Leading a South East caucus of the National Assembly, NASS, to the palace of the traditional ruler of Atakwu Akegbe-Ugwu, Igwe Greg Ugwu, the lawmaker representing Nkanu-West/Nkanu-East Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Chukwuemeka Ujam said: “The NASS condemns this dastardly act while consoling the families of the affected victims.”
Irked by the recurring killing and maiming of villagers in Enugu State by Fulani herdsmen and the seeming hopelessness of the security architecture in the state, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, yesterday, described the governors of the South-eastern states as weak and incapable of performing the primary function of governance.
It said that had the governors established a pan-Igbo security outfit in addition to conventional security agencies, the South East geopolitical zone, would have been better protected against rampaging herdsmen. This came as a former Secretary of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nduka Eya, and Ohaneze Youth Council, OYC, said President Muhammdu Buhari was treating the killings being perpetrated by herdsmen with kid gloves, noting that herdsmen were being encouraged in their actions by the alleged soft disposition of the presidency.
The trend, MASSOB stated, suggested that only Igbo people could be relied on for the protection of lives and property in Igbo land, adding that it was suicidal for the governors to have had confidence in security agents, given the recent experiences of herdsmen attacks. The groups’ frustration was on the heels of findings by Saturday Vanguard which revealed that many were losing confidence in the ability of the state governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, at protecting his people against further attacks.
Majority, who vented their frustration, observed that the perceived inaction of the state government in the face of increasing attacks suggested that he lacks political will. This assertion was predicated on the fact that the governors of Ekiti and Abia states, had while responding to the activities of the herdsmen, promulgated laws aimed at checkmating their unwholesome movements.
Specifically, the Ekiti State House of Assembly passed a bill banning free cattle grazing in the state, while Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu had ordered the revival of the moribund state-owned vigilante group, the Abia State Vigilante Services (AVS), to enhance community policing. These, among others, were the measures many told Saturday Vanguard, had long been expected of Ugwuanyi, who had experienced series of devastating attacks on Enugu communities by herdsmen in the last four months.
However, MASSOB in a statement by its leader, Mr. Uchenna Madus, said: “We blame Igbo leaders for these unchallenged confrontations, unwarranted and cowardice killing of our people by Fulani herdsmen in our own land. “The known enemies have the effrontery to commit this sacrilege today against Ndigbo who they were afraid of during Nigeria/Biafra war because Igbo political, traditional, religious, opinion leaders are afraid of Buhari.
“Until Igbo leaders wake up from their slumber and understand the efficiency, efficacy, and potency of Igbo-based grassroots organizations including the Biafra agitating groups who are committed to Ndigbo, Igbo land will continue to experience more devastating attacks.
“Why should Igbo governors continue to rely on the security personnel in their states, spending millions of naira on them while neglecting groups that can ensure security in Igbo land?”
In like manner, OYC in a statement by Mazi Alex Okemiri said: “The Fulani herdsmen continue to attack all parts of the country despite assurances by Mr. President that it would stop. “It is clear now that Mr. President has no control over them. We call on Ndigbo, Southerners, Middle Beltans and moderate Arewa people to defend themselves in the face of these continuous killings and inability of the Federal Government to protect them. Self-protection and preservation are the first laws in heaven.
“The Enugu State government should act like the Abia State governor and set up well-armed Vigilante groups in all autonomous communities in the state to engage and checkmate the activities of the wicked and bloodthirsty Fulani herdsmen.”
Similarly, Eya said: “We regard every Hausa man as our brother and friend but these killings must stop. When Fulani herdsmen killed the people of Nimbo, they said they would get to the root of the matter and that it was going to be the last. How can a human being be killed by his or her neighbour for beating a gong to scare away animals?
“If we are one country, let us remain one but if we are not, let us declare the six zones sovereign countries for everybody to go his own way. We are ready to get passports to go to Sokoto or Katsina if the need be.”
On his part, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Nigeria, Dr. Chidi Okoroafor described the development as sacrilegious.
He said: “I share the pain and horror of this violence. The killing of a priest is horrific and barbaric. It is a sacrilegious act which must be condemned in strong terms and even the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria condemns it. Nigeria needs divine intervention and I call on all true Christians not to cease from praying for God’s intervention.
“I call on the federal and state governments to help stop this genocide and systemic killing of our people. Nigeria’s constitution is against intentionally depriving a person of his life. The Nigeria Police should wake up to combat this crime and protect the lives of the citizenry from incessant attacks.”