To meet with security operatives on way forward eager to address the mindboggling attacks by herdsmen on communities across Nigeria, the Senate rose from its sitting on Thursday, raising an ad choc committee to look into the contentious issue and proffer solutions.
President Muhammadu Buhari had already given a matching order to the security operatives to investigate the root cause of the frequent attacks by the herdsmen with a view to bringing the culprits to book.
The Senate asked the Committee to start work next week, mandating members drawn from the six geo-political zones, to also conduct a Public Hearing on the issues to draw inputs from members of the public.
The Committee on herdsmen’s attack comprises Senator Ali Muhammed Ndume as Chairman, Senator Isiaka Adeleke (South-West), Mao Ohuabuhwa (South-East), Abdullahi Adamu (North-East), Shehu Sani (North-West) and Ben Bruce Murray (South-South).
The decision by the Senate emanated from a motion moved by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu) on “The Gory Massacre of the people of Nimbo Community of Uwani Local Government of Enugu State.
The Senator called the attention of his colleagues to how herdsmen who he said were armed with sophisticated weapons invaded Nimbo community at about 4.00am on Monday April 25, killing and maiming people in the community in cold blood.
He said seven communities including Nimbo, Ugwuijoro, Ekwuru, Ebor, Enugu, Umuome and Ugwuechara.
He said the herdsmen entered Enugu state through Kogi and thereafter started unleashing mayhem on the targeted communities by shooting, hacking, knifing, matcheting and slitting throats of unsuspecting residents of the villages whose buildings they torched.
According to Utazi, by the dawn of the day, not less than 38 people had been killed, while over 100 persons sustained varying degrees of injury, with domestic live stocks slaughtered in the process.
He said countless houses and other property were razed, adding that at the moment, efforts were still on to recover more bodies of those so gruesomely murdered.
The Senator lamented that Nimbo town was in panic and had already been deserted as the human population according to him have been moving into neighbouring communities like Nkpologu, Uvuru, Adani and those around Nsukka towards southward of Omasi in Anambra state.
Senators while debating the motion spoke with high tone of emotion in which case, speakers from the north made spirited attempt to dissuade their colleagues from the south from believing that the herdsmen who attacked the communities in Enugu were, indeed, Fulanis.
Senator Abu Ibrahim told his colleagues those experiences over the past few months had proved that bandits have been masquerading as Fulanis to attack communities, stating that most of them usually come from Niger, Chad and Mali.
Senator Isa Musau corroborated Ibrahim, stating that those who have been attacking communities across Nigeria were indeed rebels from Chad, Niger and Mali, while their incursions into Nigeria had been made easy because of security lapses in the country.
He hinted also that some of the suspected herdsmen were Boko Haram members, who according to him had been dislodged from their hide out in Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
He called for redoubling of security intelligence in Nigeria, calling on the authorities to recruit more hands into the Police, as according to him, Nigeria, at the moment does not have more than 350, 000 officers in service.
He said even at that, more than 30, 000 of the serving Police officers in Nigeria are attached as guards to politicians, arguing that as vast as Nigeria is as a country, the number of police officers required should not be less than 1 million.
Senators Ben Bruce, Mao Ohuabunwa and Sam Egwu lamented the turn of events in Nigeria with the sustained attacks by herdsmen on communities, calling on the Federal Government to step up action on containing the menace which they argued may lead to a civil war in the event of expected reprisal attacks.
Senator Godswil Akpabio, Minority Leader dismissed claims that the rampaging herdsmen came from Mali, Niger and Chad, wondering how non-Nigerians would find it easy to beat the security ports to attack core areas and communities in Nigeria.
He said the solution to the menace by herdsmen lies in the mounting of security surveillance across the country, in which case those living in the hinterland would be sensitized enough to be more security conscious.
Professor Sola Adeyeye had earlier spoken in the same direction when he called for return of Community policing which he stressed the authorities in Nigeria have consistently been rejecting because of fear of possible abuse as witnessed in the past.
He argued that the paralysis of the local government system in Nigeria has also been encouraging the easy security breaches in communities across the federation.
He said it was time Nigerians rose in unison to put a stop to the effrontery by the herdsmen to freely attack communities without reprimand, stating that with the re-introduction of Community Policing such attacks by herdsmen would be easily contained.
However, in addition to setting up of an ad hoc committee to look into the torchy issue of attacks by herdsmen, the Senate equally resolved to summon security chiefs to brief it on the way forward.