• Town unions, group demand compensation as community leaders maintain 24-hour vigilance
From Dom Ekpunobi, Onitsha, Emmanuel Uzor, Abakaliki, Petrus Obi, Enugu, and Brown Chimezie
MOVEMENT for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), has said current herdsmen attack against some communities in Nigeria, including Boko Haram attacks in the North East, Niger Delta Militants attacks on oil installations and Biafran agitation were signs of Nigeria on the verge of a break up.
Central Director of Biafra Red Cross, Mr. Osondu Okwaraeke said this in Onitsha, Anambra State yesterday.
He said this during an activity marking World Red Cross Day in Onitsha, yesterday.
“If you like, call them Fulani herdsmen but we know they are Boko Haram in disguise, Niger Delta Militants’ constant attack on oil installations and of course, our agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra are signs that Nigeria is on the edge of break up.
“Our leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike saw what people are seeing now some 17 years ago but, they did not believe him.
“Why will there not be a break up when the national cake is not being evenly distributed in a country every tribe is part and parcel of?”
Meanwhile, a non-governmental organisation, Human Rights and Empowerment Project Limited has taken the Federal Government to court, asking for N100 billion compensation over the killing of residents of Nimbo in Uzouwani Local Government area of Anambra State.
Sued as respondents in the case are the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police.
The suit, which has been fixed for hearing on May 16, before Justice Rosemary Dugbo Oghoghorie, of the Federal High Court, Enugu, is supported by a 30-paragraph affidavit.
It seeks among other things, a declaration that the killing of citizens of Nigeria at Nimbo on April 25, by alleged Fulani herdsmen amounts to a violation of the right to life of all those who died in the murderous rampage.
Also, two Igbo groups, Ofuobi Igbo Youth Organisation, (OIYO) and the Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) have demanded compensation for the Nimbo communities.
Scores of people including children were killed during the penultimate Monday’s attack by Fulani herdsmen on Nimbo communities leaving several others injured.
Moved by recent attack, OIYO President, Eze Nnaemeka Agbo, described the killings as a menace “that threatens the unity of Nigeria if unchecked.”
The organisation also demanded that the Federal Government set up an unbiased-panel of inquiry into the killing of Igbo people in Enugu State, as well as the investigation of the former Commissioner of Police in the state, the Army and bring the killers and their sponsors to book.
On the other hand, ASETU, while commiserating with the Enugu State Government and families of those who died, warned that it would “no longer tolerate further attacks on our people by these terrorists who disguise themselves as herdsmen.”
It also urged the Federal Government to find it expedient to take steps to assist the Enugu State government in compensating the affected families of the recent attack in Nimbo.
In a statement jointly signed by the zonal chairman and secretary of the association, Chief Emeka Diwe and Paully Eze, respectively, the union commended Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for “the maturity he exhibited in handling the attack which was capable of triggering off national crisis.”
Meanwhile, Enugu community leaders have resolved to maintain 24-hour vigilance around its communities as part of efforts to forestall a repeat attack in the state.
The leaders, made up of town union presidents and traditional rulers, while speaking with newsmen after a meeting with Ugwuanyi resolved to maintain a round-the-clock vigilance in all communities across the state through various community vigilante groups.
Briefing newsmen in Enugu at the weekend, President-General of Egwu Achi Community in Oji-River Local Government Area, Okechukwu Onwuka said the best option was for the state to adopt local security and provide them with required tools to ensure that lives and property of the people are secured.
“We, the people of Enugu State, are gradually becoming endangered by the unrelenting onslaught of these Fulani herdsmen when they strike in the hinterland.
“Just as they did in Awgu community in March and now, the recent attack on Nimbo in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area…”
“The genocidal target of this group, if unchecked will spell doom for the lgbo race. Enugu is the take off state for South East, Anambra, lmo and Abia will be captured before the 3rd quarter of this year if unabated.
“I am really worried that if we continue to fold our arms and just watch events, the whole zone will be over run in a matter of weeks. It appears from all indications that while we continue to rely on National security services provided by the government, there is an urgent need to re-organise and strengthen our local vigilante services at town union levels in all Autonomous communities in South East to face this ethnic cleansing.”
Meanwhile, the new Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Ojukwu, has urged the men and officers of the command to be up and doing and to work assiduously to restore public confidence.
In his maiden address, Ojukwu stressed the need to reduce crime by ensuring that communities and the environment are made safe and secured.
He, however, expressed sadness over the recent loss of lives and property and revealed that high powered investigative team has been dispatched by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon E. Arase to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the incident and noted that any person found to have been directly or indirectly involved, will face the full sanctions as stipulated by the law.
The commissioner warned officers and men to sit to their responsibilities of rendering quality service to the people of the state and to embrace the full tenets of community policing which include partnership, openness, accountability and respect for human rights.