From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Leader of BIM-MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike has told the United Nations that there would be no peace in Nigeria until the sovereign state of Biafra is duly recognised by the world body.
Uwazuruike also accused the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari of promoting the activities of armed Fulani herdsmen who he claimed have been attacking Nigerians.
The BIM-MASSOB leader stated this at the weekend during a virtual conference organized by the Harvard Law Students under the auspices of Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organizations, (UNPO) and United Nations (UN) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, convened to determine the Land Use/Border Rights and Extra-Territorial Obligations of nations in quest for self-determination.
The founder of MASSOB in a statement made available to newsmen in Owerri, the Imo State capital, by his Personal Assistant on Media Matters, Elder Chris Mocha, said that the main purpose of the conference was to gather members’ challenges to their lands, as well as share general perspectives, recommendations, and/or good practices regarding land rights.
Uwazuruike, who accused President Buhari of promoting the activities of armed Fulani herdsmen, pointed out that the president nullified the decision of the 17 Southern governors on anti-open grazing by insisting on reclaiming grazing routes across the country.
He claimed that the “armed Fulani herdsmen came to our lands to graze their cattle, they came with their Ak-47 riffles and killed our people, raped our women and the Federal Government simply because they are promoting these people or feeling incapable of arresting or stopping the atrocities these people commit against our people.”
According to him, “as usual I represent the state of Biafra. In Nigeria right from time immemorial, lands belong to individuals and families. But in 1976, immediately after the Biafra-Nigeria civil war, the military government of Nigeria promulgated the Decree of 1976 which invested all lands in Nigeria to the state governors.
“There are 36 states in Nigeria and the federal capital territory, Abuja. So, all the 36 governors are owners of the lands in Nigeria and the Federal Government owns the capital territory, Abuja. But the Federal Government does not respect this Decree of 1976.
“Just recently, the 17 Southern governors came together and banned open grazing in the entire Southern region, the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari nullified the action of the 17 Southern governors and said that there was a grazing route that must be established to enable the armed Fulani herdsmen to come to our lands in the South to graze their cattle.
“This grazing route is against the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria because it is not contained in the 1999 Constitution as amended. But because of his position as the president of Nigeria and a Hausa/Fulani man, he wants to enforce it against our will.
“In Biafra land, which is in the Southern Nigeria, our lands are blessed with crude oil deposits, and fertile. Because of the fertility of our lands, the Fulani forced themselves into our lands to graze their cattle.
“As a matter of fact, the atrocities we are having today in Nigeria emanated from the Land Use Act of 1976.
Because these people came to our land to commit all these atrocities because they have the protection of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Uwazuruike pointed out that the Nigeria-Biafra war was as a result of the injustices perpetrated against the people of Biafra.
“And that is why it is very essential that Biafra must be given recognition by the United Nations. Because if Biafra is not given recognition as a sovereign state, these atrocities will not stop because our land is rich with mineral resources as against the North that is a desert area,” he claimed.