From Magnus Eze, Enugu
Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Fulani cultural organisation to order before they set Nigeria ablaze.
ASETU said that the recent statement credited to leader of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Bodejo, in which he, among other things, claimed that all the lands in the country belonged to them, was enough to cause unimaginable crisis in the country.
The group in statement by its National President, Chief Emeka Diwe and National Secretary, Gideon Adikwuru, declared that the Fulani did not own any part of Igboland, warning that Igbo would do anything to resist annexation of their ancestral land by invaders.
ASETU noted that it was in realisation of the threat posed by marauding Fulani that it had before now, written the United Nations (UN) and the United States over the nocturnal influx of aliens, in a coordinated manner, into Igbo forests.
The town unions also stated that they had cried out over the wanton killings, rape and destruction of farmlands which had become daily facts of life in Igbo forests.
“With the claim by Miyetti Allah that Nigeria and all of its lands and forests belong to them, and that they need no permission from anyone to operate anywhere, we now know with mathematical precision who the invaders are and what their mission is.
“We hereby state in clear terms that Igboland does not belong to the Fulani, or Miyetti Allah, or the herdsmen. Igboland belongs to Igbo people. The herding of cattle is a private business. Just like every business the Igbo do across the world, the use of land is obtained through rent or purchase. The leadership of Miyetti Allah must understand this fact and stop their provocative, unguarded and uninformed utterances forthwith. Open grazing is antiquated, retrogressive and a potent driver of conflict.
“We hereby reiterate our early position that all those who may wish to continue with cattle business in Igboland must be ready to build ranches and keep their cows in them. Open grazing of cattle is unacceptable to us, and the governors and Houses of Assembly in Igboland should quickly enact the anti-open grazing legislation which we have umpteen times demanded.
“The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, who is also Fulani, should realise he has a key role to play in this issue. They look up to him as their leader, and they seem inspired by his body language. President Buhari should therefore call his kinsmen to order, condemn their atrocities, uphold his oath of office which is to be fair to all Nigerians, and make sure justice is done to all. The claim of ownership over our ancestral lands by Miyetti Allah is not just an existential threat to us as Ndigbo, but it is a matter that is capable of shaking the very foundations of Nigeria,” ASETU said.