A civil society organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has expressed strong worry over what it described as ‘graveyard’ silence, ineptitude and inaction by the President Muhammadu Buhari to the violence perpetrated by armed Fulani herdsmen.
The group warned that Nigeria could dangerously be on the path of civil war if nothing is done.
Also, the group warned the law enforcement agencies to rein in their commanders and management to stop deploying armed security operatives to work in cohort with suspected armed Fulani herdsmen to create anarchy and civil unrest across Nigeria.
HURIWA in a statement by its head, Emmanuel Onwubiko, alleged that some top commanders within the 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, without any express authorisation from the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, had illegally deployed armed soldiers to invade Awgu, an Enugu State community, whereby 76 indigenous Igbo farmers were arrested and hauled into the Umuahia prison for allegedly resisting the plots and activities of some Fulani herdsmen to annex some of their ancestral farmlands for the purposes of grazing of cattle.
The group strongly recommended the security operatives acting in the most efficiently professional manners to immediately dismantle and arrest the armed Fulani herdsmen “who are currently engaging in the criminal kidnap of prominent Nigerians for the purposes of extorting heavy ransoms.”
HURIWA particularly condemned the kidnap in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State of a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Aniako Celestine, was abducted by suspected Fulani herdsmen recently on his way from his home town, Ezeagu.
The rights group therefore said military and police commanders within the South-east must stop “this dangerous trend,” adding that the fact that the herdsmen demanded a ransom of N10 million through the hostage’s mobile number has demonstrated the sophisticated nature of this crime.
It wondered why the law enforcement agents are yet to deploy the necessary tracking technological systems to arrest these armed kidnappers.
HURIWA stated that: “The frightening report in the dailies that the activities of herdsmen in Ugwuleshi, Awgu Local Government Area of the state last week, led to destruction of farmland and livestock worth millions of naira and the detention of 76 members of the community, who were later granted bail by Umuahia Magistrate’s Court last Friday, following Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s intervention, is a serious cause for concern.
“The further aggravating news that Fulani herdsmen had also killed two sisters in Abbi last month leaving 17 houses burnt is reprehensible and abominable. The president should therefore implement transparent measures to disarm these armed Fulani marauders who are currently rampaging all across Nigerian communities.
“The federal government headed by the Fulani indigene of Katsina State must act now to prevent the imminent civil war which may be occasioned by the unwarranted levels of destruction by armed Fulani herdsmen.”