There are still many unknowns concerning the attack by suspected herdsmen in some parts of Kogi East this week. The exact number of deaths, injuries, razed houses, are still unknown and not confirmed by either the government or the police.
The only statement by the state government on the matter advised citizens to “avoid the conflicting casualty and other figures thrown about by different individuals, organizations, and sections of the press as they are mostly baseless and speculative.” However, the government has not released actual estimates to counter the speculations which put number of deaths at up to 35 people.
An eyewitness narrative
While Nigerians await official figures, the principal of Community Secondary School, Oganenigwu, Mr. Ojodale Philip, has narrated his personal experience in the tragic attacks.
He said several members of the community were killed in the morning attack with over 50 houses razed.
“My school was under attack by Fulani terrorists at about 8.30am, but to God be the glory, no life was lost in my school, but many people were massacred in the village. I personally was shot at several times but nothing happened to me. In my hands are some of the bullets that were meant to kill me,” he said.
Some of the affected communities in Kogi East include Oganenigwu, Abejukolo and Agbenema. The attacks left many displaced as they were forced to flee their homes for relatively safer communities.
The governor’s spokesman, Kingsley Fanwo, had said in a statement on Friday morning that Governor Yahaya Bello “will conduct on the spot assessment of the distressed communities today.” That visit did not take place and no reason was given by the governor’s team.
Bello has been a strong supporter of the federal government’s plan to provide cattle colonies in states for the herdsmen as a possible solution to the frequent clashes. He offered to provide 15,000 hectares of land for that purpose in Kogi.
Following the attacks by herdsmen in Kogi East, Gov. Bello was criticised by Lere Olayinka, a spokesman to the governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose. Olayinka said, “Gov. Yahaya Bello gave Fulani herdsmen 15,000 hectares of land for cattle colony. The herdsmen thanked the governor and paid back with brutal murder of 35 Kogites… Abeg what is that Aso Villa Protocol officer saying now?”
His description of Gov. Bello as an “Aso Villa Protocol officer” is a reference to the governor’s frequent visits to the presidential villa.