Reactions has continued to trail the recent request for the formation of Fulani vigilante groups in the Southeast region.
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) had demanded the establishment of vigilante groups made up of youths from Fulani extraction.
While making their demands known to state governors from the geo-political zone, the umbrella body of herdsmen in the country said the measure will further strengthen security of lives and properties in the area and curtail herders and farmers misunderstanding.
Rejecting the request are: Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere the socio-cultural groups in the South-East and South-West. The Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) also rejected the demand.
While Ohanaeze through its President-General, Nnia Nwodo, said the attempt will be resisted, Afenifere through its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said the demand is provocative.
IPOB through its leader, Nnamdi Kanu while rejecting it recalled similar move by his group made the state governors from the region to proscribe the separatist group demanding an independent state from present day Nigeria.
“Ohanaeze vehemently opposes any attempt by Miyetti Allah to establish any form of vigilante group in Igboland,” Mr Nwodo said in a statement Friday.
“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,” he added.
On his part, the Afenifere helmsman said the demand is an insult to the people of the South-East.
“It is a provocative agenda which shows that there is a clear agenda to provoke war,” Mr Odumakin said in a statement.
“The 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,” he added.
For the separatist leader whose group was proscribed in 2017, the demand by the herdsmen signifies intention to conquer Igboland with the help of Igbo governors.
He criticised why those who made the demand were not arrested and prosecuted, saying when his group wanted to establishment a similar force in the region the federal government with the help of the state governors declared the non-violent group terrorists.
“…I hereby warn Miyetti Allah, Southeast Governors and their collaborators in the Southeast and elsewhere in Nigeria that IPOB will not tolerate the establishment of any Fulani militia, masquerading as vigilantes, in Southeast or anywhere else in Biafraland,” Mr Kanu said in a statement he signed.
“We recall that it is the stated intention of IPOB to set up vigilante services, otherwise known as Biafran Security Services (BSS) that was used as the immediate excuse by the same Southeast Governors to proscribe IPOB, whereupon they proceeded to invite the Government of Nigeria to declare IPOB a terrorist organisation, all of which culminated in the Python Dance that claimed scores of innocent Biafran lives.
“We are eagerly waiting for Miyetti Allah and their Fulani terror militia in Biafraland, an adventure they will regret for as long as they live. Their ancestors tried the same nonsense 300 years ago and returned to Zaria in humiliation, so will this Fulani army of darkness fail in 2019. Fulani caliphate must know that IPOB will not allow any of piece of Biafran territory to become another Illorin. We are waiting for Miyetti Allah with open arms,” he declared.
Meanwhile, a former minister has also reacted to the demand of the cattle-breeding body.