By Emma OBIAMIWE, Senior Investigator Correspondent, Asaba.
THERE are heightened concerns over the criminal and murderous activities of suspected Fulani herders in Delta State who have seemingly renewed their grips on communities in the state. Sources said the notoriety of the herders who double as transit armed robbers has reached fever height crescendo especially, now that everyone in the state and the adjoining states are observing the lockdown order of the state government over the corona-virus pandemic. Their recent unwarranted onslaught in Albert Camp, a hub for visiting farmers and artisans from the neighbouring Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyin States has resulted in the gruesome murder of a 28 year-old technician identified as Austin Nwaeke. Sources said the murder of Austin said to be popular amongst residents of the camp and the adjoining communities for his dexterity in generator repairs had sent shockwaves and cold shivers down the spines of residents some of who had started fleeing the camp. The attack on Albert Camp said to have been founded in 1970 and named after Albert Ckukwukelu which sits conspicuously on a hill overlooking Okapnam Community was not the first of its kind. CrimeWorld reports that about three weeks ago, a heavily armed gang of Fulani herdsmen had invaded a community in the same Okpanam and abducted a middle-age man having ordered his wife to make yam porridge for them. It was not too clear whether the abducted man had yet been freed as of the time of this report.
*An armed Fulani herder…
The widow of the deceased technician identified as Jennifer, a 25 year-old expectant mother who wondered what the herdsmen were after in a mere Camp that lacked nearly every social amenities of life said the only source of water available to the Camp was a tributary of River Niger. She said amid uncontrollable tears, “I don’t know what they are looking for here, a mere camp that has nothing to offer for modern livelihood. We are not rich here, we don’t know what is electricity, there is no pipe borne water for us; nothing. The only water we drink here is the Anwai River which overflows from the Rive Niger. It is not even healthy to drink but what do we do. Those who are able to afford sachet water buy in bags to drink. Look at all the houses here, you cannot find any corrugated iron roofing in this Camp, it’s all thatches and mud houses. So what is it that is attracting them here?”
Like the biblical Rachael weeping for children and refused to be consoled, Jennifer said she wakes up every morning to the gory sight of her husband’s clotted blood on the ground and weeps. “The family has tried scrubbing the blood off the concrete floor to no avail. I wake up every morning to see my husband’s blood on the floor. It is making me scared. I do not know what to tell my sons for they keep asking after their father,” she cried.
Giving an eyewitness account of the incident that led to the death of her husband, a visibly distraught Jennifer said, “I was asleep when I heard the sound of gunshots in our compound. I peeped through the window and saw four heavily armed men scaling the fence of our compound after they had shot my husband. It was later in the morning that people were saying that the killing of my innocent husband was to avenge the missing of one of the cows allegedly killed by some unknown persons in the Camp. All I want is for the government and the Police to come to our aid here because we are not saved. I want them to find killers of my husband too and bring them to justice.”
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