Grief pervaded the Ukpabi Nimbo community, Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State as bodies of victims of last April’s attack in the community were buried.
The attack on the community by suspected herdsmen in the early hours of Monday, April 25 , left nine people dead.
People wailed uncontrollably as the bodies of the victims were brought to the Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, Ukpabi Nimbo for the funeral, officiated by the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Right Reverend Godfrey Onah.
Speaking at the service, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, south eastern Nigeria, said that emotions could not restore the lives of the dead persons but that the state had taken solace in the support given to it by the whole world since the incident occurred.
He said: “We make bold to declare that their deaths can never be in vain and we pledge to do all that is within our legitimate means, to give them justice. Like the martyrs they have become, the spilling of their innocent blood is already saving souls as it has aroused in our people and indeed the whole nation, a burning impulse to do all that is necessary to prevent the future occurrence of similar incidents anywhere in the country. “
Five persons arrested.
Governor Ugwuanyi said that the police have arrested five persons suspected to have been involved in the attack even as the outcome of the judicial panel of inquiry that has been set up to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident, was being awaited.
He thanked Nigerians for the solidarity shown to the state and its people over the incident.
“We use this occasion therefore to once again, express our gratitude to the generality of Nigerians who put aside religious, ethnic and political differences, to offer us their hands of support and sympathy after the killings. We thank the Federal Government and the security agencies for the steps they are taking to prevent future occurrences and address the issues that led to the incident,” Ugwuanyi said.
He also commended the people of Enugu State for the restraint they showed when the incident occurred and for the confidence they placed in the ability government to deal with the matter in a mature and responsible manner.
The governor promised to assist the families of the dead persons to take care of their needs.
Delivering the homily during the service, Bishop Onah called on the federal government of Nigeria to look beyond the Nimbo incident and find a lasting solution to the incessant conflicts between herdsmen and farmers across Nigeria.
The bodies of the victims were taken by their families at the end of the service and buried in their compounds.
The funeral was attended by the senator representing Enugu North in the National Assembly, Chuka Utazi, members of the Enugu State House of Assembly, members of the state executive Council and other notable personalities.