Killing fields: Ebonyi herdsmen killings rise to 52

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Major General Muhammadu Buhari

The pan-northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum, on Monday said South-East leaders had left their responsibilities for a separatist group,  the Indigenous People of Biafra.

The ACF National Publicity Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Yawe, stated this in an interview with The PUNCH, as the number of those who died during herdsmen attack on three Ebonyi communities rose to 52 on Monday.

The ACF in a statement by its Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbe, issued a travel advisory to northerners planning to visit the South-East. It said except such trips were matters of life and death,  they should be shelved.

The spate of violence in the South-East continued with 11 people killed in fresh attacks during  IPOB’s stay-at-home.

In Enugu State, a former  High Court judge, Justice Stanley Nnaji, was shot dead along Ebeano Tunnel, Enugu on Sunday evening.

Also, one of our correspondents on Monday learnt that the corpse of the  Chief Provost of Nigeria Immigration Service, Imo State Command, Okiemute Mrere, who was assassinated on Saturday, was discovered in a bush on Sunday morning.

Between 2am and 3am on Monday,  Goodview Hotel  at the Nekede axis of Owerri, Imo State, was burnt.

In the afternoon, gunmen burnt the Amandugba Divisional Police Headquarters in the Isu Local Government Area of the state.

Also on Monday, four policemen were killed in various parts of  Enugu. Sources told one of our correspondents that one policeman was killed in Uwani in Enugu South, two at Mgbeme area of Coal Camp  and another one killed along Okpara Avenue opposite Central Bank of Nigeria all in the Enugu North.

In Ebonyi State, a policeman and four Biafran agitators, were killed at Nnodo area of the state during IPOB’s stay-at-home.

Expressing concern about the killings,  the ACF spokesman, Yawe, said the South-East leaders should live up to their responsibilities.

In the interview with The PUNCH, he said the association was against any form of retaliating the killing of Gulak.

He stated that the forum was only concerned about how South-East leaders had abdicated their responsibilities to  IPOB.

Yawe said, “We are against retaliation because it didn’t help matters and never helped matters in the past. We are only concerned that the leaders of South- East have abdicated responsibility and  left their fate in the hands of IPOB and the Eastern Security Network  who have little knowledge of the history of their people.”

Also, the ACF  Chairman,  Ogbe,  warned against the killing of northerners resident and or visiting in the South, particularly South-East.

ACF warns northerners, Wike attacks Uzodimma

He gave the warning in a statement titled, ‘ACF warns over attacks, killing of northerners,’ and released by the National Publicity Secretary of the forum.

The statement read, “The ACF has noticed of late with increasing concern the attacks on/killing of northerners resident and or visiting the South, particularly the South-East. It was so bad at a point in February this year that the northern traders who normally supply the food needs of the south, the Amalgamated Union Food and Cattle Distributors of Nigeria, embarked on a strike action to make the point that their lives also mattered. The ACF was among those who put pressure, on, and ultimately convinced, the AUFCDN to call off the strike. The ACF did that in the spirit of one Nigeria.

“Yesterday, Sunday 30th May, 2021, one of leaders in the north was brutally murdered on the streets of Owerri Imo State by gunmen, most likely of IPOB and Eastern Security Network, who have been waging a public campaign of killings and other forms of brutalities, to realise their dream country of Biafra.

“The Arewa Consultative Forum hereby issues a very strong advisory to all northerners who may wish to travel to the South-East; northerners to weigh the importance and necessity of such travels. Unless such trips are absolutely necessary and of compelling nature, like matters of life and death, they should not be made. And where the trip must be undertaken, the traveller should take every security precaution in his or her movements while there, including linking with the security agencies at the place or places to be visited.

“The need to issue this travel advisory has become necessary against the backdrop of history, wherein events such the killings of northern leaders in 1966 triggered the events that led to a civil war that cost the country thousands of lives, and an untold sufferings to millions of innocent people. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and a stitch in time saves nine!”

“The Arewa Consultative Forum also wishes to call, with the strongest voice, on the security agencies to do everything possible to apprehend those who assassinated Ahmed Gulak in cold blood and bring them to justice. The lives of northerners, and indeed of all Nigerians matter.

“Unfortunately in the midst of this serious national crisis it would appear that the entire narrative from the South East has been taken over by IPOB and so-called unknown gunmen to the exclusion of established leaders. This is worrisome.”

As the ACF issued the travel advisory,  there was tension in Jos, the Plateau State capital on Monday, as Igbo traders, who had earlier opened their shops at Terminus Market shut them because of fear of attacks by northern youths.

A  detachment of policemen took over the market following palpable tension that enveloped the area and the adjoining streets.

When one of our correspondents visited the market at 5pm, it was observed that most shops belonging to the Igbo were closed while those owned by northerners continued with their businesses.

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