*We did not kill anybody, detainees insist
Awka – THE Deputy President General of Ifite Ogwari
Community in Ayamelum local government area of Anambra
State, Chief Nwaora Ikeoala and the town’s chief security
officer, Chief Michael Akamala have been detained at the
Anambra State Police headquarters in Awka over the
alleged killing of three herdsmen and some cows after the
destruction of cultivated large farmlands in the area by
Fulani herdsmen.
But the two community leaders, who spoke from their
detention at the Special Investigation Bureau, SIB, Awka, on
Sunday insisted that they never killed anybody, even as they
admitted meeting after an attack on their farms to access
the level of damage to crops by the herdsmen in line with
the directive of the state government’s special security task
force on farmers- herdsmen relationship in the state.
The state Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Baba
Maiyaki, who also spoke with reporters, said three
herdsmen lost their lives, but only one body was recovered,
adding that it was the reason the community leaders were
being detained, while investigation into the matter was
Vanguard gathered that the community leaders were
arrested shortly after they held a meeting with Governor
Willie Obiano, who was said to be worried about the
increasing level of insecurity in the area.
Narrating their ordeal, the Deputy PG for Ifite Ogwari said:
“We were in a meeting to access the damage done on our
farms by the herdsmen when the Divisional Police Officer
for our area called me and demanded to see us. When we
went, he took us to many places and ended up at a
mortuary at Adani but we did not see any dead body. Since
then, we have been in detention without knowing what our
offence was.”
He said his community was living peacefully with the
herdsmen until the recent incident following the alleged
invasion of the area by another set of herdsmen.
A nongovernmental organization, the Igbo Mandate
Congress, which had intervened in the matter, claimed that
it was the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders
Association of Nigeria MACBAN, in the South East that
alleged that youths of Ifite-Ogwari killed some herders and
108 cows between December 20, 2019 and January 27,
Director General of Igbo Mandate Congress, Reverend
Obinna Akukwe said the organization has been following up
the issue since Miyetti Allah leaders raised the alarm last
week, adding that a preliminary report had already been sent
to Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Christian Association of Nigeria,
CAN, and members of the diplomatic community on the
situation at Ifite-Ogwari, which, according to him, was
capable of turning Anambra State into a theatre of war.
He said: “The community leaders of Ifite-Ogwari are being
detained at the insistence of leaders of Miyetti Allah in the
South East. The police justified their incarceration on the
mantra that they are still investigating and looking for the
killers of the herdsmen and the 108 cows.
Community, Kill Eight, Injure Several Others
“The legal adviser to the community, Mr. Michael
Chukwuemeka, has been denied proper access to the
detained elders and the Deputy President General is in bad
state of health.
“Top officials of Anambra State government told IMC that
Governor Obiano recently asked the Commissioner of Police
to release the elders, but the Police declined, insisting that
only order from Abuja can guarantee their release.
“The elders and youths of Ifite-Ogwari had made repeated
efforts to get the attention of the state government to the
tension, and they were repeatedly told to forgive their
enemies for the sake of national unity. They claimed that at
no point between December and January did the youth
mobilize against the Fulani.”
“If anybody ever died, as claimed by Miyetti Allah, it could
be as a result of a private clash between an infuriated
farmer and herdsman, and the community was not involved
in it.
“Igbo Mandate Congress advises Governor Obiano to stop
taxing the Ifite Ogwari community, and pay from state
coffers the N38 million the Miyetti Allah demanded for the
allegedly killed 108 cows. The governor should also pay
N18 million for the destroyed farmlands and N18 million for
rehabilitation of families whose daughters and mothers
have been senselessly raped since the state failed to
protect the community after repeated alarms.”
It also urged the police to order the release of the
community leaders and pay them compensation for what
the groups described as illegal detention, even as it advised
the youths of Ifite Ogwari to suspend any planned reaction
and allow a solution to be worked out by concerned Igbo

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