PRESS RELEASE By Oganiru Ndigbo Foundation aka Igboville
The attention of members of Oganiru Ndigbo Foundation aka Igboville, has been drawn to the continuing targeting and killing of Ndi-igbo and other Nigerians in our communities by armed Fulani Herdsmen. Our members drawn from the 5 South East states, Delta State, Rivers State and minorities of Benue state wish to express our deep discomfort and anger at the persisting acts of terror unleashed on our people and others by this new terror group loosely called “Fulani herdsmen”.
For some time now, armed Fulani cattle rearers have been in the news because of their tendency to unleash terror on communities where they carry out their unauthorized cattle breeding. Chief amongst the area where they have committed abominable acts are Benue State, Enugu State and other parts of Southern Nigeria.
Recently, these herdsmen killed and maimed over 80 people at Uzo-uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State and gory pictures of these dastardly acts which we have investigated and found to be real have flooded the Internet. The Uzo-uwani incident came on the heels of the Agatu Benue State massacre, carried out by these herdsmen.
More than 300 lives were lost at Agatu village and acres of farmlands were destroyed by the marauding armed terrorists. Just yesterday, another attack was launched in Benue state by the herdsmen with more than 10 lives confirmed lost.
The Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government’s response to the danger posed by this group is at best tepid, if not outrightly condoning.
Since the escalation of these killings we have not read of arrests by the security forces or compensation for the victims. There has not been any concerted attempt to disarm these terrorists and their sponsors.
The attitude of the government appears defined by the recent half-hearted pronouncement by the Minister of Agriculture to the effect that the Federal Government will import breeding grasses from Brazil as well as establish ranches all of the country for the herdsmen.
We are totally against carving out portions of our land as “safe havens” for those recently described by the Inspector General of Police as “foreigners from neighboring countries”. We view the “grazing land” proposal as a veiled attempt to take over our land and plant violent terrorists to execute an age old jihadist plot of “dipping the Koran in the Atlantic Ocean” as espoused by Ahmadu Bello.
It is important to note that the insurgency in the northeast spearheaded by Islamic terrorists has been partly about forceful conversion of Christians living in those areas to Islam. Chibok girls abduction is still unresolved and Boko Haram spokesman recently claimed all the girls have been (forcefully) converted to Islam by their abductors and married off. We are also aware of the recent spate of abduction of minors from the south and their forced conversion to Islam and marriage without the consent or approval of their parents.
Added to the above is the recent revelation from the Nigerian Senate to the effect that fleeing Boko Haram fighters have transmuted to “Fulani herdsmen” and were responsible for the blood chilling Agatu massacres in Benue State.
We view the treatment of the marauding terrorists by the federal government as nothing short of criminal negligence and the planned allocation of grazing fields in the South as compensation to the terrorists. Coming at a period when unarmed IPOB members were shot and killed by security agents while they were praying within a school compound, the cuddly treatment of the murderous herdsmen by the Federal Government smirks of compensation for mass murder of innocent citizens including women and children.
It will also be difficult not to suspect collusion between the murderous herdsmen and people in government to promote a sinister agenda.
We hereby call on all south east governments and others affected by the terrorist activities of the herdsmen to immediately enact laws through their state legislature to outlaw the negative activities of these merchants of death and sorrow. Such action is in line with our federal constitution and we cannot see why the concerned states should not take necessary legal measures in fulfillment of their sworn obligation to protect lives and properties of the citizens of their states.
It is sad to note that the President, whom the opposition parties, during the 2015 election campaigns, accused of being a sectional leader seems to be working “very hard” to prove them right. To date we have not seen any attempt by the Federal government to disarm the herdsmen or bring them and their sponsors to justice.
Are the herdsmen and owners of the cattle above the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
It is obvious that the herdsmen were armed with sophisticated assault weapons such as AK47 riffles by the privileged owners of the cattle they rear. The same owners appear to be using their leverage with our security establishment to deploy our security forces to aid the herdsmen when they are challenged by vigilant citizens of the communities they invade.
We have a list of major cattle breeders in Nigeria and will willingly offer same to security agents if they claim not to know.
The international community should urgently intervene to compel the Nigerian government to check the murderous activities of the Fulani herdsmen before it leads to large scale breakdown of law and order in the affected communities.
While we wait for the necessary response from the authorities, we call on all Igbo communities to organize themselves and take all necessary measures to protect their people and farmlands.
Further massacre of our people by the herdsmen and their collaborators must be decisively responded to until the Federal Government wakes up to her responsibility of protecting lives and properties of all Nigerians.
Signed on behalf of the members of Igboville/Oganiru Ndigbo Foundation:
- Barr Emeka Maduewesi (USA).
- Barr Ifeyinwa China Onyeabor (SA).
- Mr Marleek Onyekaba (USA).
- Barr Eche Chidume (Ireland).
- Dr Benjamin Udodigbo (Nigeria).
- Dr Innocent Uzuh (Nigeria).
- Mr Paul Kalu (Nigeria).
- Mrs Nelda Okafor (Nigeria).
- Ms Lilian Ngozi (Nigeria).
- Mr Jude Duke Anago (UK).
- Barr Eresi Grace Okoh (Ireland).