TAWARI KILLINGS BY HERDSMEN: KOGI GOVT BLAMES EXTERNAL FORCES

Yekini Jimoh | Lokoja

Kogi State government has accused some politicians from outside the state of the deadly attack that took place in Tawari community, Kogi Local Government Area of the state on Friday, as a prelude to 2023 political battle.

This is just as security agencies in the state have taken over the community.

During the attack, about 23 persons were killed, while many houses were razed. Places of worship were not spared by the suspected Fulani herdsmen who were said to be on a revenge mission.

Sunday Tribune gathered on Saturday that security men had been drafted to the community by the state government to avoid further attack by the Fulani herdsmen.

While the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to start taking stock of the damage in the community, the state government, through the Special Adviser on Information and Communication Strategy, Kingsley Fanwo, warned that “stern measures will be taken to neutralise those behind the attack on defenseless citizens of the state.”

He added that government was working hard to unlock “strong suspicions of external sponsorship of terror against the people of the state by people who want to swim into 2023 in the blood of Nigerians.”

The chairman of the local government’s caretaker committee, Mr. Muhammed Tanko, while speaking with Sunday Tribune, said the situation had been brought under control.

He noted that the presence of the security agencies brought hope to the people of the community, as those who ran away during the attack had started returning home.

He commended Governor Bello for his rapid response to the attack, disclosing that those who sustained injuries in the attack were responding to treatment at the Federal Medical Centre and Specialist Hospital, Lokoja.

Some of the community members who spoke with Sunday Tribune said the attack was as unexpected as unfortunate.

According to one of them,  a few days before to the attack, they saw some of the Fulani people living in the community moving out of town with their family members.

He added that when they asked them why they were leaving, they said it was a normal thing for them to move from one place to another.

He added that surprisingly, some days later, they came at night and killed their people.

One Mallam Mohammed Musa who also spoke with Sunday Tribune said the community lost its beloved ones during the attack, stressing that the Fulani herdsmen were killing the people like animals, as well as insulting their victims as they were killed.

“Those people are heartless. They killed as if they were killing chicken. They have no human feeling. They attacked from different angle. You couldn’t escape once trapped; they were everywhere,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), William Ayah, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said the situation was presently calm.

Speaking with Sunday Tribune on telephone on Saturday, he stated that the Commissioner of Police, Ede Ayuba, visited the community where he met with the traditional ruler and the pastor of the church that was burnt. He also visited the school that was razed and held meetings with the community members.

He said that a detachment of armed policemen, DSS officials and other security agencies had been sent to the community.

The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Muhammed Onogu, disclosed the directive to SEMA to Sunday Tribune on Saturday.

According to him, Bello also directed SEMA to start distributing relief materials to the affected people.

He also called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to assist the state government so that those affected can be resettled immediately.

The deputy governor of the state, Chief Edward Onoja, also visited the community on Saturday to condole with the people.

He was received by Mr Tanko.

He said the state government would do everything possible to arrest those behind the killing, adding that the state government would see what it could do to bring life back to the community.

He assured the community that SEMA would supply relief materials to the community as directed by the governor, while he also called on NEMA to come to their assistance.

He appealed to security agencies to be vigilant and ensure that those behind the attack were brought to book.

Speaking with journalists in Lokoja, on Saturday, Fanwo said the Tawari attack had further exposed the fact that some powerful individuals in the country were “striving to play politics with blood by discrediting the much-credited security architecture in Kogi State,” giving the assurance that those behind the attack would be “apprehended and made to face the music.”

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