The Igbo Women Assembly, IWA, has kicked against any plan to reserve grazing lands or ranches for Fulani herdsmen in the South-east geopolitical zone, stressing that doing so, would be a tacit approval to the herdsmen to continue killing Igbo men and rape their wives and daughters.
They said that the only one sensible route to the country’s development was for Nigeria to be restructured now, adding that, “intimidation will not work” as the people of the zone “cannot be islamised”.
The women, who spoke in reaction to the latest killing of farmers at Nimbo in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State Monday, decried the audacity the herdsmen have in killing innocent Nigerians since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office about 10 months ago.
IWA made its stand known in a statement signed by its National President, Chief (Mrs) Marie Nwanyiwunwa Okwo, who also decried the extra –judicial killing of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, by security agents among other injustices meted out to the zone.
Okwo’s statement reads in part, “Not long ago, 76 people from Ugwuleshi in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State, were arrested by the Nigerian Army and taken to Umuahia, which is another area of jurisdiction.
“Their offence was that they tried to defend their farm land from being destroyed by the Fulani herdsmen. It was through the intervention of the Governor of Enugu State that those poor farmers were later released on bail.
“The extra-judicial killing of the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB, members between November 2015 and February 2016, in Port Harcourt, Aba and Onitsha is condemned by IWA.
“This unresolved, cold-blooded murder of Eastern youths, coupled with the provocative brigandage of Fulani in recent times may have probably emboldened the Director of State Services, DSS, to publicly lay a charge of abduction and murder on the IPOB for effect.
“This accusation of killing and burying of five northerners (in a shallow grave), if true, is wrong and IWA condemns it, and would want the culprits brought to early justice.
“If, however, the accusation is false, then, it must be said as succinctly as possible that the DSS has taken a very dangerous route that will not only lay the foundation for eventual disintegration of Nigeria but ensures that a needless bloodbath accompanies the mayhem. The DSS intends to prop up mutual suspicion and spur ethnic hatred.
“Our message to the APC government is clear, short and precise. The quest to intimidate, oppress and silence Eastern Nigeria will not succeed. The dream of conquering our people through hatred and threat of genocide will not work. We cannot be islamised. There is only one sensible route open to Nigeria, which is to restructure the country now. Intimidation will not work; neither will false accusations. CREATION OF GRAZING RESERVES OR RANCHES
“This is a time bomb waiting to explode. IWA says NO to Grazing Reserves or Ranches and grazing routes in Igbo land. Any attempt to acquire, seize and (or) occupy our ancestral lands for Fulani herdsmen to facilitate the killings of our people and raping of our women and daughters will be highly resisted. FULANI ATTACK ON UZO UWANI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ENUGU STATE
“On the night of April 24, 2016, while villagers were asleep, Fulani herdsmen struck, killing several people, and setting churches and cars ablaze. The DSS is yet to react to these heinous crimes.
“For how long must our people continue to suffer in the hands of herdsmen? IWA calls on President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies to treat the Fulani menace with the urgency it requires. We cannot continue to tolerate these unprovoked attacks on our people. It may lead to total, uncontrollable anarchy.”