You already know that Enugu is the biggest state in the South East but you may not know that Benue state is almost 5 times bigger than Enugu state. Benue is bigger than all 5 states in the South East combined. Kogi is another neighbouring state being invaded by herdsmen. It is also more than the entire South East and over 4 times bigger than Enugu.
Both Benue and Kogi states are sparsely populated. Anambra alone has almost equal population with Benue and a bigger population than Kogi even though it is six times smaller than Kogi or Benue in size.
You understand a few things from this. Once you cross over to Enugu from any of this states, the topography changes instantly. The population become dense. The milage between communities narrows. It becomes harder to find uninhabited stretch of land.
The only place you can find a mile or more of uninhabited land on the Enugu side is around Nimbo-Abbi-Nkpologwu in Uzo Uwani LGA. That stretch of Nimbo land adjoining the Southern Odoru forest reserve in Kogi state.
The herdsmen knew this terrain and they knew there was no coordination between communities in Uzo Uwani so they struck successfully on 25 April 2016 and fled through this border.
These herdsmen also knew that Nimbo was a soft target. It was disorganised and embroiled in internal disputes. These herdsmen initially attacked neighbouring Abbi community in February 2016 killing a middle aged man and his sister and burning a few houses before they were repelled.
Thereafter, fled into the Kogi forest only to return 2 months later to attack Nimbo. However, they couldn’t go back to attack the fortified and vigilant Abbi again or even the more fortified Mkpologwu so they chose Nimbo which was a softer target.
Anyway, a lot of things changed after the Nimbo killings. Precautionary measures have been taken to the best of my knowledge.
All community based Neighborhood Watch groups are now linked. Many have patrol vehicles and some other important equipment. Some are grouped under larger vigilantes like the Uzo Uwani Vigilante. All groups report to their coordinator who in turn report to Rtd Brig Gen Fred Eze. The gentleman doubles as security adviser to the governor.
It will be impossible for herdsmen to strike anywhere around this axis successfully. In Nsukka, Isiuzo, Igboeze South and Igboeze North, communities are so close to each other and there is no mile of escape route as there is in Uzo Uwani. Suivellance and proactive monitoring of this route is now highly profiled. Most communities are also pro-actively monitoring their terrain in coordination with neighbouring communities.
You can support your community by donating money to the community Neighborhood Watch. 50 thousand naira can buy a single barrel rifle while 250k can buy a pump action rifle. They are all licensed and legal as long as the bearer is registered with the community Neighborhood Watch.
Vigilance and early warning remain key to community survival from herdsmen invasion but chances of successful attacks or a spill over from Benue, Kogi is still remote.
This is my opinion!
WRITTEN BY: MBE NWANIGA