An Igbo socio-cultural group, Izu Umunna Cultural Association said it is dismayed by the level of “brigandage and carnage” being unleashed on the people of South-Eastern Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen.
The group in a press statement signed by its President, Dr Ugo Ihekuna and Secretary General, Chief Elvis Chukwu, made available to journalists in Jos yesterday, stated that the association is particularly worried by the apparent poor response of security agencies to the atrocities by the herdsmen and silence by the Federal Government.
It said the action of the herdsmen was coming at a time the National Assembly has begun deliberations on the National Grazing Reserves Commission, saying it is one of the grand designs to alienate and appropriate lands in the Southeast for northerners.
“The strategy is to use Fulani herdsmen to coerce local farmers by ferocious force of arms to relinquish part of their farmland for grazing of their livestock as panacea for peace”, the group alleged.
Izu Umunna said it is concerned that the scenario as being played out in the legislature is to use the instrument of constitutional amendment to carve out large parts of land in the Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria and hand over to Fulani herdsmen.
“With time, the Fulani will demand for the establishment of their chiefdom as they are doing in Kachia in Kaduna State where grazing reserve was carved out for them by the government of Northern Nigeria in the early 1960s”, the statement warned.
“This must send a strong signal to the government and people of the South East that having devastated their lands through the activities of the Boko Haram, which had created deserts in almost the entire length and breadth of North-East, the next alternative is to turn to the South East where there is lush green vegetation for grazing,” the group stated.
To curb the menace of Fulani herdsmen, Izu Umunna are asking the people of the Southeast to stop the use of “Hausa/Fulani” as guards in their homes as it has been established that the guards are often guides to the mercenaries if and when they want to strike.
The group therefore warned the Federal Government to as much as possible prevent a situation where Ndigbo would resort to self-help in order to protect themselves. (The Authority)