Enugu killings: Senate seeks police, military presence in Uzo-Uwani

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The Senate on Wednesday, May 15, urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, to urgently ensure the presence of their personnel in the Uzo-Uwani area of Enugu state.

The Senate said the deployment of security operatives in the area would help put a permanent stop to incessant killings and ensure adequate security.

The resolutions of the Red Chamber followed its consideration and adoption of a motion on the need for the IGP and COAS to urgently curb the senseless killings and maiming of innocent indigenes of Nimbo, Adani in Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu state by bandits.

The motion was sponsored by Senator Okechukwu Ezea (LP – Enugu North) and co-sponsored by Senator Kelvin Chukwu (LP -Enugu East) and Senator Osita Ngwu (PDP- Enugu West).

Okechukwu in his lead debate, said that on April 7, five innocent farmers in Adani, a popular rice production community in Uzo-Uwani were callously murdered by some bandits who invaded the community in the wee hours of the morning to commit the dastardly act.

He said on April 28, at about 2 pm another attack was carried out in the same area where four innocent people in the farming village of Nimbo were gruesomely mowed down by bandits in an unprovoked attack that is reminiscent of the April 2016 Nimbo killings.

He recalled that in February 2016, the Abbi community was the first to be hit by the same assailants where two people were gruesomely killed while 19 others were declared missing.

He said there was a major massacre in the Nimbo community in the early hours of April 25, 2016, which left over 46 people dead and 14 persons injured, with their houses and other property completely razed.

He expressed worry that the killings did not seem to be isolated as their persistence indicated a pattern, saying that even with the 2016 killings, the authorities both at the state and Federal levels had not taken robust steps to stop it.

He expressed worry that if nothing very urgent and sustainable was done to put an end to the recurrent menace, people might begin to resort to self-help to ward off the criminal elements.

This, he said might eventually lead to a complete breakdown of law and order, especially given the already challenging security situation in the region.

He said that with the strategic location of Uzo-Uwani as a net producer of food in the country, the killings might have a significant impact on the nation’s food security as more and more farmers were now becoming afraid to go to farms for fear of being killed.

He said residents were abandoning their communities and relocating to urban areas, thereby, exacerbating the rural-urban migration crises in the country.

Senator Kelvin Chukwu (LP -Enugu), who seconded the motion, said the killing of members of the community was unacceptable, saying that there was a need to put an end to the killings.

He said considering the strategic nature of the affected communities in rice production, there was a need to protect the residents from attack.

Senator Osita Ngwu (PDP- Enugu) said although he is a co-sponsor of the motion but was disassociating himself from the fifth paragraph of the motion, which stated that the state and Federal governments had not taken robust steps to stop the killings.

Ngwu said it was a misrepresentation of facts that the state and Federal governments and security agencies were not working hard to put an end to the attacks and killings and protect members of the communities.

According to Ngwu, the Enugu state governor, Dr Peter Mbah and the security agencies had visited the affected communities with relief materials, saying that the state and federal governments and the security agencies were doing everything possible to protect the people and end the attacks.

He appreciated the security personnel and the government for their efforts in tackling the insecurity issues in the area.

Senate also in its resolution, urged the IGP, COAS  and Director General of the Department of State Services to investigate, arrest and prosecute the criminal gangs to serve as a deterrent.

It also directed its committees on Legislative Compliance, Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence to ensure compliance and proffer lasting solutions.

It further urged the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to the victims to cushion the effects of the unwarranted attacks

It commended the government and security agencies for their efforts in fighting insecurity in the area.

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