Agnes Apande, a 28-year-old widow, described how she witnessed her husband’s fatal machete attack in a rural community in Tse Agbande, Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, while she stared in shock out the window.
Last Saturday, when her husband’s assailants arrived at their compound, the grieving widow claimed she was in her room watching a movie. However, she was unable to call out for help for fear of drawing the killer herdsmen’s attention to herself and her son.
As suspected killer herders raided their community in the middle of the night with rifles and cutlasses, the late Matthew Apande was reportedly killed with machete cuts in his neck and other areas of his body.
Speaking with the Nation, Agnes said that the assailants numbering about nine had stormed the village on motorcycles at about 10pm and started shooting indiscriminately.
She added that they attacked her husband where he lay outside because of the intense heat and macheted him to death.
“We had bought a small generator to keep us busy any time we returned from the farm, because I like watching films. On that fateful day, I was in the room with my only son watching a film while my husband lay outside the house,” she said.
“They first started shooting. It was the sound of gunshots that made me to reduce the volume of the TV. I then opened the window slightly and saw them. They came on motorcycles. Some of them waited while others came down.
“One of them went straight to the generator switched it off. Then I saw them shoot my husband in the stomach, killing him instantly. They collected his handset and beamed torchlight around to see if there was someone else but I dodged and hid behind the door while my son was sleeping on the bed.
“I watched as they took his (husband’s) phone and torch. They spoke Fulfude, that was what made me to know that they were Fulani.I could not believe that I was seeing my husband’s body. I saw machete and axe cuts after his stomach was ripped open with bullets.
“In fact, they butchered him anyhow and dropped his body under a mango tree within the compound. They moved to the neighbouring village and also killed about five people there.”
Asked why she thought her husband and others in the village were attacked, she said a few days earlier, “my husband alongside other people had complained to some Fulani leaders after some cattle reportedly ate up the soya beans they were harvesting. I didn’t know that they would plan to attack them.
She added: “Their cows ate up all the rice, cassava and yams we planted last season and we were left with nothing. Our only hope of survival before the rainy season when we would start all over again was the soya beans.
“We had hoped that we would sell the soya beans and buy foodstuffs that we would manage for the year, but the cows ate it up. My husband was angry because of the development, so he expressed his anger to the Fulani leaders who allowed their cattle to eat his soya beans. Little did he know that they would come after him.”
The widow expressed frustration that her husband’s killers were still using his mobile phone, appealing to security agencies to apprehend the culprits and bring them to book.
“We want the herdsmen to be arrested. We want the government to help us. Our child is still very small. He is just one year old and there is nothing I have to train him. My husband’s death is a tough one to take because it has caused me much pain. He did not enjoy the fruits of his labour. He was already preparing for new season but they did not allow him to finish it,”
“There is no day I don’t feel loneliness inside me. We buried him last weekend, and life has not been the same without him around me. Before death came knocking, we had good plans for the coming farming season, he gave me a life that can be described as a fairly okay. I’m mentally tortured when I realise he is no more,”
“I am a poor village woman,” she said, bursting into tears.
One of Agnes’s neighbours, 49-year-old Igbadoo Agune, who escaped the attack because his house was not searched by the invaders, described Apande’s death as a shock. He said he was devastated by the sight of Apande’s lifeless body after the herdsmen had left.