ARMED EXTREMIST GROUPS AND THE MENACE OF THE FULANI CATTLE-HERDERS IN THE SOUTH EAST COMMUNITIES OF NIGERIA -- OGANIRU NDIGBO FOUNDATION/IGBOVILLE CALLS FOR CAUTION
Since the dawn of some armed extremist groups in the Northern part of Nigeria, there has been the need for the citizens of this country to exercise more security consciousness.
Occasional news releases and private publications have indicated the covert operation of some of these groups; sometimes, they pose as personnel of the security agencies and mingled with the civilian population to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens. The news media have also been awash with past cases where mayhem of unimaginable proportions has been carried out in the dead of the night and some, in the broad daylight.
Due to the migratory tendency of the Fulani cattle herders, the fear that members of this armed extremist groups may swell their ranks to cause mayhem in some communities in the South East is therefore a major concern to an Igbo advocacy group, the Oganiru Ndigbo Foundation, ONF and their online platform, IGBOVILLE since the cattle herders live with the civilian population in major villages and cities in the heartland of Igbo land.
It is for this reason that the Oganiru Ndigbo Foundation/IGBOVILLE wish to draw the attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria, all the 5 SE governments, the SE National caucus at the National Assembly, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Igbo leaders of thought, well meaning Nigerians and security agencies to monitor and be more vigilant of the activity of some of the cattle herders in the South East.
For example, the latest incidence of the menace of the cattle herders on the 8th of August 2013, where residents of Umuekwunne, Irete, Imo State who visited the Fulani cattle herding community in Irete to complain of the destruction of their farmlands by cattle, and the incessant complains of rape by their women going to the farm, were greeted by a rude shock. It was alleged that the ‘cattle herders’ attacked the unarmed and unsuspecting villagers with dangerous weapons.
According to reports, many villagers sustained grievous injuries. Specifically, a certain Chibuzor Hezekiah Okorie was shot in the stomach and likewise cut in the midsection and leg with a cleaver. His sibling was likewise struck.
The two brothers and many other residents of Umuekwunne, Irete who made the trip to the cattle herders’ camp escaped death by the whiskers.
The Oganiru Ndigbo therefore queried what cattle herders would possibly be doing with the type of dangerous weapons that were allegedly used to inflict injuries on innocent villagers and therefore call for strict monitoring of the activities of some of the cattle herders so that their ranks are not infiltrated by members of the armed extremist group to unleash more mayhem on innocent harmless, unprepared and unarmed villagers.
The Oganiru Ndigbo is therefore calling on all the 5 SE governments to collaborate with the security agencies to ensure that such ugly incidence is never perpetrated in any other part of Igboland by the cattle herders.
To watch and do nothing is definitely no more an option.
For and on behalf of OGANIRU NDIGBO FOUNDATION/IGBOVILLE
UCHE ONUH EME L. PRESIDENT GENERAL
ERESI GRACE OKOH
PROFESSOR CATHERINE ACHOLONU
J DUKE ANAGO
JOHN OKIYI KALU
HONOURABLE NELDA CHIOMA ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL