Fulani herdsmen have been fingered in a fire incident that destroyed properties worth millions of naira at the National Youth Development Centre Mgbakwu in Awka North Local Government area of Anambra State.
The fire, which burnt down the bungalow housing the office of the principal of the center, was alleged to have been ignited by some suspected Fulani herdsmen grazing their cattle in the centre.
DAILY POST gathered that some of the property destroyed by the fire included computer sets, television sets, gas cooker, household and office effects, among other items.
Speaking to newsmen, the principal of the center, Mrs. Grace Ogbuji who expressed shock over the incident said she received a distressed call from one of the cleaners in the centre, alleging that herdsmen grazing their cattle at the centre put the fire on Wednesday.
“She told me precisely that the fire was ignited by Fulani herdsmen which affected the three bedroom flats in the centre,” she said.
Ogbuji who regretted that the center had been under utilized since its establishment, appealed to both the federal and state governments to come to their rescue by rebuilding the affected structures.
She also stressed the need for the centre to be put in full use to achieve the purpose for which it was established.
“Since the centre is located in Anambra State, the state government should liase with the federal government to ensure it is used for what it was meant for,” she added.
A youth leader in the area, Chukwuma Nnenna, who said he was an eyewitness, lamented that the quantity of property lost to the inferno was much because of the odd time the incident happened.
“The unfortunate incident took all of us unawares because it occurred at odd hours when it was almost difficult to put out the fire,” he said.
He also called on the state government to make good its promises of empowering the youths in the area by repositioning the centre for uptimal results.
“If the government had done the needful, this incident could not have happened. If the centre were to be functional, it could not have been engulfed by fire,” he decried.
The President General of Mgbakwu, Chief Nweze Okafor, said it was high time the government made adequate use of the facilities to actualize its objectives.
“It is either the government put the centre in proper and full use or they give us back our land,” Okafor stated.
He, however, hinted that he had already contacted the leader of the Fulani herdsmen in Awka North local government area who had promised to pay a visit to the center to ascertain the extent of the damage.
Anambra has an existing policy of host community paying for the destruction of any property belonging to the Fulani herdsmen, and vice versa.