JNI: Blaming Fulani Herdsmen for Benue, Enugu Attacks Absurd

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  • IPOB, Ohanaeze youths tackle northern govs for defending herdsmen
  • South-east govs to visit troubled Nimbo community this week

By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu and Gboyega Akinsanmi in Lagos and Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia

Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) yesterday said it was absurd to blame Fulani herdsmen for the brutal murders of innocent citizens in Agatu, Benue State, Nnibo, Enugu State and some parts of Nasarawa State.

JNI, an umbrella group of all Nigerian Muslims, however condemned in strong terms the repeated attacks on the innocent citizens, thereby calling on the relevant security agencies to arrest the trend.

It expressed concern over the incessant attacks in a statement by its Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, saying taking up of arms against other citizens “portends grave danger to Nigeria.”

In the statement, the group said it received with great shock and deep concern the news of incessant killings and maiming of innocent lives and the destruction of public and private properties.

But the statement rejected sectional views across the country that blamed Fulani herdsmen for the brutal killing of people in Agatu, Nnibo and some parts of Nasarawa State. 

The statement noted that it “is indeed absurd and most unfortunate that certain groups or people ascribe the incidence on ethnic and/or religious premise and to whimsically apportion blame in order to batter the gradual restoration of peace and security in Nigeria.”

It pointed out that the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State “has debunked the rumours. Likewise, the Inspector General of Police (IG) has also debunked the insinuations over those being blamed.”

It therefore cautioned against packaging crimes in religious and ethnic garments, noting that crimes “are abominable and whoever commits them is criminal. Security agencies should brace up in being proactive and utilise maximally intelligence reports in order to nip in the bud possible eruptions of security problems within and around communities.”

While condemning the repeated heinous attacks, it called on security agencies “to brace up to the trends in order to put a stop to this ugly tide, as human lives are sacred and must be seen to be treated as so.”

The statement said the group, indeed all Nigerians, viewed the fall out of these repeated attacks, particularly the taking up of arms against other citizens as another trend of insecurity, which it said, portended grave danger to the nation.

It said: “We must not forget so soon the adverse effect of the so-called Boko Haram group that claimed the lives of many innocent lives. Hundreds have been abducted, the male forced into insurgency and the females into slavery.“Millions more are wallowing in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Nigeria and in refugee camps in neighbouring countries. public and private properties worth trillions of Naira have been destroyed.”

However, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) worldwide and the Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) have condemned Northern Governors Forum (NGF) for refusing to criminalise the actions of the murderous Fulani herdsmen.

In separate reactions to the outcome of the NGF meeting in Kaduna last Friday, both IPOB and OYC said the 19 governors from northern states have unmasked themselves as the sponsors of the rampaging herdsmen.

The NGF had in their communiqué reportedly said it was an insult to regard Fulani herdsmen as criminals and even went as far as standing facts on its head by saying  “kidnapping originated from South-east does not make us call it Igbo kidnappers.”

But IPOB in a statement issued by the head media and publicity, Emma Powerful strongly condemned the statements from the northern governors which he said was cosmetic and provocative for them to deny that the Hausa-Fulani terrorist groups (masquerading as herdsmen) were not killers and criminals.”

“The statements by the so-called governors who were elected to protect the lives and property of the people prove to the whole world that they are the sponsors of the new emergent terrorist group in disguise as Hausa-Fulani herdsmen and cattle rearers,” IPOB said.

The pro-Biafra group reminded the NGF that “the massacre of our brothers and sisters by the northern governors through their foot soldiers Hausa-Fulani terrorist group in Biafra land will not be in vain” as God Almighty would hold them accountable for the blood of the innocent people killed by the rampaging herdsmen.

IPOB accused the northern governors of indulging in hypocrisy and speaking from both sides of the mouth by their “condemnation of the killing of our people in Agatu in Benue State, Uzo- Uwani Enugu State and Delta State after they had promoted those who committed the heinous crime.

“It doesn’t reflect the true character of people who respect the rule of law,”  IPOB said, adding that the governors of the South-east and South-south should decode the hidden message in the statement from the northern governors.

“We, IPOB, call on the South-east, South-south governors, Senators,  House of Representatives members, politicians, traditional rulers, elders, statesmen and state Houses of Assembly members to sit up for what is coming because Hausa -Fulani Boko Haram terrorist group alleged and their governors have perfected plans to exterminate the lives of the people of Biafra through the Fulani cattle rearers,” the pro-Biafra group said.

The OYC in its reaction pointedly accused the northern governors of being behind the murderous attacks by the herdsmen who have been carrying out attacks in the Middle Belt and Southern part of the country.

In a statement signed by the trio of the national vice-president, Mazi Obinna Achonye, the Coordinator of Ohanaeze Youths in Niger Delta, Comrade Opurum Cheya, and the Rivers State Chairman of OYC, Bobby Ezemuonye, the OYC stated that the “careless statement from the northern governors is an affront to Ndigbo.”

The OYC, which is the youth wing of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, flayed the members of the NGF for their protective posturing and exoneration of the blood thirsty herdsmen whose violent activities have continued to attract local and international condemnations.

“Instead of joining millions of sane minds across the globe in condemning the atrocities of the herdsmen especially last week’s invasion of Enugu community, the governors were busy absolving the criminals of any wrong doing,” OYC lamented.

According to the Ohanaeze youths, the 19 northern governors have failed to show good leadership and should bury their heads in shame for defending criminals, adding that “the careless statement by the northern governors amounts to adding insult to injury on the genocide carried out by the Fulani herdsmen in Nimbo community in Uzo- Uwani local government of Enugu State”.

Said the OYC: The statement (by NGF) portends serious danger to our national security and we stand to be corrected in our conviction that the Northern Governors by their utterance are the real sponsors of these herdsmen.

“Instead of condoling with the families of the victims of the unprovoked attacks, the governors were trying to legalise illegality. We have no reason to doubt that the herdsmen are their foot solders acting their evil script.”

The OYC also tackled the northern governors over their claims that kidnapping originated from South East, noting that the 19 governors have betrayed their ignorant of history hence their penchant in making “wild, misleading and untenable claims.”

Given the provocative stance of the northern governors the OYC said that the South-east Governors Forum (SGF) should not hesitate to reply their northern counterparts in eh next 48 hours.

“If after 48 hours South-east governors fail to reply the Northern Governors’ Forum we will know that they are cowards, and then we will take our destiny in our hands,” the Ohanaeze youths said.

Meanwhile, South-east governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday rose from their closed door meeting with the Deputy Senate President,  Ike Ekweremadu in Enugu state with  a resolve to visit the troubled Ukpabi Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area where scores of persons were gruesomely murdered last Monday.

The governors include,  Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), David Umahi (Ebonyi) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).

Briefing journalists at the end of their meeting, Ekweremadu said the governors would get their colleague governors from Anambra, Chief Willy Obiano and Rochas Okorocha of Imo State to join them for the proposed visit to the community within the week.

He said the visit is aimed at taking stock of the carnage in the area, with a view to taking a definite position as leaders of the South-east zone.

He explained that all the five governors would have been part of the meeting,  noting that the impromptu nature of the gathering made it impossible for them to reach out to the governors of Anambra and Imo States.

They however condemned in strong terms the massacre of innocent, hapless and defenceless people of Ukpabi Nimbo community and asked that efforts should be made to arrest the security problem before it spiralled out of hand.