Our close shave with death

James Azania, Lokoja

Uneasy has taken over the in and around Tawari, a in Local Area of , one week after a deadly attack by unidentified gunmen.

While those who survived the penultimate Friday morning attack continued to bemoan the gruesome killings of families by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen, the unspoken that appeared to be playing out in the of the remains, how are we?

About 20 persons reportedly died in the hands of the gunmen that descended on Tawari community that morning. They were believed to be herdsmen.

Buildings, including the palace of the local , were razed.

But, despite the confidence-building visits by the and his deputy to the affected areas and near , some of those who survived remained shaken by the bloody attack.

Governor Yahaya Bello during a visit to the Ohimege-Igu of Koto-Karfe, Alhaji Abdulrazaq Isah Koto, at his palace last Sunday, said that his administration do everything to stand by and ensure immediate assistance to the victims of the attack at Tawari.

Bello’s visit came a day after his deputy, Edward Onoja, was at the community for an on-the-spot . The governor pledged his administration’s commitment to ensuring that the attackers are fished out and made to face justice.

He enjoined to remain calm, assuring that his government will not relent in its efforts to protect the lives and property of the people of the state.

He described the attack as barbaric, inhuman, dastardly and unwanted. He also assured that his administration will do everything to stand by them, noting that both the State Management Agency (SEMA) and the National Management Agency (NEMA), will provide them with timely supports.

A week after, some of those who spoke with The Nation on their experiences, aside seeking the unmasking of the perpetrators or those behind it appeared uneasy about .Abuja

Mallam Orege(not real name)said he lost two and three other members in the attack.He was, , indifferent to all talks, saying that if he had his way, those who carried out the attack will be made to face justice.

“My position is that those who carried out this action should be apprehended, and it should be immediately. People cannot just come and attack others, killing and burning their houses and then just disappear like that. It will be injustice if the security people don’t them and charge them accordingly.

“I lost five of my family members; they were killed; my direct brothers. Three others of my larger family were similarly killed”.

Others who spoke to our correspondent included Attoh Ifeji(not real name),  a local , who identified  security as their worries and what he described as “the distant presence of government to ”.

According to him, presence in Tawani could have waded off the night of .

“Those gunmen came in unannounced and  was no security to challenge them. They killed our people and committed other atrocities. What do say if don’t have security to defend ? We don’t have a defence at all.

“There should be more police and government’s presence in Tawari so that this type of thing won’t happen again.”

A recent killing of four suspected kidnappers, alleged to be herdsmen, along the Lokoja- highway by security agencies, following a tip off by vigilantes from Tawari community, was said to have angered the , who in turn attacked the community.

Another account said that sometime last year, a herdsman was allegedly killed and his body mutilated by suspected ritualists.  His fellow herdsmen were believed to have pointed accusing fingers at the Tawari community.All

But, following persistent persuasion by the community , Alhaji Yahaya Tawari, against a reprisal, the herdsmen appeared to have forgotten about the whole thing. So the people thought until a few days later  when they started out of the community enmasse. This action was a presage to trouble.

Efforts were, therefore, said to have been made to pacify them, but  the herdsmen reportedly assured that their movement was a way of , assuring that it bore no ulterior motives, only for gunmen to swoop on the community.

The Kogi State Deputy Governor, Chief Edward Onoja, during the visit, assured that no stone would be left unturned in unravelling the penetrators.

He described the attack as very unusual and a call for concern, saying that the seriousness which Governor Bello attaches to unravelling the penetrators as well as the need to bring succour and to the affected areas underscored his visit to the community.

He assured that the will begin a and reconstruction process of the area.

He urged the residents not to leave their homes but  remain resolute.

The council administrator, Muhammed Tanko, said that the situation had been brought under normalcy.

He noted that the presence of security agencies brought hope to the people of the community as those who ran away during the attack have started returning .

He commended Governor Bello for his quick during the attack, adding that those who sustained injuries were to at the Federal Center and the Specialist Lokoja.

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