By Akanimo Sampson
A seeming unrestrained push by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to unleash Fulani youths as vigilantes on Eastern Nigeria, is currently causing security concern in that axis of Nigeria, the hotbed of Biafra agitation.
Worried by what they generally see as double standards by the Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch since 2015, Igbo youths have been intensifying their agitation for a sovereign Republic of Biafra.
While government’s response to the undying agitation has been a military crackdown, the killer cum the kidnapping herdsmen appears to be enjoying unchallenged reign by the establishment.
Some concerned Igbo youths are, therefore, seeing the MACBAN move as a ploy to flood the habitat of Biafra with Fulani foot soldiers for the purpose of grabbing lands for their grazing colonies with a subsequent installation of emirs, to quicken their alleged Islamisation agenda
Some Igbo groups, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) and Nzuko Umunna (NU) are saying that the move by the herdsmen’s association is an open indictment on the country’s security structure.
ADF spokesman, Abia Onyike, says they are considering the latest plan by MACBAN as strange and accordingly viewing it with serious suspicion, based on alleged atrocities they have been committing in several communities in Nigeria including Eastern Nigeria where herdsmen have killed, raped women and children with impunity for several years.
Their menace has led to their categorisation as the fourth most deadly terrorist organisation in the world by the United Nations.
Consequently, the Igbo group is calling on their governors to refrain from buying into the deceptive schemes of MACBAN, “as their overall strategy has been the seizure and occupation of ancestral lands of host communities with attendant political/ religious domination of the affected communities.’’
Nzuko Umunna on its part, is warning the herdsmen group to “immediately withdraw’’ the proposal to set up Fulani Vigilantes in the Eastern bloc of Nigeria. Co-ordinator of the Igbo group, Ngozi Odumuko, and Secretary, Paschal Mbanefo, in a statement said the proposal “is not only the height of insult but a clear vote of no-confidence on the nation’s security apparatus.’’
While urging the herdsmen to immediately withdraw what they described as “a provocative proposal’’ and apologise to Ndigbo, NU said the Federal Government should hold the leadership of Miyetti Allah responsible for any untoward outcomes from its ill-advised proposal.
Just as the Igbo group warned Miyetti Allah not be unmindful of the grave potential of pitching its members against an already restive Igbo youths, another group, the Igbo National Council (INC), has called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to arrest those behind the proposal by the herdsmen.
INC President, Chilos Godsent, said in Owerri, the Imo State capital, that the arrest has become imperative to avert what he described as a looming ‘’ethnic war’ even as he accused Abuja of pampering the Miyetti Allah instead of declaring it a terrorist organisation.
Godsent vowed that INC will do everything to protect the zone against invasion, saying INC will take every proactive step to resist and defend Igbo territories against any form of attack, and conspiracies.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has also warned Miyetti Allah to stay back in their territory or face the wrath of its people.
Special Assistant to the Media Director of IPOB, Emma Powerful, said, “they have tried it before, some decades ago to conquer Ndigbo but, we are waiting, it is not a threat, but a promise.”