Christopher Isiguzo and Gideon Arinze in Enugu
Umbrella Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, rose from its monthly meeting yesterday with a call to Ndigbo to reactivate their local defence outfits in readiness against the alleged threat by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACABAN) to invade the South-east.
The group said in a communique signed by the President- General, Chief Nnia Nwodo that “Ohanaeze Ndigbo has noted the assertion and denial of Miyetti Allah that the South-east will soon boil. We are waiting for them.”
It directed Ndigbo to be vigilant and await “our next directives after consultation with our political and religious leaders, legislators, traditional rulers, town unions and affiliate organisations.”
The group frowned at the “ongoing negotiations between the federal government and Miyetti Allah to give them a grant of N100 billion.
“Why on earth these gun trotting militants should be protected financially and insulated from criminal prosecution while IPOB, an armless group of Igbos is proscribed and categorised as dangerous to national security, bugs our imagination,” the group said.
Ohanaeze lamented that in the South-east and South-west, colossal ransoms are daily extorted from helpless citizens by kidnappers and many captives killed by the bandits.
It states: “In the South-east and South-west of Nigeria, kidnapping of several indigenes including priests, reveal a huge network of armed herdsmen camped in various bushes and farms. Local reports in some areas point to helicopters sighted in these bushes dropping arms and ammunition in some of these occupied areas.”
While noting with great disappointment the collapse of national security and “the continuous failure of the federal government in confronting the situation,” Ohanaeze noted that there have been unabated increased state of insecurity such as killings, kidnapping and various types of banditry in the country.
“Several local and international mining companies have without licence occupied parts of Northern Nigeria and engaged in continuous and inhibited illegal mining of Nigeria’s mineral resources, protected by local and foreign militia and carting away and selling valuable mineral resources whose proceeds are undeclared in the national treasury, whereas oil deposits in the South are exploited and used for the benefit of the entire nation.
” A Muslim militant group with all the features and characteristics of ISIS is invading parts of Northern Nigeria, capturing district heads, stealing and rampaging in various communities and forcing Nigerians in these areas to flee from their homes, in some cases, away to neighbouring countries.
“That in Kaduna and other parts of the Middle Belt, Miyetti Allah and their militant herdsmen have continued to kill, maim and destabilise Christian areas of these parts of the country with very little containment of these attackers by our national security forces.
“What is most is that very few arrests, seizures of arms or prosecution have been made in all these instances by our national security forces. The impression is created that their activities have the encouragement, sanction or acquiescence of our national security forces. In the President’s home state Katsina, the District Head of Daura is now under captivity for 32 days.”
Ohanaeze added that as long as the persisting situation subsists, the only solution to it is for the country to be restructured.
The group directed its youth wing, women wing and affiliate organisations to desist from issuing any statement on the state of the nation as long as the tense security situation of the country persists.