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Enugu: Anxiety over recession, herdsmen attacks


One thing that shaped the outgoing year is the growing poverty in the land caused by economic recession.

The other is the increasing insecurity due to the frequent attacks by herdsmen on communities.

All over Enugu State, discussions are being centered mainly on what could be done to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians and check the rising agitation by people who feel marginalised by the situation of things in the country.

There is the growing anxiety that unless government effectively intervenes, things might get out of hand and citizens might resort to self-help, especially to eke out a living.

A resident of Enugu, Ibe Nwankwo, told The Guardian that the federal government should as a matter of urgency address the growing hardship in the country, expressing fears that citizens may not be able to bear the situation next year.

He said many Nigerians refused to celebrate the Christmas with their loved ones in the villages owing to lack of resources to do so, adding that several other projects that should have been concluded within the year were abandoned.

Nwankwo said of particular worry to him was the fact that no effective measure had been put in place to cushion the effect of the hardship, noting that the scale of agitation in the country could increase if nothing was done in the first quarter of next year to address the difficulties.

“It is becoming increasing difficult for people to eat. Many establishments have reduced their staff strength and have continued to sack by the day.

“There is increase in the prices of items in the market. I am particularly worried that many homes are facing this situation, so if we continue this way, I do not think it will continue to be absorbed by those affected,” he said.

To Mrs. Ifeoma Ugwu, a housewife, the manner in which herdsmen invaded many farmlands and homes with many suffering casualties in the outgoing year, should be checked in the coming year.

Citing the various killings suffered in Enugu communities by rampaging herdsmen, she stated that majority of those involved have not fully recovered from the trauma; hence fears in the minds of many farmers, who ordinarily should be feeding from their farms.

“Hearing these disturbing stories about attacks by herdsmen and the fact that we have not seen any of them prosecuted invokes some degree of fear that government may not have cared after all.

“Taking Enugu as a case study, in April this year, Ukpabi Nimbo was overrun by herdsmen, many were killed and property destroyed. It had earlier in the year happened at Ugwuleshi in Awgu. There was another at Attakwu and many more.

“These are not stories that should be swept under the carpet and if the people must continue to work on their farms, there should be the assurance that they are protected.

“So, my appeal as we enter the New Year is for government to check activities of herdsmen to enable some of us return to our farms.”

He added: “We will be creating more crises if the level of attacks, killings and destruction we witnessed this passing year continues. If we are one country, we should live and act it and not treat certain elements with kid gloves.”

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Two landmarks characterised the outgoing year in the state. These were the conduct of the governorship election, which saw to the emergence of a new governor, and the coronation of a new Oba of Benin, which incidentally was the first time a democratically elected governor from the state would be handing the Staff of office to the Oba of Benin.

The governorship election was one election the people would not forget in a hurry, having two candidates of the same “political parents,” but contesting on different platforms- Governor Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party, who was a founding leader of the APC, but left due to personal reasons.

The coronation of new Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, came just few weeks after the governorship election, where the very rich culture, history and artifacts of Benin Kingdom have been on display till last week when the monarch danced the Ekasa dance signifying the end of coronation activities and the materials used will not be used again until another coronation ceremony.

The issue of the decimation of Boko Haram by the Nigerian military remained a constant issue in the country.

In the face of these, Nigerians still believe in a better 2017.

For Abibu Raje, a lawyer: “The issue of herdsmen is very unfortunate and I want Mr. President to show interest, because lives and properties are daily being wasted across communities.

“It is terrible that in our country, some groups of people will be killing people just in the name of rearing cattle.

“It is also bad that nothing is being done to savage the ugly dimension the situation has assumed. The ultimate thing is that God should intervene and stop the worrisome drift to anarchy.

“I appeal to our brothers in the Niger Delta to sheathe their sword, as we all know that vengeance belongs to God.”

For a retired pensioner, now a farmer, Mrs. Joy Paula, Nigerians should get closer to God.

“My expectation 2017 is to know God more by accepting him as our personal Lord and Saviour. He encompasses everything. Without Christ there cannot be peace.

“President Muhammadu Buhari should create jobs for youths, so that hooliganism can be reduced to the barest minimum. Let there be opportunity for employment for young people.

“I feel sad seeing youths roaming the streets with reckless abandon. We must try and live right. Those who did not go to school should learn a trade or take to farming, which will help them in no small measure.

“Like the adage says, ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

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