A suspected Fulani herdsman has allegedly defiled a 14-year-old girl, Favour Okugbo, at Umuifi Anioma-Isu in Onicha Local Government Area of Abia State.
The pupil of Union Secondary School at Agueke-Isu had been admitted at an undisclosed medical facility for treatment.
A community leader Festus Nwachukwu said Fulani herdsmen in Umuifi Anioma-Isu threatened the peace and the agricultural revolution of the state government.
He noted that the herdsmen had been destroying farm produce and threatening the peaceful coexistence of the residents.
According to him, even though the suspect has been arrested by the police, his action remains an abomination to the land.
Nwachukwu said: “We are going to carrying out a cleansing ceremony on the land so that it will remain fertile.
“The Fulani herdsmen are destroying our farms. If you want to talk to them, they will threaten you with knives. Our major occupation is farming, but we can no more farm because of this menace. The herdsmen are fond of using their cows to destroy our farmlands and crops.
“The government policies on agriculture are being threatened in Onicha Local Government Area. I came back from church on April 9 and learnt that this girl was raped by a Fulani man when she went to the farm to get vegetables. She was threatened that if she refused, he would kill her. He used the knives to beat her on the back and then raped her.
“What has happened is an abomination on our land. The man has damaged the fertility of the land and we are going to use cows, fowls and many cartons of beer and palm wine to bless the land.”
Favour, who said she had been sad over the incident, urged the government to probe the activities of Fulani herdsmen in the community to protect the girls from sexual assault.
She said: “I went to the farm to fetch vegetables when I was attacked by a Fulani herdsman. He came to our farm with his cows. He asked me if I had some water and food and I said no. He went to get more cows to surround me and told me that if I allowed him to have sex with me, he would give me N700. I refused and started running away. He chased me and hit me with the back of his cutlass. I fell and he raped me.
“I feel sad. I want the government to come to my aid as young girls like me are no longer safe to go to the farm and help our parents. The government should arrest Fulani herdsmen and prosecute them according to the law. Every Fulani herdsman caught doing bad things should be made to leave our land.”
A member of the State Committee on Herdsmen, Mr. Amechi Oken, hailed Governor David Umahi for putting machineries in place to checkmate the excesses of herdsmen.
He said the committee usually visited locations where skirmishes between herdsmen and farmers occurred to resolve any misunderstanding.
Police spokesperson Loveth Oda, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), said the command had not received any report on the incident.
She promised to investigate the matter and get back to our reporter.
– The Nation