From Magnus Eze, Enugu, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri, Solomon Mokwugwo, Nnewi And Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Igbo National Council (INC), Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) and the traditional institutions in the South-East have vowed that the Igbo would defend their homeland and flush out murderous Fulani herders from the South-East.
In separate reactions to the recent massacres of innocent residents by suspected AK-47 wielding herdsmen in Adani, Uzo-Uwani in Enugu State as well as in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, the groups vowed that never again would they allow their people to be killed mindlessly.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo had, while condemning the attacks on Wednesday, assured the people that such senseless killing would not be allowed to continue. They called on the South East governors to urgently inaugurate and activate regional security measures to enforce the ban on open grazing.
The apex Igbo organisation also called for strict and emphatic implementation of the national and state laws against illegal occupation of land.
SATURDAY SUN authoritatively gathered that the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has since deployed the Eastern Security Network (ESN) to Ebonyi to protect the people of the State and also fish out those behind the Monday night attack that claimed over 25 lives in three Ishielu communities of Egedegede, Obegu and Amauzu.
Kanu had, on Thursday, vowed that IPOB would avenge the killings in Ebonyi communities. IPOB then declared its readiness to partner with any local security outfit in the South-East that would assist in the search for the murderous group that invaded the communities.
IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said: “We said it before that IPOB and ESN will support genuine vigilance groups formed to tackle terrorists in their respective villages. Every village and market can form security outfits to tackle these Fulani terrorists masquerading as herdsmen in our territory. All vigilance groups must be prepared to welcome ESN and to stop Fulani terrorist herdsmen in our land.
“We support every vigilante group ready to show ESN operatives where to get these murderers disturbing our mothers, wives and sisters.”
The Igbo National Council (INC) also told SATURDAY SUN that the group has dispatched its “Lion Walk” vigilante to the troubled areas in Ebonyi, claiming that they had commenced combing of the forests in the state in search of the killer herdsmen.
National President of the group, Chilos Godsent, who stated this, vowed that they would not spare anybody that had a hand in the killings.
He described the assault as a reconfirmation of the Miyetti Allah’s resolve to continue to attack the Igbo in a bid to scare the people and grab their lands and also convert them to Islam.
“We, the Igbo National Council (INC) Worldwide, have mandated the volunteers of the Operation Ije Agu (Lion Walk) to commence combing all the forests suspected to be hideouts or occupied by these criminal terrorist Jihadist herdsmen and bandits. Godsent stated.
On its part, the body of South East Town Unions said that the people must now rise up, roll up their sleeves and permanently put a stop to these unwarranted and unprovoked mass murders of their people on their own soil. Noting that these barbaric killings had continued because the political leaders in the South East had refused to enact the anti-open grazing and forest guard laws, along with the creation of livestock guards, ASETU urged the communities to revive their local security outfits to protect their homeland.
National President of ASETU, Chief Emeka Diwe said the body would soon mobilise the people of South East to protest and demand the quick enactment of anti-open grazing laws in their states.
Meanwhile, traditional rulers in the riverine areas of Anambra State indicated that their domains were ready to seek alternative ways to defend themselves, if the precarious security situation persisted.
Traditional ruler of Umueje in Ayamelum Local Government of the State, Igwe E.U.N Nneli, said that each locality should find peculiar ways to address its own security problems.
“Those herders are not harder than us. They do not have better arms or charms. We were only being patient. Whatever might be the case, we are going to defend ourselves now,” he said.
His counterparts of Olumbanasa in Anambra West LGA, Igwe P. Omachonu and Umuoba Anam in Anambra East LGA, Igwe G.O. Ekwealor, spoke in the same light. While Omachonu suggested the convocation of a South-East security summit, Ekwealor asked the government to permit every locality to form their own security outfit based on the peculiarity of each area.
Already, the Ebonyi State Government has directed the 13 local government chairmen in the state to immediately form local vigilantes and put crossbars at strategic locations to fish out criminal elements and assist security agents in the LGAs. Some community leaders told our reporters that vigilance groups were being beefed up in their domains.
Igwe Simeon Chidubem of Umumbo community in Ayamelum LGA in Anambra State said the menace of Fulani herdsmen in his area had been minimal this year compared to previous years because of the town’s fortified vigilance groups.
President General of Nzam in Anambra West LGA, Chief Fidelis Nnazor said the community had banned Fulani herdsmen entry into the community after the destruction and attack in 2018/2019 in the area.
Technical adviser to the Coalition of All Igbo Organisations (IGBONILE), Chuks Ibegbu, said all Igbo men, women and children must be as security-conscious as the Israelis, adding that intelligence and self-defence must be deployed to save the people of the South-East.