Ihuoma Chiedozie, Enugu
Tears flowed freely on Friday as nine victims of Fulani herdsmen attack on Ukpabi Nimbo, an agrarian community in the Uzo-Uwani area of Enugu State, were buried.
Several members of the community died during the attack by Fulani herdsmen on April 25. Our correspondent learnt that some other victims of the attack, particularly those whose bodies were already decomposing by the time they were discovered in the bush many days after the incident, were buried earlier.
Also, some other corpses have yet to be buried.
The solemn burial ceremony attracted several dignitaries in the state, including Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
A former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi; the Senator representing Enugu North, Chuka Utazi; a former minister, Nnia Nwodo, and members of the state Executive Council and House of Assembly attended the burial service orgainsed for the deceased.
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The victims were not given a mass burial. Bereaved families took the bodies of their deceased to their individual compounds for burial.
Cries of anguish were heard all over the community, as the bodies were being buried almost simultaneously.
However, before their bodies were committed to earth, a general burial service was held for all the victims at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Nimbo.
During the sermon, the Bishop of the Nsukka Catholic Diocese, Bishop Godfrey Onah, said although the burial was a tragic event, the occasion called for thanksgiving because the attackers did not succeed in their plan to wipe out the entire community.
“Although so many lives were lost, it is still an occasion for thanksgiving because they wanted to wipe out the entire village,” Bishop Onah said, while consoling the grieving community.
The bishop urged the Federal Government to put necessary measures in place to prevent another attack in Ukpabi Nimbo and other communities where herdsmen graze their cattle.
While speaking at the event, Governor Ugwuanyi recalled that Monday, April 25, 2016, the day of the attack, “will ever remain a dark, sad and solemn day in the memory of the people of Enugu State and indeed Nigerians at large.”
He said, “It was on that day that our brothers and sisters, whose remains are lying here before us, were ambushed and murdered in cold blood and in their own land.
“Having done all that was needful, including attending to the injured and the displaced, we have assembled here, in tears and in grief, to bury the dead and bid their innocent souls a final farewell.”
Describing the victims as martyrs, Ugwuanyi stressed that their death would not be in vain.
The governor said, “We make bold to declare that their death 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 recurrence of similar incidents anywhere in the country.”
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