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Vanguard Newspaper 03 February 2018

16—SATURDAY Vanguard,

16—SATURDAY Vanguard, MARCH 3, 2018 BY PETER DURU, MAKURDI Just when it seemed respite was coming the way of Benue farming communities from the incursions of marauding herdsmen after the flag off of Exercise Ayem A’ Kpatuma, or Cat Race, a military spike operation to end herdsmen killings in the state, armed herdsmen early in the week stormed Mbatoho, an Island community at Mbalagh council ward of Makurdi local government, sacking over 5,000 inhabitants of the vast Island The invaders who were reported to have quietly ordered the locals to vacate their ancestral homes without putting up any resistance warned that their intent was not to shed blood. Scared stiff of the threat, the locals immediately fled their homes to the mainland after which the well armed herdsmen razed several homes on the island and occupied the territory which is less than five kilometer on sea from the Wadata area of Makurdi town. Majority of the victims caught refuge in homes of relatives and friends on the other side of River Benue while a handfull of others staged a peaceful protest to Benue Government House, seeking the intervention of the state government to save them from being homeless. Saturday Vanguard gathered from some of the displaced persons that the armed herdsmen started the action of attacking and taking over the island We are here to take over your land not to kill you •Herdsmen order Benue community before sacking them some days ago. According to the Community Leader of the Island and tax collector of the inner segment of the Island, Chief Peter Tachie, “the armed herdsmen who are usually dressed in black started their action four days ago in our community. “They came in their numbers with their cattle into island from Guma local government area and other places on foot some weeks ago because the water level of River Benue has dropped significantly so they could easily assess the island on foot. “Four days ago they started destroying our houses, farmland and food barns and also taking over the LGEA Primary school in the island and converting same for personal use. “As we speak no Tiv person is on that island at the moment, they have taken our farms and also uprooted our cassava from our plantation to feed their cattle which are also grazing freely on our farmland. “They have destroyed all that we spent years to acquire, so we have all moved into Makurdi main town with our families to seek government’s attention. “You know that we do a lot of dry season farming on the Island and as we speak all that we planted in this dry season have all been destroyed by the herdsmen and their cattle.” On his part, the tax collector of the outer segment of the island, Chief Stephen Guntu, said the invaders had warned that it was in the best interest of the locals to vacate the island in order to avert a major crisis. “They warned that we should leave the island quietly in our own interest. And since we know that they could be ruthless we all fled with our families. “Some of us are currently taking refuge in the houses of friends and relatives while John Kyuka who is a politician that comes regularly to campaign in the island also offered to accommodate very few of us. “We need urgent intervention of the government because they have taken over our farmlands and all the food we harvested during the last farming season. “Moreover, we do a lot of dry season farming and as I speak all the crops we planted this season are now food for the cattle.” Head Teacher of the only Primary School on the Island, the LGEA Primary School, Daudu, Mr. Ephram Otave told Saturday Vanguard that close to 400 pupil of the school had been chased out of school by the invaders. “All my pupils who are close to 400 have been chased out of school and displaced due to the activities of the herdsmen who have occupied the entire island and chased out our people.” Confirming the development, the Benue state Information Commission, Lawrence Onoja Jnr. said the invaders had completely taken over the Island adding that the government had also directed security personnel to push them out of the community before the crisis would escalate. According to the Commissioner “our findings when the Security Adviser to the Governor, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba(Rtd.) led a team to Island indicated that for sometime in the last few days there has been serious influx of herdsmen into Benue especially along Agatu, Guma, Logo, Katsina/Ala local government areas and communities bordering Nasarawa state especially. “It was in the course of this influx that groups of herdsmen some days ago went to Mbatoho Island, at Mbalagh council ward of Makurdi local government area and sacked the locals from their homes. “The people fled from Island and the herdsmen took over the community. When the team got there it was discovered that the herdsmen were feeding their cattle on the farm produce of the people and all they had in their barns. “Governor Samuel Ortom has been in constant touch with security personnel who have mobilized to the Island and have been directed to to push back the herdsmen. “Unfortunately the Exercise Ayem A’ Akpatuma recently launched by the military in the state to end the herdsmen incursion in the state does not cover that area because it is an Island completely surrounded by water. “However, security personal have been mobilized to the island to move the herdsmen out so that the people can move back to their community.” When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent, ASP, Moses Yamu confirmed that the Special Forces of the Police had moved into the Island to restore order. “Just today, the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni held meetings with some Ardos (Fulani Chiefs) and Chiefs from Agatu, Gwer West and others, after which they went on a visit to the Island. As we speak they are yet to return to Makurdi mainland.”

SATURDAY Vanguard, , MARCH 3, 2018—17 'Go back to your parents and remarry, while myself and children go back to our creator' Suicide note of the man who killed his four children, sister-in-law, self •The building at 19B Ntueke street Awada where Nnadiogo lived By Vincent Ujumadu & Nwabueze Okonkwo ONE week after Edwin Nnadiogo, a 48-year old tenant of No.19B Ntueke Street, Awada layout, Obosi in Idemili North Local government Area of Anambra state, near Onitsha killed his four children, sister in-law and himself, his fellow tenants were yet to recover from the rude shock, fear and psychological trauma which gripped them as a result of the incident.. A visit to the compound last Wednesday showed that the entire house was almost deserted by the tenants, including the one sharing the same flat with him. Some of the tenants abandoned the compound for fear of the unknown, while others sneak in at intervals and hurry out. The action of the tenants, according to their chairman, Chief Osualor Ibeabuchi J, was not only based on the frequent visits of policemen and other security agencies to the compound, or because of the abnormal nature of the act, but also because the odour of the congealed blood of the slain children was still oozing out from the 4th floor where Nnadiogo lived and killed his children and himself. Speaking inside the compound, Ibeabuchi J noted that almost all the children residing inside the compound are now suffering from one type of sickness or the other following the terrible sight of corpses of the slain children who were playing with them when Nnadiogo, their father, returned home and they all shouted Daddy, Daddy, welcome in jubilation and followed him upstairs. Ibeabuchi J said that as chairman of the yard, he did not know much about the late Nnadiogo who hailed from Isu Njaba in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo state because during his life time, he refused to attend meetings of the tenants because he saw himself as the landlord, since he was a direct younger brother to the landlord. He recalled that Nnadiogo’s wife, a nurse by profession and proprietor of a chemist shop near the compound whom he simply identified as Mama Mmesoma, had packed into the building early last year without the husband, while the husband joined her in the apartment between November and December, last year. Giving a graphic account of how the tenants knew about the killings, Ibeabuchi J recalled that it was very difficult for himself residing on the ground floor of the building to have known what was happening at the 4th floor because even the tenant who was sharing the floor with Nnadiogo was not in the house on the fateful day. He said the tenant who shared the floor with Nnadiogo is from Enugu state and he had a ghastly motor accident about seven months ago which shattered one of his legs and landed him at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Enugu and was just discharged from the hospital recently. He said he was taking his bath between 6.35 and 7.35 p.m. on the fateful Saturday when he heard the shouting from the 3rd floor of the building and when he rushed out to find out who was shouting and why, he saw a teenage girl who had visited the slain sister in-law to Nnadiogo at the window.He said the teenage girl jumped from the window of the 4th floor where the incident took place and landed at the 3rd floor when she saw Nnadiogo butchering his children with knife and warned her to steer clear.. He said luckily enough, the tenant living at the 3rd floor returned from maternity where he had gone to see his wife who was delivered of a baby Blood stained hand and killer knife used in the incident and he opened the door before they reached the teenage girl shouting and asked her what it was all about and then she disclosed that something terrible had just happened at the 4th floor. He said as they all went upstairs to the 4th floor and knocked, there was no response as the door was locked from inside but they perceived an ugly incidence because the teenage girl informed them that she saw Nnadiogo using knife on his children before she escaped through the window from the 4th floor and jumped into the 3rd floor and discovered that she could not climb down from there because the doors were under lock and key since the tenant of the 3rd floor was not in and then she started shouting: “help me, someone help me”. According to him, “I was taking my bath that evening and when I started hearing the shouting, I quickly abandoned my bath half way, tied my wrapper around my waist and rushed out with the foam of soap all He stated that he heard the policeman reading the content of the note written by Nnadiogo himself before the killings as follows: “I and my children will go back to the creator of the world, while my wife will go back to her parents and remarry someone who she feels is better than me over my body. I joined the tenant on the 3rd floor who just returned from the maternity and when he opened his door, the teenage girl narrated her horrendous story to us and we quickly rushed to the police.. “After the police at Awada police station took our statements, they followed us back home and forced the 4th floor open and behold, I saw Nnadiogo’s last born lying dead on the floor and knife wounds all over his body and I was so terrified that I refused to follow the policemen into the bedroom where they found the four others also lying dead, with Nnadiogo himself unconscious, but he died on the way to the hospital and all of them were deposited at Bex Memorial Hospital Mortuary, Awada.”. He disclosed that while their lifeless bodies were being evacuated from the flat, Nnadiogo’s elder and younger brothers, who are all brothers to the landlord of the house, picked up his international passport and saw a hand written note folded inside it and when he was reading the note, one of the policemen snatched it from him and read it to the hearing of everybody. He stated that he heard the policeman reading the content of the note written by Nnadiogo himself before the killings as follows: “I and my children will go back to the creator of the world, while my wife will go back to her parents and remarry someone who she feels is better than me”. He quoted Nnadiogo’s wife as telling the police that her late husband was frequently using abusive words on her, adding that he had been going to rehabilitation and psychiatric homes to control his mental disorderliness and that her parents came to Awada on Sunday, a day after the incident and took her to Isu Njaba. “The teenage girl told all of us that she had come to pay a visit to her friend, the slain sister inlaw, but came face to face with the horrendous development. C M YK