Nimbo: Matters arising from the herdsmen’s attack
The recent fatal herdsmen’s attacks on the Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Council Area of Enugu State has once more brought to the fore the urgent need for a permanent solution to the recurring menace of herdsmen/host communities clashes across the country. Obviously, the clashes have assumed a more sinister dimension in recent times. Not helping matters in forestalling, precluding or quelling these clashes are the various security agencies that have always appeared unprepared, incapacitated or compromised in dealing with the situation as appropriate.
Unlike some attacks across the country where security agencies were taken unawares, that of Nimbo calls for introspection, investigation, punitive measures, and outright overhauling of the security agencies in the State for better performance. There is no doubt that the attack has raised more questions than answers, following the events that preceded the attack, explanations of the Enugu State governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the roles of the security chiefs in the saga.
While governor Ugwuanyi’s efforts and quick intervention as the Chief Security Officer of the State to prevent the attack is quite commendable, the role of the security chiefs in the saga is questionable, conspiratorial, shocking, and disturbing. Is it not obvious that if governor Ugwuanyi had not summoned the emergency security meeting and indigenes of Nimbo got hint of the impending attack and moved out, the killings would have been more disastrous? Quite surprising is the fact that none of the state security chiefs has refuted or countered governor Ugwuanyi’s explanations since then. There is every need for them to quickly explain to Nigerians why they decided to act otherwise after the meeting with the governor prior to the attack. This is despite the fact that the governor provided them with the intelligence report and other logistics required of them to carry out their duties. The State security chiefs’ studied silence signifies their admittance of failure to carry out their constitutional responsibilities of securing lives and property.
Professionally and constitutionally such suspected dereliction of duty and the conspiracy of silence, as perpetrated by the State security chiefs in the attack, attract severe punishment. Nigerians, especially the people of Nimbo are eagerly waiting to see the appropriate security authorities meting out appropriate punishments to the security chiefs in the State for neglecting their duties when it mattered most. Anything contrary to this will confirm the insinuations and fears in some quarters that the country’s security hierarchy is covertly backing the activities of the herdsmen in the country.
The recent redeployment of the Enugu State Police Commissioner, Nwodibo Ekechukwu is not enough punishment to deter other security chiefs from neglecting their duties. This is because security compromise is the greatest threat any country can face especially when security personnel are involved. Nigerians witnessed it at the peak of Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast zone and the country paid dearly for it.
Apart from Ekechukwu, police authorities should keep the public informed of their findings and the whereabouts of one Police Corporal, Chukwu that allegedly led the attackers into the Nimbo community. Ekechukwu should explain to Nigerians how and where he got the information that the attackers were hoodlums not herdsmen as he stated after the attack. He should also tell the world the security personnel that were on ground in Nimbo when the attack took place. This will go a long way in assisting the police authority and the Panel of Inquiry set up by the Enugu State government to unravel what happened, how and why it happened. Redeploying Ekechukwu and retaining other security chiefs that were allegedly culpable in the whole saga is a dangerous development capable of threatening the security of the State. This is because there is already a breach of trust between the security chiefs and residents of the State because of the failed role of the former in the Nimbo attack. In order to restore the confidence and trust of the people in the security agencies, there is urgent need for the removal of all the State security chiefs that failed to perform their duties in the Nimbo attack.
Ezea is on the staff of The Guardian in Lagos.