Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) galvanized by Nnamdi Kanu, is blaming Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State for the menace of rape by ‘’foreign terrorists’’ in the Eastern Nigeria state.
IPOB’s Spokesman, Emma Powerful, is alleging that Governor Umahi is keeping blind eyes to the atrocities of Fulani herdsmen in the state because he is being dangled a 2023 vice presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Before now, the governor was going tough on herdsmen. Last August, he directed the state chief judge to establish a special court to try matters arising from herders and farmers’ clashes as well as rape cases across the state.
He also banned underage pastoralists from operating in the state, warning that they will be arrested and their bosses or guardians prosecuted.
These were among the resolutions arrived at the state security meeting in Abakaliki, the state capital, chaired by Governor Umahi.
Deputy Governor Kelechi Igwe, who made the development public said the measures became necessary to stem the tide of increasing cases of herders, farmers’ clashes, as well as rape cases in the state.
The leadership of the Myetti Allah in the state, according to the deputy governor, was also directed to liaise with local government chairmen to provide identities for all cattle rearers in the state.
He also said community leaders were mandated to produce killers/attackers of herdsmen in their domains within seven days for prosecution.
At the meeting were leaders and members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, heads of security agencies in the state and local government chairmen, among others.
“The various communities are by this meeting empowered to arrest and hand over to the police any underage herder within your community and the chief herder who is the custodian of such underage persons must be prosecuted by the police, in accordance with our law.
“Henceforth, members of Miyetti Allah and their leadership must take responsibility for any destruction of farms, crops, property, including any attack on any community in Ebonyi State; rape cases are not exempted from this. They must produce within seven days for arrest and prosecution the perpetrators of such dastardly acts from amongst their membership”, the deputy governor said.
Warning, he added, “community leaders and traditional rulers, development centre coordinators, local government council chairmen, and political office-holders must take responsibility and produce attackers and killers of herdsmen or the cows for arrest and prosecution within seven days whenever such occurs.”
The outcome of the security meeting also made it compulsory for herders to reside in communities where they graze their cattle. “All persons carrying cows by foot on the tarred road, on our concrete roads must be arrested and handed over to the police within seven days of prosecution by the community within which such infractions come.”
For the daring IPOB, “it is the height of foolery that Governor Umahi will (now be) supporting foreign terrorist herdsmen against his own people that voted for him.
‘’Does Dave Umahi not know that our mothers for years now have been afraid of going to their farms for fear of being raped by Fulani terrorists and other evil activities of Miyetti Allah?”
Aggrieved women of Isu in Onicha Local Government Area of the state had previously protested the raping of a 70-year-old widow by a suspected Fulani herdsman.
The Biafra agitating group is currently urging Governor Umahi, to stop intimidating citizens of the state because he has allegedly been promised the position of vice-presidential in 2023.
IPOB is also alleging that the governor ordered the arrest of innocent locals that reportedly exposed the atrocities of terrorist herdsmen in Ebonyi communities, adding, ‘’we the Indigenous People of Biafra wish to warn Governor Umahi against the grave implications of his actions.
‘’To declare law-abiding citizens wanted simply because they exposed, and confronted foreign terrorists in Ebonyi, is worse than terrorism itself. It only goes to show that Umahi and other eastern politicians know more about the incessant killings, rapes and other atrocities in Ebonyi communities by Fulani herdsmen and terrorists than they are willing to admit.’’
The protesting women, who carried placards with different inscriptions, took their protest to Abakaliki, the state capital, urging the state government to check the excesses of the herdsmen, who they accused of destroying their farmlands, crops and other property.
They alleged that one of the herdsmen raped a 70-year-old widow to coma.
According to the demonstrators who paralysed commercial activities in Abakaliki as they barricaded the major business areas such as Fatilami Park and Ezza Road, the herdsman sneaked into the widow’s house and raped her to coma at gunpoint.
Their leader, Mrs. Florence Okoro, who accused the herdsmen of carting away their food items and other belongings, claimed that herdsmen have been raping them and their daughters at gunpoint.
Okoro alleged that the hands and legs of the rape victim were broken in the process and appealed to the state government and security agencies to rescue them.
While addressing the protesters, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Augustine Nwankwegu, condemned the rape of the woman and the destruction of the farmlands by the herdsmen, and assured them that the Umahi administration will take decisive action against the perpetrators of the crimes.