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Southeast lands too tiny for grab for Fulani herdsmen ranching, settlement, Intersociety warns Enugu, Abia and Anambra Govs

From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha

Nigeria’s leading civil rights advocacy group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has warned governors of Enugu, Anambra and Abia States and those of Imo and Ebonyi never to coerce any community within its state territories into ceding any part of their land under any guise whatsoever for the purpose of establishing Fulani herders settlement.

Intersociety in a statement signed by its board chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program and Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Program also stated that the South-East landmass (measuring 29,525km2) is too tiny for grab for (Fulani) Ranching/Settlements and abuse of the constitutional Concurrent Legislative List in any part of the Region.

Intersociety said the Govs in question, particularly Gov Peter Mbah of Enugu State are strongly advised to back off from any form of moves-under whatever disguises or camouflages aimed at establishment of herders’ settlements in any part of their respective States.

The group said such moves must be done away with in the entire South-East or be lawfully and popularly resisted.

“It has been observed by Intersociety since Dec 2023 and Jan and Feb 2024 that despite denials and reasons given by the Govs and their Governments or defenses publicly made to justify the widely suspected politically motivated moves to establish the so called “non native trailer parks” or “agro-industrial farms” or “mechanized farm settlements” or “ modern cow ranching”, etc; most social clusters have remained saturated with strong suspicions that the Govs and their Governments are being economical with the truth.

“While such moves have clandestinely been intensified at sub-state government level in Anambra State since 2022 through the Ministry of Homeland Security and its Commissioner; in Enugu and Abia States, they are believed to have reared their ugly heads since Dec 2023 after the electoral apex court judgments in the 2023 governorship polls in the two States.”

“These moves are made more suspicious going by the fact that these Govs and their Governments particularly those of Enugu and Anambra hardly speak out publicly in strong condemnation of jihadist Fulani Herdsmen violence in their respective States including abductions and killings in captivity, sexual violence, open killings, property robberies and seizure and wanton destruction of farmlands and crops, etc.”

Intersociety also said the moves by the named Govs and their Governments and reasons given have also become more suspicious following disclosures by the Governments of Enugu and Abia of the involvement of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the moves.

“While the Government of Enugu State said “it is planning to build a military base in Nimbo (Uzo Uwani) to protect its planned cow ranching and the people of the area”, the Government of Abia State said “it is collaborating with the Federal Government to build a (non native) trailer park at Aro-Ngwa”.

“The two explanations are utterly suspicious because going by the provisions of Nigeria’s existing 1999 Constitution, it is outside the Legislative Mandate of any State to build a military base or get a Federal Government approval or collaboration before building a trailer park on Concurrent Legislative List-controlled land spaces located off a Trunk A (federal) Road.

“Promising to “build a military base” is also sobriquet: “Fulanization” of the so called “modern cow ranching”, following brazen partisanship and deep distrust of the military by many citizens across the country since July 2015”.

“It is therefore most likely correct to say that the ongoing moves by the named Govs and their Governments are tantamount to “the Voice of Jacob and the Hands of Esau”.

“It must be clearly pointed out that it is the duties of the referenced Govs and their Governments, as Chief Security Officers of their respective States, to rise to the occasion at ensuring security and safety of those they were elected or selected to govern and protect including mustering enough political will to flush out marauding Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen wrecking havocs in farmlands located in communities across their States and restore farmers’ access to their farmlands and cultivated and harvested crops”.

“The Govs and their Governments are also duty bound to ensure general security and safety of lives and properties in their domains and provide access and good roads, energy supply, ICT technologies, social amenities and services as well as modern urban and rural planning (.i.e. forest reserves and tree planting, etc) so as to attract huge direct foreign investments (under public-private-partnership-PPP)”.

Intersociety had recently traced the current food insecurity in Nigeria including shortages and price hikes to “Islamic-Fulanization” and terrorization of the country’s food baskets (.i.e. Ondo, Ogun and Oyo in South-West; Delta and Edo in South-South; Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi and Niger in North-Central; Southern Kaduna and Southern Kebbi in North-West; and Taraba, Southern Borno and Northern Adamawa in North-East per Boko Haram and Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen.

 

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