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Group Warns Southeast Governors Against Turning  Igbo Land Into Jihadist Territories 

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Human rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety); a Nigeria’s leading research and investigative outfit, has strongly warned Governors  of the South-East of Nigeria  over alleged Jihadist violence prone areas such as Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna.

The group, pointed out that “despite our informed alarm raised in our seminally and widely read statement of March 11, 2024; available pieces of irrefutable evidence have continued to indicate grave danger signals ahead for the general security and safety of the Mainland and Outpost Igbo, their defenseless populations, territories and properties which totally and cumulatively threaten their fundamental human rights to Freedom of Religion or Belief and profession of Christianity in particular.

“It saddens our heart that when shocking and terrifying statistics are being reeled out day in day out across Nigeria and African countries by  international state and non-state actor investigative and research Rights and Humanitarian bodies; raising consciousness and alarms and pointing out dangers arising from the genocidal activities of the Fulani, Shuwa, Baggara, Kanuri and Maghreb radical Islamists or jihadists in Nigeria and Africa; the Governors and Governments of the Mainland Igbo or South-East are not taking such statics seriously.

Rather, they deafeningly and dangerously keep lending their hands, implicitly or explicitly, in flooding and saturating the Region with locally and regionally assembled Fulani jihadists and allied others; armed with prohibited firearms and covertly accorded “above the law status” and state protection by the present and immediate past Central Governments of Nigeria and the country’s Security Forces (NSFs). 

The organization said that “Today, the Igbo Land civilian Governors; both elected and selected, have become sobriquet: “Chief Insecurity Officers” of their respective Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States.  

It noted in a statement made available to newsmen Monday that “It has also been observed and widely suspected that the major motive behind the Mainland Igbo Governors and Governments’ betrayal of trust and compromise of the Region’s territorial, citizens and property security and safety is rooted in forces behind their governorship selection or election and post-election court processes.

The statement was jointly signed by  the leaders of the group which includes  Chief  Emeka Umeagbalasi, Criminologist-Researcher and Board Chairman of the organization and  Chinwe Umeche Esquire who is the  Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program, Obianuju Igboeli Esquire  Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Program

 Others are,  Ndidiamaka Bernard Esquire Head, International Justice and Human Right

Ositadinma Agu  Head, International Contacts and Mobilization and  Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire  Head, Campaign and Publicity @ Intersociety

 This, it claimed,  requires “loyalty of the graveyard” just to stay in power for mere maximum eight years. The above is to the extent that it has dangerously become a routine for an Igbo Land Governor/Government to compromise the religious, identity, property and territorial security and safety of the governed just to stay in public office by hook or crook.    

“We at the international Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law had in our statement of March 11, 2024, titled: South-East Lands Too Tiny For Grab For (Fulani) “Ranching/Settlements: Enugu, Abia And Anambra Govts, Others Must Back Off; strongly accused the Governors and Governments of the affected Mainland Igbo States of secretly forcing several communities in their States into ceding their forest reserves and farmlands for veiled or disguised Fulani herders’ settlements

It described the situation  as “a very dangerous timebomb presently detonating and uprooting the indigenous Christian communities, their natives and properties in places like Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna.

” The most shocking and alarming of it all is that the time-bomb-prone arrangements by the Mainland Igbo Governors and other strongly suspected jihad enablers are being executed using different disguises and veiled names. It must be publicly remembered that the affected Governors and Governments particularly those of Enugu, Anambra and Abia have severally denied involvement in such dangerously security threatened exercise. 

“However, irrefutable findings made by Intersociety have rubbished such denials; with most striking  being a recent rejoinder statement issued by the National Leadership of the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACABAN), which unequivocally disclosed that the South-East Governors have commendable hearkened to their demand by providing lands for Fulani herders’ settlements in the South-East-so as to find a lasting solution to incessant “Herders farmers clash.

According to the statement, “The (rejoinder) statement of the National Leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) was issued on March 16, 2024; five days after Intersociety’s statement referenced above. Signed by its National Secretary, Bello Aliyu Gotomo, the MACABAN statement described as “unfortunate the opposition to (Fulani) ranching in the South-East by some groups within the zone, especially the International Group (Society) for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety”. 

“The MACABAN statement said “it took exception to Intersociety’s statement and interpreted the submission of the group as laden with ethnic hate and dysfunctional in this age when patriotic Nigerians are bent on charting a common front for a united and progressive nation”. 

“MACBAN also “implored the Governors (and Governments) of the Southeast states to disregard such statements” and said they “remain optimistic that the Governors of the Southeast, along with all well-meaning persons and organizations in Igboland, will continue to recognize our essence in the livestock value chain in the geopolitical zone and continue to be fair in accommodating our people” 

“And that “recognizing the industrious nature of the Igbo people and their successes across the globe (outside their traditional homeland), we trust in their continued hospitality towards our people in Igboland and implore the different tiers of government to take a critical look at the security challenges across the country and save Nigerians the humongous losses in materials and lives”.

‘The cowardly acts of the Mainland Igbo Governors and Governments have paved way for saturation of major communal farmlands, bushes, and forest reserves by locally and regionally assembled Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others. 

“It must be remembered that Intersociety had seminally and exclusively researched and found that as at 2020/2021, “not less than 700 communal locations particularly bushes, forests and farmlands located in Mainland and Outpost indigenous Igbo areas of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Rivers, Benue, Edo, Kogi, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Nasarawa States have been invaded and seized by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others; armed with illicit automatic weapons; remotely assembled and protected by the then Central Government of Nigeria and its, some say: “Islamic inspired security forces”.

The added that ” It was also observed that as at August 2019, only about 139 of such locations were traced to Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo-following the Ukpabi Nimbo Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen massacre of April 2016; killing at least 48 rural Christians and the early 2016 Southern ward movement of the Jihadists armed with AK-47s-remotely protected by national coercive agencies.

“Intersociety’s findings above were later in 2021 corroborated by a retired DIG of Police who issued a disturbing statement confirming that “as at 2020, intelligence at his disposal as then serving Police DIG indicated that not less than 336 locations in the South-East have been seized and occupied by Fulani Herdsmen armed with AK-47 Assault Rifles”.

The statement noted that ” Intersociety also investigated and traced the Mainland Igbo communal forests, bushes and farmlands’ seizure and occupation by the Jihadists to “a later part of 2015 camouflaged Army National Forest Mapping”; which resulted to the alleged State and military-protected influx and mass movement of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others into Southern and Middle Belt forests, bushes and farmlands.

“Today, the situation has become dicey and worsened by cowardly dispositions of the Mainland Igbo Governors and Governments. It has severally been noticed that the Mainland Igbo Govs are not only so scared of mentioning “Jihadist Fulani matters”

“In their security policies and programs they are also in the reckless habit of shifting attention in matters relating to jihadist-prone insecurity and other unsafe conditions perpetrated by the assembled Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others in the Mainland Igbo particularly in the South-East. Not until the MACABAN’s recent statement confirming the Mainland Igbo Govs’ conspiracy in breeding jihadist-prone insecurity and other unsafe conditions; the Govs have been living in denial and employed different disguises to cover up.

“As commendably reported by the News-Band, published on April 23, 2024, a family of wife, husband and maid were abducted by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and taken into a bush where they were held captive and raped for three days until payment of N15m leading to their release amidst bruises in their private parts including the husband’s anus inflicted with several rape wounds. 

“The above shocking details were part of a Save Our Soul (SOS) addressed to Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo of Anambra State by one of the victims who recounted their ordeal in the hands of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen as they were navigating to Ukwulu through Abba Junction after ELDI.

” The victim further said, “I am a native of Ukwulu, married to Nawgwu. On the 17th of April, 2024, we came back to celebrate the marriage of my daughter and we were driving to Ukwulu through Abba Junction, after ELDI, we saw cows crossing the road and stopped.

” Immediately, the cattle men blocked the road and brought out guns and ordered us into the bush where they tied our hands behind us and started beating us. In the bush, they raped me and my maid before my husband every time without mercy.

” The third man tore my husband trousers and continued to rape him in the anus. They took our phones and ordered us to start calling our friends and family and demanded for N100 million for each of us or they will kill us. 

“After 3 days of continuous rape, my maid became sick and started vomiting blood. My husband is dying as his anus is teared to pieces. I cannot stand up properly due to continue rape. 

“They later released us on Saturday (April 20, 2024) after my son-in-law mobilized N15m, from where we were rushed to hospital at Asaba. Your Excellency please save your people by having that bush (in Ukwulu, Dunukofia LGA) surrounded by security people. Please chase out these evil cow men from Anambra. Please stop them from wasting lives. 

“Even as we are leaving, they brought two other boys and took them into captivity. I am now a living dead due to (Jihadist) Fulani (Herdsmen) in my town. Even the villagers cannot react again due to fear.”

The group posited that “the reaction of the Government of Anambra State under Prof Charles Soludo to the abominable and atrocious incident was totally reprehensible, hastily conclusive, criminally judgmental, and primitively cowardly. Apart from being clear evidence of vicarious liability and complicity, it is also a mortal sin against God and unbecoming of “a traditional red-cap Governor”. 

“The Gov and Government of Anambra State had reacted through the Media Aide to the Gov, Mr. Christian Aburime by describing the chief victim’s account as “another concocted narrative, void of credibility and mischievously syndicated to paint a scenario of insecurity within the peaceful State”.

“It stated that “The most annoying of it all was the Gov’s manifest bias and reliance on widely perceived compromised third parties (Traditional Throne of Ukwulu and Anambra State Police Spokesman)’s accounts as basis for jumping into such hasty conclusion and cowardly reaction.

It said that  manifestly bias position of the Government of Anambra State is a clear testament of cover-ups and cowardly handling of lives and properties of the defenseless citizens of the State.

They equally  averred that itfurther puts a big question mark on ceaseless massacre of defenseless citizens using Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and blood thirsty security operatives-both conventional and unconventional. 

For Intersociety, “The Gov’s reaction was also laden with fundamental loopholes including absence of detailed investigation, reliance on possibly biased or compromised third parties as basis for jumping into hasty conclusion, disregard to family-hood and the victims’ personal dignity; and failure to extend humanitarian services to them; having been abominably battered and sexually abused.

” The Gov could not even invite and have a fatherly talk with the victim-family. Gov Charles Soludo’s reaction is also tantamount to issuance of license to the Jihadists to “abduct, kill, rape, extort and terrorize” more defenseless citizens of the State and their properties.

” By the action of the Gov, too, he can sufficiently be accused of aiding and abetting Fulani Herdsmen-led jihadism in the State. This is more so when the chief victim’s account is too factual and real to be false or concocted. Her account has also exposed the Government of Anambra State as being too afraid and cowardly to expose and go after the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and their jihadist atrocities across the State. 

“It may be correct to say that “the fear of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen as the beginning of wisdom for Soludo’s Government” has become a major security and safety policy direction of the Government of  the State under his watch.

“Intersociety had in its June 5, 2023, statement called on Gov Charles Soludo of Anambra State to conduct detailed investigations into a strong allegation made by the leaders of the Pro Biafra Movement that his Homeland Commissioner and the State Ministry of Homeland Security have been aiding the incursions by the Fulani Herdsmen Jihadists into Awka North and neighboring areas”.

” Commissioner Chikaodili Anara was also accused of “being the brain behind the general security challenges across the State including using AVG (Anambra Vigilante Services) to murder unarmed citizens and label them “IPOB/ESN members”;

” in addition to allegation of “procurement and forceful seizure of strategic communal lands for Jihadist Fulani settlements”. Among the communities said to be witnessing the unchecked influx of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in Anambra State, according to the allegation are: Igbariam, Achalla, Amanuke, Ugbene, Ukwulu, Nando, Urum, Mgbakwu,   

Others are, Isuanaocha, Ebenebe, Awkuzu; all located in Awka North, Ayamelum and Oyi Local Government Areas. The Gov and Government of Anambra State have since then turned deaf ears and refused to investigate the matter till date.

“In Enugu State, the State Government is still reportedly stopping at nothing in forcing several communities to cede their agriculturally strategic lands for veiled settlement of Nigeria’s most violent group (Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others). We had in our first warning statement of March 11, 2024 disclosed how the Government of Enugu State was coercing various communities in the State into ceding their lands for settlement of the Fulani Jihadists using different disguises.

” One of the affected communities cited is Elugwu-Akwu Community in Old Achi part of Oji River Local Government Area. It has also been brought to our attention that the Government of Enugu State recently issued coded directives to leaders of the affected communities including Elugwu-Akwu to henceforth send delegates to Government House of Enugu State for continuation and conclusion of arrangements and “agreements” on how to hand over their lands to the State Government. 

“The State Government also reportedly restrained its top functionaries from visiting such communities to avoid being traced and publicly reported. 

“It has also become a public knowledge that Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others have saturated forests, bushes and farmlands in over 46 communities in 10 of the Enugu’s 18 LGAs; terrorizing, unchecked, the defenseless indigenous natives of such areas including Aninri (Okpanku, Oduma, Nenwe, etc); Awgu (Agbogugu, Agbudu, Mgbowo, Awgu, etc); Igbo Eze North (Enugu-Ezike, etc); Oji River (Oji River Urban, Ugwuoba, Inyi, Akpugo-Eze, Olor, Achi Agu and Achi Uno, etc); Nkanu East (Akpofu, Amagunze, Nara-Unateze, Nkerefi, Mburubu, etc); Nkanu West (Akpugo, Akegbe-Ugwu, Ozalla, Obuofia, Agbani, Obe, etc); Udi (Eke, Obinagu, Agbudu, Nsude, Egede, etc); Uzo Uwani (Abbi, Nimbo, Nkpologwu, Adani, Iggar, etc); Isi-Uzo (Eha Amufu, Mbu, Ikem, Neke, etc); Enugu East (Ugwuogo Nike, etc); and Ezeagu (Olo, Iwollo, Akama, Amansiodo, Obeleagu-Umana, Umumba-Ndiagu, etc)

“The Mainland Igbo Govs and Governments have also failed woefully to protect the natural environments including their wildlife in the Region and if extreme care is not taken urgently and as a matter of public interest, the Mainland Igbo’s natural environments will end up being destroyed by more than 70% in the next 50 years and 80% of the remainder will end up in the hands of  the politically protected Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others; thereby cutting down brutally the present life expectancies further by 30% as a result of personal and environmental security threats to the lives of the citizens of the Region.

” In other words, in about 50 years’ time, if extreme care is not taken, average life expectancy in the Mainland Igbo will likely drop to about 40 years-following threats caused by reckless, unchecked and indiscriminate destruction of natural environments and genocidal activities of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others who are politically protected in forests and bushes of the Region. 

“The most shocking is that these threats have conspiratorially been traced to the Mainland Igbo Govs and Governments. Apart from widespread destruction of the Mainland Igbo natural environments; management and protection of such environments in recent years are also nothing to write about. Sources of oxygen (from plants and weeds); the livewire of human living and survival are gravely facing extinction in the Mainland Igbo as against sources of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide; the mainstay of plants and weeds which are on rapid increase. 

“The Mainland Igbo Govs have also become the arch enemies of the Region’s natural environments and their wildlife-thereby threatening the right of the indigenous citizens of the Region to exist, develop and ethically and environmentally protected and secured. 


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