Ebonyi killings: Osinbajo visits, assures of justice after clashes, herders attacks

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, joined by Governor David Umahi, as he visited and engaged with members of the Egedege community in Ebonyi State, on Sunday, April 4, 2021. Photos: Tolani Alli

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has assured the people of Egedege and others in Ebonyi State of justice over the recent herdsmen’s attacks and communal clashes during his visit to their communities on Sunday.

Prof Osinbajo, SAN, who was on a one-day working visit to the Southeast state, was received by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, en route Ebonyi State for the official engagement.

On his arrival to the state, the Vice President, Prof Osinbajo, SAN, who was received by Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, in his meeting with the elders of the affected communities in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, condemned the the March 29 attacks, while he promised them of relief from the President Muhammadu-led Federal Government.

He said that government would seek justice on behalf of those who are dead, “not just because they are victims but because they are human beings and they deserve justice.”

“Anybody who watches another killed next to him and does not feel angry and pain, and does not feel that the person deserves justice must answer the law ultimately, so do not be under any illusion, so far as it lies within our powers, we will make sure that justices is served,” Osinbajo said.

The Vice President, who was led to the affected communities which included Egedegede, Obegu and Amuzu, by Governor Umahi, also directed the National Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to assess the level of damage done by the assailants with a view of providing succour for the affected communities.

Governor Umahi, giving the situation report to the Vice President, said, at least 15 people were killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen who attacked the communities on the night of March 29.

In his address, the Vice President said, “I am here on behalf of Mr President, not just by myself. At times, when things like this happen, when people are killed, when incidents like this happen and we feel particularly outraged, particularly angry about what has happened, the reason being that the people who have been mercilessly massacred are people like you and I, human being like you and I.

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“These are young ones, women and children, who have woken up in the morning expected to go about their daily business, expected to go out to fend for themselves and ended up dead not because they’ve done anything wrong but because of the cowardly wicked act of some other people who lived in the community they are.

Osinbajo, assuring the elders and people of the communities on government’s plans to ensure that the dastard acts do not repeat itself, said it was very important to beef up security in the state, especially the affected communities.

During his meeting with the stakeholders and people of the affected communities, while he sympathised with them for their loss, Vice President Osinbajo, SAN, assured them that more security agents will be drafted to secure lives and properties in the area while he cautioned the people not to seek revenge, saying, “Nobody knows where it will end. You have done the right thing by peacefully presenting the case to the authority; it is up to the government to seek justice.”

The Vice President said he was already in talks with the GOC (General Officer Commanding) of the Army in the state about ensuring that more security was provided, while he informed the people that the GOC had already made some provisions, “but obviously there is need for even greater security,” Osinbajo said.

He also charged the people of the local communities to be ready to support the security operative with information on the activities of suspected people around them.

He said: “The local communities themselves must be ready to give more information and prompt information to all of the law enforcement agencies so that prompt actions can be taken in the event that anybody wants to do any further harm.

“Let me assure that we will seek justice on behalf of those who are dead, not just because they are victims but because they are human beings and they deserve justice.”

Though, the Vice President said, “The community leaders have given me a list of phone numbers and some photographs, I think they are about four or five photographs of some people, I do not know, I can not say weather these people are responsible.”

Hence, he promised that, that the incidents will be “investigated thoroughly,” adding that, the offense could not have been committed by three or four people, there must have been many others. I will make sure investigations are done thoroughly.”

He also informed that, “At the level of the National Economic Council (NEC), which is the meeting between the Federal Government representative (that I have the privilege of chairing) and all the Governors of the states are members, we’ve agreed on certain things where things like this had happened.”

The Vice President said, at the NEC level, “We will jointly pursue justice; We will also make provisions as mush as possible between the FG and State Governments for those who have lost their lives and valuables on whatever can be done to help those communities.”

Prof Osinbajo, SAN, also visited the Effium community where there has been communal clashes, calling on the leaders to ensure that peace reigns, as he described the communal clashes within the community as needless.