A prominent Non-governmental organisation – Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the armed Fulani attacks in Enugu and Anambra States and has asked the South East governors and state parliaments to take measures to pass laws in their States bringing into being armed vigilante groups and to grant licenses to citizens to bear arms for self-protection.
“The constitution confers the power on state Assemblies to pass laws for the good governance, security and wellbeing of their citizens.
“These unprovoked killings will continue so long as government fails to empower all citizens to take up legal weapons to put an end to the treacherous activities of armed hoodlums paid to commit genocide to advance the Ethno-religious interest of some persons who are treated by the central government as sacred cows”.
HURIWA condemned Federal government’s deliberate failure to declare armed Fulani killer gangsters as a terror organisation even when the killers are always backed by a platform known as Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association.
The Rights group has warned that the conspiratorial silence of President Muhammadu Buhari manifested through his inability to surgically deal with Fulani armed gangsters masquerading as herdsmen could spark a bigger conflagration if not quickly checked.
“We condemn the Nigerian government for doing nothing to stop the spread of attacks by well-armed Fulani killer gangsters but has always rapidly deployed armed security forces to protect the armed Fulani herdsmen from reprisals whenever these undesirable armed elements undertake their sordid and despicable crime against humanity.
“Where were the armed security forces in Anambra and Enugu States before the armed Fulani herdsmen struck and why are the soldiers being deployed to protect the suspected killers?
“The government must be made to come clean on these serial killings by armed Fulani herdsmen all over the Country if Nigeria must be stopped from nose-diving into a state of civil war. These killings must stop or must be stopped by all means”.
HURIWA recalled that armed men suspected to be herdsmen, at the weekend, invaded Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State, leaving six people dead, some of them beheaded, on their trail.
HURIWA quoted an eyewitness, Mr Orjiako Nnaluo (Ideh Anam), who spoke to journalists, as saying that the herdsmen stormed farm settlements known as Agweopia Camp, Iyiogbu Camp and Iyinkolo, respectively around 5:40am and started killing people, burning houses and raping many women.
HURIWA recalled that Mr Nnaluo said before people of the area could know what was going on, the herdsmen had killed six people, leaving about 30 others with various degrees of injuries just as he disclosed that the injured, he said, are currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
HURIWA regrettably recalled that few weeks back some gunmen suspected to be herdsmen in Enugu State, killed one Dr Nnamdi Ogueche, a senior lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.
“This came less than 24 hours after the decomposing body of a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Clement Ugwu, was found in a bush. The community leader and a University don Dr. Ogueche was allegedly shot dead while returning from a peace meeting between his kinsmen and Fulani herdsmen in the state capital on Wednesday along the Iwolo Road in the Ezeagu Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that the peace meeting was summoned by the Special Adviser to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on Security Matters, Brig. Gen. Fred Eze (retd.). The meeting was said to have been held between community members and the herdsmen in Uzo-Uwani,” HURIWA recalled.
HURIWA recalled that from all available intelligence, the assassinated community leader Dr. Ogueche was said to have attended the meeting as the Administrative Secretary of the Uzo-Uwani Local Government Council.
Sources said the killing might have been aimed at provoking another round of crisis between the herdsmen and the people of Uzo-Uwani.
“Information available to us from multiple sources stated that the late Ogueche was appointed at the meeting as a member of a team to assess the extent of damage of yam barns in Adaba, his community, and Umulokpa, alleged to have been destroyed by herders in the area.”
HURIWA recalled that Rev. Fr. Ugwu was kidnapped from the St. Mark Catholic Church, Obinofia Ndiuno in the Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. “The Enugu state governor and his Anambra state counterpart must galvanise the South East governments to take immediate steps to ensure that these attacks are stopped forthwith or risked the possibility of a civil strife”.
HURIWA also carpeted President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to arrest the sponsors of the banditry in Zamfara state which has killed over 6000 people. The Rights group wondered how the government hoped to stop the killings by merely banning mining activities as if the people been killed by bandits and their cattle stolen are solid minerals and no longer human beings.
“Mr. President!; please note that Zamfara people are citizens and not solid minerals. Banning mining activities makes no sense.
What will make sense is to clinically arrest the killers and their sponsors and deal decisively with them in accordance with the laws or they should be taken to the International Criminal court or you resign if you can’t stop these seemingly unending killings all over Nigeria since you assumed office.”
“HURIWA said that only an intelligence- led security operations can bring to an end those sorts of killings. But it’s clear that this government supports killers because how can we explain that this government has continued to recruit Boko Haram terrorists into the Nigerian Army under the dubious guises that they have been deradicalised.
“Any government that goes into this sort of toxic communion and sinister accord with terrorists will never be able to stop mass killings.
“Nigerians in their millions must start massive street demonstrations to mount pressure on government to either act decisively against mass murderers or to resign or be thrown out of power by all means”.