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The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has called for an unbiased investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of a couple, Mr and Mrs Joseph Oko in Ebonyi.
The South East Chairman of MACBAN, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, made the call on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu.
NAN reports that the couple, who hailed from Amuzu Nkpogoro Community in Afikpo North Local Government Area of the state, were allegedly declared missing after they failed to return home from their farm on Oct.8.
Youths in the locality, who organised a search party, later discovered their corpses in the farm the next day.
Siddiki said his call had become inevitable against the backdrop of insinuations in some quarters of the possible cause of their alleged death.
He however, noted that MACBAN was in full support of a full scale investigation into the cause of their deaths to forestall possible escalation of tension in the area.
“Our attention has been drawn to the rumors making round on what could have been the possible cause of the death of the couple.
“While we commiserate with the families of the deceased and the state government, we call on the state government and the police to rein in with a view to unmasking the cause of the death.”
Siddiki reiterated his stance that herders in the state were peaceful and would not undermine members of their host communities.
He said that their members had over the years enjoyed a good relationship with the people of the area.
“Our sole aim of coming here is for business and we will not hesitate to report any herder who causes a breach of public peace to security agencies.
“We are in full support of the directive of Gov. Dave Umahi for an investigation into the death of the couple,” Siddiki said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ebonyi Command, CSP Loveth Odah appealed to the people of the area to remain calm as the police try to unravel the circumstances of their deaths.
Odah said that it would be misleading to conclude that the couple were killed as there were no form of bodily injuries on their bodies that could have arisen from violence.
She said that when the news of the missing couple broke, ”a team of police officers that were among the search party went to their farm.
“They saw the lifeless bodies of the deceased lying peacefully under a shelter or hut that they made in their farm. At first, the officers thought that they were sleeping.
“However, they noticed that blood was gushing out from the ear of the woman who was about four months pregnant.
“There is no evidence to show that they were killed yet,” she said.
Odah said that the circumstances surrounding their death were mysterious, adding that an autopsy would be carried out on the corpses to determine the actual cause.