Defenders of Democracy, (DoD)
Abia State chapter
Our attention has been drawn to a spiteful news report credited to Shehu Musa, former Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial district, that Fulani Herdsmen were being chased away in Isuikwuato and Bende forests in our dear state, Abia.
In as much as we don’t want to engage Shehu Musa in an unnecessary verbal affray, we wish to state as follows:
1) That there was no attack on Fulani Herdsmen in any part of the state.
2) That the people of Abia State have remained accommodating, cooperative and helpful to strangers irrespective of where they come from; that is why Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state, has remained a home for all Nigerians and indeed all Africans who are allowed to freely contest elections and serve as chief executives in any of the five local government areas of the city.
3) That on the contrary, it was the Herdsmen that have terrorized some communities in the state; illegally occupying their lands. There are records of armed robbery, raping, kidnapping, extortion of ransom and even killing of Abians by Herdsmen in some parts of the state.
4) That many farmlands in the state have been ravaged, vandalized and occupied by Fulani Herdsmen as they allowed their cattle to graze recklessly and with impunity in the farms, thereby destroying the peoples’ crops including structures in the farms obtained through banks loans.
5) That in Isuikwuato LGA of state, an innocent Abian was gruesomely murdered by these Herdsmen just last week, while another paid a ransom of N25 million. In fact, since the past six months, less than 30 persons have either been robbed, kidnapped, raped or killed by the Herdsmen.
6) That in all these atrocities committed by the Herdsmen, the people have remained calm and peaceful; asking the government and security agencies to rein in these rampaging Herdsmen by making sure that they leave the shores of Abia State. It is also our position that ranches should be built for them in the North to rear their cows like Shehu Sani suggested. This is the way other private businesses are conducted.
7) It is therefore disturbing that a Distinguishing Senator like Shehu Sani could misinform his followers with an ill-formed report. It is worrisome that Shehu Sani who, as a human rights activist, has fought many battles against the ills of the society, including dehumanization and demolition of public properties and destruction of human lives by the authorities in Kaduna State, battles that cost him a second term in the Red Chamber, could descend to the primitive level of defending barbaric act of violence and willful conquest through the force of arm at modern time being perpetrated by the Fulani Herdsmen.
8) It is either Shehu Sani was under pressure to give out the false report of attacks of Fulani Herdsmen in Abia State or he suddenly lost his sense of judgment.
9) We therefore call on the federal government to heed the call by all Nigerians, including that from Shehu Sani and send these Herdsmen back to the North and build ranches for them there.
10) We alien with him that for the interest of peace, unity and stability of this nation, no group of individuals should be allowed to take laws into their hands. These Herdsmen, carrying AK 47 riffles, should be disarmed forthwith.
Dr George Njoku
Hon Chukwuma Onyeze
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.