Abia Group Blows Hot On Killings By Fulani

Mohammed Zurai and others arrested said they planned the attacks in Kogi state

By Akanimo Sampson,

NGWA United Alliance (NUA), a group of the Ngwa people in the United States,
says the continued bloodletting in Nigeria, by Fulani hersmen is unacceptable.

Messrs Ephraim Udo Jacob, Alwell Nwankwoala, and Azubike Aliche, Chair, Secretary, and Public Relations Officer respectively, made this known in an online statement wired to our correspondent on Friday.

According to them, in the early hours of April 25, 2016, armed Hausa/Fulani herdsmen invaded
Ukpabi-Nimbo, a rural farming community in the Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu State,
In the attack, aptly dubbed the Nimbo Massacre, the herdsmen, numbering over 500, killed up to 46 people, with 14 other victims injured and hospitalized.

The cause of the attack was said to be the refusal of the community leaders to allow the herdsmen occupy a portion of their farm lands for cattle grazing. The marauders, also, reportedly burnt down a Roman Catholic Church and 11 houses in the

”Over the years, there have been reports that armed herdsmen attacked other farming
communities, including Abbi also in Uzo-Uwani in Enugu State and Agatu in Benue State,
Nigeria. There have also been reports of killings by terrorist herdsmen in Delta State, Taraba
State, Nassarawa State, Oyo State and Ekiti State. In the Massacre at Agatu, more than 400
people were reportedly killed and their villages occupied. At the time of this statement, the latest
attacks happened on Friday May 20, 2016, in which two people were killed in Oke-Ako in the
Ikole local government of Ekiti State, southwest Nigeria.

”As in the Nimbo attack, the invaders used guns, bows, arrows, swords and machetes to inflict injuries on their victims, in efforts to take possession of their lands or to forcefully have their cattle graze on farmlands on which the landowners have their cash crops”, they said.

NUA, an association of Ngwa people living in the United States, condemns, unequivocally, the menace of the Hausa/Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria, particularly in Igbo land. We view with concern that:

1. Small-scale subsistence farming is the mainstay of the rural communities that are the
targets of the invading herdsmen. Any destruction of their farmlands and crops by cattle
will cause famine and have huge negative implication for Nigeria’s fledgling economy.

2. The herdsmen threaten the safety and security of the people. Already, the Fulani
herdsmen have been classified in the Global Terror Index as the fourth deadliest terror
organization in the world.

3. These terrorists operate unimpeded, in spite of the presence and knowledge of law
enforcement personnel. Credible reports indicate that, in both the Nimbo and the Oke-
Ako cases, the herdsmen gave notice of their impending attacks, which was duly passed
on to the Police and other law enforcement agencies but who would not arrive to confront
the attackers until they had completed their nefarious actions. In particular, the governor
of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, was said to have called a security meeting on the eve
of the attack at Nimbo with that attack being the only item on the agenda. Yet, the police
failed to respond, citing non-receipt of orders from their superiors in Abuja to intervene.
Indeed, reports indicate that in the Nimbo, Enugu case indigenes who were protesting
earlier killings by the herdsmen were arrested by the military before the latest massacre

4. The APC government, led by President Muhammed Buhari, appears indifferent to the
plight of the victims of the massacres, given how long it takes the government to even
offer a comment or take decisive action against the terrorists. Interestingly, Buhari, before
becoming president, was said to be a patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders, a group
that represents the interests of herdsmen. Buhari is said to have led a delegation to the
then Oyo State governor, Lam Adesina, in 2000 when herdsmen were attacked in Oyo
State. Is Buhari creating the impression that the lives of the herdsmen are more important
than those of the Igbos and other Nigerians of other ethnic groups?

5. The herdsmen are reported to go about with guns as sophisticated as AK-47s. That the
security agencies have not disarmed these individuals who are not licensed to carry guns
in public is curious, to say the least.

6. The activities of the Fulani herdsmen threaten unity and security of Nigeria, as one
nation. A situation in which members of a major ethnic group from the Muslim North is
allowed to kill, rape, maim and destroy economic crops of members of other major ethnic
group in the Christian South is bound to cause ethnic disaffection, hatred and, eventually,
ignite a war.

NUA calls on:
1. Nigerians to take their own security into their own hands! All communities at every level
should organize vigilante groups targeting, essentially, the presence of Fulani herdsmen
in their communities, so as to stop them from gaining access in the first place or to repel,
effectively, any attacks from these terrorists. To this end, the NUA commends Governor
Okezie Ikpeazu for his decision to resuscitate and reorganize the Bakassi Boys vigilante
group in Abia State. The NUA also calls on the state governors to follow the lead of their
Ekiti state counterpart to ban nomadic cattle grazing since it being used as a guise by
terrorists to attack and kill their people. Also, the governors are requested to set up
civilian task forces to protect and defend their citizens from this menace, since the federal
government may not have enough soldiers and policemen to be everywhere to protect
citizens, even if they are so disposed.

2. The community leaders in Northern Nigeria who, in many cases, are the real owners of
these cattle should realize the danger to the corporate existence of Nigeria if they allow
their herdsmen to destroy the source of livelihood for other Nigerians. They should know
that they cannot make their livelihood through cattle rearing on the backs of poor
Nigerian farmers. Cattle rearing is a private economic enterprise and cannot be done at
the expense of others. They need to educate themselves on the dangers of cattle grazing
in other parts of Nigeria. Therefore, the NUA calls on the owners of the cattle to
immediately establish ranches for their cattle in their own states, knowing that it is not
tenable to expect to have grazing land anywhere, particularly in the southeast where our
own people who are traditionally farmers who are running out of farmland.

3. President Buhari should withdraw, forthwith, the so called National Grazing Reserve Bill
now in the National Assembly, as it is not a solution to the menace posed by the
Hausa/Fulani herdsmen on other ethnic groups, particularly the Igbo. On the other hand,
Buhari should deploy the information machinery of the Federal Government to educate
these herdsmen on the dangers of provoking or attacking local farmers and the
inevitability of reprisal attacks. The sense of entitlement that these herdsmen display is
destructive to the tenets of national unity, cohesion and coexistence of the diverse ethnic
groups in Nigeria. Rather than deploy soldiers to protect these marauders, the government
will guarantee peace better if they are told to get out of other parts of the country and
make their own arrangement for cattle grazing in their own land, preferably in the North.

4. President Buhari to immediately disarm all the Fulani Herdsmen, and arrest and
prosecute the perpetrators of the massacres at Agatu and Nimbo.

5. The Federal Government of Nigeria to compensate all the victims of Fulani herdsmen

The NUA calls on the relevant organs of the United Nations and other international organizations
1. Inquire into reports that the herdsmen are Boko Haram elements in disguise.
2. Inquire into reports of collaboration between Nigeria’s security forces and the herdsmen,
especially in Enugu where indigenes who were protesting earlier killings by the herdsmen
were arrested by the military before the massacre.
3. Investigate the killings at Agatu and Nimbo and ensure that victims are paid adequate
4. Provide relief materials and other forms of aide to the victims of the terrorist herdsmen.
5. Assist Nigeria to combat the menace of Fulani herdsmen terrorists before more lives are