Some worried communities in Ngor Okpala Local Government Area, Imo State have sent an urgent Save Our Souls, SOS message to Imo State Governor Sen. Hope Uzodinma to come to their rescue over alleged plot by Fulani Herdsmen to attack them.
The communities located on the border between Imo and Rivers State told journalists on Monday that they are on their knees, begging the governor to urgently wade into the matter to forestall looming violence and bloodletting in their communities.
According to them the Herders are threatening to attack them based on a false allegation that indigenes of the communities killed their cows.
,The distraught villagers declared that there was no iota of truth in the claim as the alleged incident did not happen in their communities but on an expressway linking Imo and Rivers State.
They also drew attention to the fact that there have never been a case of cow killing in their communities for the many decades Herders have being rearing their cattle in their area, even when they have regularly destroyed their farms in the process.
Members of the concerned communities Alatia, Ikem and Amala as well as indigenes of neighbouring communities of Alulu, Ntu, Oburu, Obokwe and Eziama who spoke to our correspondent on fact finding visit to the area, described as blatant lie the claim that cows belonging to Herders were killed by indigenes of the communities being threatened.
The respondents who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed that Herders lost their cattle during a clash between them and criminal elements that have made life unbearable and nightmarish for users of that road.
According to them there was a clash between the two groups sometime in October which resulted in casualties on both sides.
They,therefore, wondered why Fulani Herdsmen will suddenly turnaround to accuse people of the communities they are threatening of killing their cows, insisting that such is simply trying to give a dog a bad name in order to kill it.
Continuing, they argued that it was an open secret known by even security agencies that the Okpala/ Okehi Etche link road is a den of criminals and hoodlums who frequently carry out various criminal activities including armed robbery, rape and kidnappings on it, adding that their escapades have made the road dangerous and unsafe.
Our reporter gathered from them that like the hoodlums, Herders in the area have also been terrorizing the communities along the expressway as they are in the habit of allowing their cattle to destroy and eat crops of farmers.
Beyond destroying farms, they, Herders will equally threaten local farmers with death when they complain about their destructive actions, even as it was said that they recently carried out their threat with near killing of youth in Umuohie, Ngor a neighbouring community.
They dismissed in its entirety the allegation against the communities and also exonerated members of the IPOB saying those trying to drag IPOB into the matter are mischief makers trying to use that to whip up sentiments against the communities.
The people who said they have being having sleepless nights since the rumour of the plot to attack them filtered out, in a tears soaked voice appealed to the government to urgently intervene and thoroughly investigate the matter with a view to finding out the truth.
They also called on him to beef up security presence in the area to prevent the Herdsmen from attacking them.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO Imo State Police Command, Superintendent of Police, Orlando Ikoku, said the command has not received such report and advised the communities concerned to always report such matters to the police.