Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fulani Herdsmen Are Criminals, Says ACF
By George Oji, Chris Njoku, Aza Msue, Justin Tyopuusu an d Emman uel Ezehon
Nigeria National Mirror
April 29, 2016

Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, yesterday called on security agents to investigate the involvement of Fulani herdsmen in the recent bloody attacks in some parts of the country. ACF, in a statement by its spokesman, Muhammad Ibrahim, while condemning Monday’s attacks on the Ukpabi Nimbo Community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, said criminals hiding under the guise of Fulani herdsmen to attack innocent people must be brought to book.

ACF further warned that, Nigeria cannot afford to graduate from Boko Haram insurgency to an unwarranted attack by unknown gunmen alleged to be Fulani herdsmen. ACF said: “Criminals hiding under whatever guise and committing heinous crimes against innocent people and the state should be treated as such and in accordance with the law.

“Nigeria cannot afford to graduate from Boko Haram insurgency to an unwarranted attack by unknown gunmen alleged to be Fulani herdsmen.

“The traditional Fulani nomads have coexisted peacefully with their host communities and have been grazing their cattle for decades all over Nigeria without any such attacks. “ACF is therefore disturbed and seriously concern with this recent development.

“It therefore calls upon the security agencies to do a thorough investigation into the identities of the suspected gunmen in order to stop this dangerous generalisation of labeling certain tribe or people of certain faith responsible for these attacks.

“This will cause mistrust and likely incite people of different tribes and faith, who have lived together peacefully for decades to suddenly become enemies of each other.” Reacting to Monday’s attack, Movement for the Actualisation for Sovereign State of Biafra, MOSSOB, yesterday in Owerri warned governors in the south east zone to protect their people as the chief security officers of their respective states.

The organisation said it may no longer watch the genocide against Ndigbo to continue. MOSSOB leader, Chief Uchenna Madu told our correspondent in Owerri, the Imo State capital, that the time has now come for Igbo leaders to convene a crucial meeting over the senseless massacre of their sons and daughters. “We no longer depend on much talking, many people have condemned it, we want kind of action, but we want our Igbo leaders to understand that we are talking about the future of our people, we must do everything possible to make sure we protect our people.

“We advise our political leaders to convene a meeting. The issue here is not about Nigeria interest, the issue is about the Igbo. We in MOSSOB can no longer condole things like this. Even though, we are non violent, we must protect our people with any means at our disposal,” he stated. He described the invasion of by the Fulani herdsmen and killings of the people as genocide, saying it was a reminiscence of what happened during the civil war. “This is exactly what happened before the war; this was how it started before the war. They started killing our people, they are creating fear and jittery on our people so that by the time they will launch a full war, nobody will resist them. This is exactly what they are doing now,” he added. Asked if MOSSOB would launch a reprisal, he said: “We are not armed neither are we violence, we are not running a reprisal, but we are issuing a warning that we are no longer going to fold our hands and watch this kind of thing to happen again.”

The senate devoted its entire plenary session yesterday deliberating on the killings in Enugu State.

The senators resolved to set up a six-member ad hoc committee to investigate the incident. The committee, which has a representative from each of the six geo political zones, is also to proffer solutions to avert any such future occurrence. Membership of the committee, which is headed by Senate Leader, Ali Ndoma include; Senators Ben Murray-Bruce (South south), Mao Ohuabunwa (South east), Abdullahi Adamu (North central), Shehu Sani (North west) and Isiaka Adeleke (South west).

The senators also summoned the Inspector General of Police and Chief of Defence Staff to appear before them to shed more lights on the incident. The resolutions of the senate followed a motion sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu East) in whose senatorial deistic the killings took place. Also yesterday, South East Senate Caucus warned of imminent danger and possible attack on the unity of Nigeria if the Federal Government fails to urgently address the Enugu massacres.

Rising from an emergency meeting in Abuja, the senators not only condemned the attack, but also called for a summit of South East and South South governors, members of National and state Houses of Assembly, socio-cultural associations, traditional rulers and major stakeholders immediately. The emergency summit, according to the lawmakers is to review and evaluate the very scary situation and proffer a coordinated response that would ensure the security of lives and properties of their people.

The summit, the caucus said, has become urgently necessary against the background of the ominous silence and apparent indifference of the presidency over the killings in Enugu, some areas in Delta State and many other zones in recent time even when there were obvious intelligence reports. “We can no longer sit and watch while our people are daily slaughtered like fowls without even attracting the cursory routine condemnation by the Presidency. “We are even more appalled that despite the alarm raised by the Uzo Uwani communities of an imminent attack by the Fulani herdsmen and the associated vague assurances by the chairman of Fulani community in Enugu that such attack will not happen, yet the security agencies failed to prevent the attack that happened two days after the alarm.

“It is disheartening what is happening and somebody has to take responsibility. That somebody has to be the institution of the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,”the caucus said. In a related development, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Enugu State chapter, rose from an emergency meeting yesterday describing as “barbaric, wicked and inhuman, the attack on the people of Nimbo. In a communiqué issued after the meeting, which was signed by PFN Chairman, Rev. Dr. Goddy Madu and head of security, Apostle Dr. Joseph Ajujungwa, the group said the incessant attack by the herdsmen had become unbearable. PFN slammed the role of security operatives in the whole episode.

It said: “The attack of 25th April 2016 has shown us that the Nigerian police is not dependable and can never be trusted. “The Fulani herdsmen invaded the community with over 500 armed men, who were drawn from both Nassarawa and Kogi states, killing over 50 people in their homes and destroyed some churches and buildings. “This is not the first and the Nigerian police did nothing, rather they filled all the Enugu urban with vehicles that cannot respond to distress calls, but busy collecting N20 and N50 from the keke and motorists.

” The body “declared three days of mourning, with prayer and fasting starting from today to run through Sunday, 1st May, for the blood of the innocent citizens wasted at Uzo Uwani and other places in the east and south.” Meanwhile, death toll in the recent attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen on some communities in Bali and Donga local government areas of Taraba State has risen to 19, local residents told our reporter when he visited the area yesterday. This was even as the number of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in Suntai, Sabon-Gida Suntai in Donga and Dan-Anacha in Gassol local government areas have risen to 7,000 from 1,781. Our correspondent reports that 20 villages in Donga Local Government were razed by the herdsmen, while eight were destroyed in Bali Local Government, with the injured receiving treatment at the Donga Cottage hospital, General Hospital, Bali and Santa Maria Catholic hospital Bali.

Village head of Bornon Kurku, one of the villages affected in the attack, Zaki Oragbai said six corpses were recovered by the villagers three days after the attack, bringing the death toll to 19. He said the attackers injured dozens of people, who are receiving treatment in various hospitals, destroyed food items and set their houses ablaze in the pre dawn attack.

Camp leader of Nongosho Primary School in Dan-Anacha, Mr. Torkula Dooior lamenting the challenges facing the people said they have not received any relief material from government and appealed to relevant agencies of government to come to their aid. He noted that the main challenge facing the people was food and water, adding that many women and children were the most affected as the men go out in search of what to eat.

“Though government has deployed security, they are complaining of fuel to patrol the area, which has further compounded the problem as the attackers are laying siege on our displaced homes and farmland,” he said.

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