Obinna Odogwu, Awka
International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has alleged that no fewer than 350 communities in Igboland have been forcefully invaded and permanently occupied by jihadist Fulani herdsmen.
This claim was contained in a statement endorsed by the group’s Board Chair, Emeka Umeagbalasi, a criminologist, and the Head, International Justice and Human Rights, Ndidiamaka Bernard, a lawyer, and three others.
The statement reads:
‘There are no less than 350 Igbo communities, villages and other locations now invaded and permanently occupied by the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and ‘imported’ Shuwa Arabs also called ‘Cowmen’ in Arabic.
‘The number of Igbo communities forcibly occupied by the Jihadists has recorded an exponential increase from about 139 in August 2019 to alarming 350 in May 2020. The jihadist occupation is vicariously, if not directly aided by the Government of Nigeria and its security agencies especially the Army and the Police.
‘By the combined accounts of the Association of the Eastern Town Unions, the Alaigbo Dev Foundation and the Eastern Outlook Newspaper, “as at August 2019, 139 Igbo communities, villages and locations have been occupied by Fulani Herdsmen, out of which Enugu State has the highest number with 56, followed by Anambra with 24, Imo 17, Ebonyi 12 and Abia seven. In Igbo areas of Delta and Rivers, there are 15 in Delta and nine in Rivers.
‘But in our recent detailed review and update, the number has exponentially increased from 139 in August 2019 to not less than 350 in May 2020, out of which 318 were factually located and presented below while 38 others were added as ‘dark figures’ or “factually existing but not captured figures”.
‘The ‘32 added dark figures’ are likely to be found in Imo and Ebonyi States, with a fraction in Enugu State. The breakdown of the current figure of 350 invaded and occupied Igbo communities show that Enugu State has the largest number with 72 communities, followed by Anambra with 70, Imo 61, Abia 43, Ebonyi 36, Igbo Delta 21 and Igbo Rivers 15; totalling 318 and 350 when added with a ‘dark figure’ of 32.’