From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The Imo State chapter of the Cattle Dealers Association of Nigeria has blamed the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association Nigeria (MACBAN) for the excesses of violent herdsmen and their killing spree in the South East and other parts of Nigeria.
State chairman of the association, Ibrahim Salehi, made the accusation on Monday during a courtesy call to Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu in his Glass House office in Owerri.
According to him, the Fulani group has been arrogantly encouraging their members to invade people’s farm, destroying them with their weapons.
Although he singled out some of the Fulani herders to be good he added that most of them hiding under Miyetti Allah to commit crimes comes from the neighbouring Niger Republic.
He said: Miyetti Allah is not helping matters, example, you have your farm, I have my own, I destroy your farm instead of saying sorry, you say I will pay you if you pay me today and tomorrow don’t pay me, I will cut your cow and that is how the problem starts and the one in Niger will come and fight you.
‘Fulani men carrying guns is not a lie, even us who are not with them if they see our cow, they steal it, they come from Central Africa and they are the most dangerous ones among the Fulanis.’
Salehi, proffering solutions to the influx of Fulani into the South East and elsewhere, said: ‘They must be vetted, if they give them tags, we would be able to identify them if they come here for instance but the immigration are not helping matters, they allow them to pass without being vetted.
Meanwhile, the cattle rearers have shun the call by the northern elders to return home over the insecurity in the South East. Salehi insisted that Imo is homely but regretted that infiltrators from other states have taken advantage of the security challenge in the state to kill some of their people.
‘That person that threatened us to go back home is lying, we will not go anywhere, this is our home, most of us were raised here and it has become part of us,’ Salehi said.
Iwuayanwu, while responding to their plea for intervention, assured that the governor has made necessary procedures to not just their lights but permanently ending the challenge in a months time.
He attributed the killings of the northerners to the huge number of inmates that escaped from the state correctional centre. ‘Those that ran way from jail are responsible for all this killings you talked about, Igbo and Hausa are one, I have a northerners in my house and they are good people,’ he said.
‘The governor, Hope Uzodinma, and Ohanaeze, I assure you, are doing everything possible to end the insecurity in the South East, you can see Imo is calm now,I assure you from the meeting we had with the governor and service chiefs, the insecurity challenge will be over in a month or two, so I plead with you to remain with us,’ Iwuanyanwu said.