Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo yesterday vowed not to bow to pressure of threats by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and surrender any portion of Igbo land for cattle breeding.
It, however, stated that Ndigbo were “prepared and waiting for them” to execute their threat to forcefully occupy lands belonging to the Igbo.
MACBAN’s leader, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, had allegedly threatened to unleash mayhem on the zone following refusal of the governors to accommodate their members by approving land for cattle rearing.
Siddiki was quoted as saying that since the governors were ‘stubborn’ and refused to give them land, “it will be taken forcibly, while the entire Southeast will be raided and taken over by herdsmen.”
But President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, in a statement issued after its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Enugu, however, cautioned Ndigbo to be vigilant and reactivate their local defense outfits in readiness for the threat.
“Await our next directives after consultation with our political and religious leaders, legislators, traditional rulers, town unions and affiliate organisations,” Nwodo told Ndigbo.
Reviewing what he described as a dangerous security situation the country, Ohanaeze stated that the increasing killings, kidnappings and other forms of banditry were an indication of collapse of national security.
Citing instances, the group noted that several local and international mining companies have occupied parts of northern Nigeria and engaged in illegal mining of mineral resources without licences.
He said the situation is exacerbated by the fact that the mining firms are being protected by local and foreign militia, as they continue to cart away and sell the country’s valuable mineral resources.
Meanwhile, the Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor, has lampooned the Federal government for allegedly giving N100 billion to MACBAN to facilitate establishment of a Fulani Radio in the country.
He also criticised the government over its directive on revoking gun licences to responsible Nigerians, especially at this time when the security situation in the country was getting worse.
Ezeokafor, who stated this at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka yesterday, while speaking on the state of the nation, however, added that if indeed the Federal Government gave that amount to the herdsmen, it amounted to their empowerment to unleash more mayhem on hapless Nigerians.
The cleric wondered why the President Muhammdu Buhari-led administration was bent on favoring only his Fulani kinsmen over other 200 ethnic groups, saying it was most unfortunate.