Tension as Miyetti Allah calls for establishment of Fulani vigilantes in S’East
* We‘ll resist such attempt in Igboland -Ohanaeze
* It’s insulting, suspicion —Afenifere
By Steve Oko
Tension is building across South East zone as the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has called for establishment of Fulani Youth Vigilante body in the zone.
This, according to the herders association, is to complement the efforts of vigilantes in their host communities’ and other constituted security units in the zone.
Miyetty Allah made the call Thursday in Enugu during the South-East Security Summit organized by the South-East Chambers of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture, SECCIMA, in collaboration with South-East Governors Forum, SEGF.
But in a swift reaction, the apex Igbo socio -cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has vowed to vehemently resist any attempt to set up such vigilante group on Igbo soil.
This is as the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere described the request as not only provocative but suspicious.
The cattle breeders made the request just as the South-East governors told them that nobody in the zone was against cattle rearing but that it was paramount for everyone to understand that there are rules of engagement in every relationship, including that of herders and farmers.
Speaking at the Enugu summit , the National President of MACBAN, Alhaji Mohammadu Kirowa, regretted that once insecurity was mentioned in Nigeria, Fulani herdsmen became the central focus.
Kirowa who was represented by the National Secretary, Alhaji Baba Usman Ngelzerma, MACBAN , however acknowledged that South-East had been very accommodating to strangers including herdsmen.
He, therefore, condemned all forms of violence and criminality perpetrated by bad eggs among herders in the zone.
The MACBAN boss, said the establishment of Fulani Youth Vigilante group would help reduce such criminalities as the youths would work in collaboration with their host communities.
His words : “We will solicit your support and cooperation in adopting dialogue where problems exist as a means of brokering peace and to report cases against our members to either the Fulani Youth Vigilante Group, state or local branch of the association”.
Responding, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo said no Fulani vigilante group would be allowed to operate in any part of Igbo land as doing so would expose the region to grave danger.
Ohanaeze accused herdsmen of violating Igbo women in their farms, kidnapping and murder among other crimes.
Nwodo who said granting such requested amounted to handing over Igbo land to invaders warned South East Governor against considering the deceptive request, which he said would spell doom for Igboland.
“Ohanaeze vehemently opposes any attempt by Miyetti Allah to establish any form of vigilante group in Igboland.
“These are people who have ravaged our farms, raped our women and slaughtered their husbands. As at today, they technically enjoy immunity from arrest and prosecution. They freely display AK-47 rifles not permitted to be used by civilians.
“Extending this measure to them will turn them into an army of occupation and invite unavoidable confrontations with our youths.
“We e will resist such a policy with every might available to us”, Nwodo thundered.
Responding also, the South East Governor’s Forum said though it was not against cattle rearing , the rules of engagement must be respected.
Chairman of the Forum, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, said nobody would be allowed to violate the custom of the people.
“We will continue to accommodate the Miyetti Allah but our plea to them is that as we are magnanimous to allow settlers, every community has a custom that needs not to be violated. It is the violation that breeds problem.
“I believe that at the end, resolutions will generate further national dialogue, promote agenda-setting and a solution to the lingering national insecurity”.
Reacting to the development in a phone interview, Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, described the request as an insult and a provocation.
“It is a provocative agenda which shows that there is a clear agenda to provoke war.
“The South East has come under the siege of marauding herdsmen with authorities in the land shying away from enforcing law and order.
“The height of it all is now this insulting call by Miyetti Allah. They should be careful how they poke their wicked fingers into the eyes of the people. The gentility of a lion is never a sign of cowardice.”
Afenifere warned Miyetti Allah and their sponsors not to take the gentleness and calm disposition of other ethnic groups for granted.Steve Oko, Publisher/C.E.O, WaWa News Global. For more information on advert placement and news coverage, contact us on: 08038725600, or via email [email protected]; [email protected] Always read WaWa News Global - Your most dependable online news platform for the latest breaking news in Nigeria.