and Special Assistant, SAs which has led to their integration.
“They were engaged in the stealing from the ranches of the Ebonyi Deputy Speaker; they are engaged in kidnapping; we are not happy about these developments. They were engaged in the massacre of 22 persons in Ishielu LGA which is the most recent. All the herders in Ishielu left over night before the attack. There’s no justification for the killing.
“We call on the Federal Government to stem the tide of insecurity across the security; the morale of the people at the grassroots is low.