To combat insecurity, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has called for establishment of Fulani Youth Vigilante body in South-East to complement those in their host communities’ and other constituted security apparatus in the zone.
The cattle breeders made the request just as South-East governors told them that nobody in the zone was against cattle rearing but that it was paramount for everyone to understand that there are rules of engagement in every relationship, including that of herders and farmers.
President-General of apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo,Mr John Nwodo said the group would resist Fulani vigilantes in Igboland, while pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, described the proposal as a provocative agenda.
In the same vein, Nigeria Police Service Commission, PSC, lampooned the yearly recruitment of 10,000 policemen, saying the number was a far cry from the number of personnel needed to police the country.
MACBAN and security stakeholders spoke, yesterday, during the South-East Security Summit organized by South-East Chambers of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture, SECCIMA, in collaboration with South-East Governors Forum, SEGF, in Enugu.
Speaking on how it affects herdsmen, National President of MACBAN, Mr Mohammadu Kirowa, regretted that once insecurity was mentioned in Nigeria, the first idea that came to mind was Fulani herdsmen.
Represented by National Secretary, Mr Baba Usman Ngelzerma, MACBAN noted that South-East is a good host, which was the reason it condemned all forms of violence and criminality in the same manner patrons such as Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Kano and Lamido of Adamawa did.
The group, however, said it wanted establishment of Fulani Youth Vigilante group, noting that the youth body would work with security agencies, the neighbourhood watch or vigilante to ensure security in all communities, as was done in Enugu State.
“We will solicit your support and cooperation in adopting dialogue where problems exist as a means of brokering peace and to report cases against our members to either the Fulani Youth Vigilante Group, state or local branch of the association,” Kirowa said.
In his remarks, Chairman of South-East Governors Forum and governor of Ebonyi State, Mr Dave Umahi, stated that the region would not engage in policy of exclusion to limit any farmer or herder, but stressed that rules of engagement should be observed in every relationship.
Umahi, represented by his deputy, Mr Kelechi Igwe, said: “We will continue to accommodate Miyetti Allah but our plea to them is that as we are magnanimous to allow settlers, every community has a custom that needs not to be violated. It is the violation that breeds problem.
“I believe that at the end, resolutions will generate further national dialogue, promote agenda-setting and a solution to the lingering national insecurity. All we need is the good idea of one or two men to find direction and I believe this summit will do that.”
Inadequate police personnel
The Commissioner in charge of Human Rights in the Police Service Commission, Mr. Rommy Mom, lamented the inadequacy of Police personnel, noting that at present, Nigeria could only boasts of fewer than 350,000 police officers.
“This translates to 1.6 police officers to every 100,000 Nigerian, which is a far cry from the world standard of 225 police officers to every 100,000 people. In some local governments, you have less than 10 police officers.
“Lack of data is a major challenge, to the extent that even Inspector General of Police is not very sure of the exact number of police officers under his command. Electronic data is very important,” Mon said.
He also stated that it was high time Nigeria embraced the use of Information Communication Technology, ICT, and other equipment to police the country.
Ohanaeze ‘ll resist Fulani Vigilantes in Igboland – Nwodo
Reacting to MACBAN’s call, Ohanaeze Ndigbo leader, Nwodo, said Ndigbo will resist the proposal for the establishment of Fulani Youths Vigilante in Igboland.
Accusing the herdsmen of violating Igbo women in their farms, among other crimes, Nwodo noted that if such request was granted the herdsmen, it will spell doom for Igboland.
Nwodo said: “Ohanaeze vehemently opposes any attempt by Miyetti Allah to establish any form of vigilante group in Igboland.
“These are people who have ravaged our farms, raped our women and slaughtered their husbands. As at today, they technically enjoy immunity from arrest and prosecution. They freely display AK-47 rifles not permitted to be used by civilians.
“Extending this measure to them will turn them into an army of occupation and invite unavoidable confrontations with our youths. We will resist such a policy with every might available to us.”
It’s a provocative agenda- Afenifere
Reacting to the Miyetti Allah proposal, pan-Yoruba socio-political orgnisation, Afenifere, described it as a provocative agenda.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, who described the call as an insult, said: “It is a provocative agenda which shows that there is a clear agenda to provoke war.
“South East has come under the siege of marauding herdsmen with authorities in the land shying away from enforcing law and order.
“The height of it all is now this insulting call by Miyetti Allah. They should be careful how they poke their wicked fingers into the eyes of the people. The gentility of a lion is never a sign of cowardice.”