Research claims 350 Igbo towns surrounded by armed Jihadist waiting to attack
By Bola Olowokere and Chuks Ibe
A new research produced by Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law has claimed that over 350 Igbo towns and villages have been invaded by a mix of armed Fulani men and people of Shuwa Arab extraction waiting the attack South East communities.
The research made available to Irohinoodua was conducted by Emeka Umeagbalasi
Criminologist and Graduate of Security Studies
Master of Science, Peace Studies, Conflict Resolution, Amaka Damaris Onuoha,
Head of Campaign and Publicity, Chinwe Umeche,
Head, Democracy and Good Governance and Ndidiamaka Bernard, (Cyber Law)
Head, Int’l Justice & Human Rights.
Others are Obianuju Joy Igboeli, a lawyer and
Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law and
Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku (HND)
Head, Field Data Collection & Documentation
The research alleges state backing of hundreds of armed aliens now occupying forests in Eastern Nigeria.
It claimed that state backed Jihadist Fulani herdsmen and Shuwa Arabs now occupy 350 Igbo communities and villages
It claimed that there are not less than 350 Igbo communities, villages and other locations now invaded and permanently occupied by the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and ‘imported’ Shuwa Arabs, also called ‘Cowmen’ in Arabic.
The report said the number of Igbo communities forcibly occupied by the Jihadists has recorded exponential increase from about 139 in August 2019 to alarming 350 in May 2020.
“The jihadist occupation is vicariously, if not directly aided by the Government of Nigeria and its security agencies especially the Army and the Police. By the combined accounts of the Association of the Eastern Town Unions, the Alaigbo Dev Foundation and the Eastern Outlook Newspaper, “as at August 2019, 139 Igbo communities, villages and locations have been occupied by Fulani Herdsmen, out of which Enugu State has the highest number with 56, followed by Anambra with 24, Imo 17, Ebonyi 12 and Abia seven. In Igbo areas of Delta and Rivers, there are 15 in Delta and nine in Rivers,” the research covering a wide range of issues said.
It noted further that recent detailed review and update, the number has exponentially increased from 139 in August 2019 to not less than 350 in May 2020, out of which 318 were factually located and presented below while 38 others were added as ‘dark figures’ or “factually existing but not captured figures”.
It said the ’32 added dark figures’ are likely to be found in Imo and Ebonyi States, with a fraction in Enugu State. The breakdown of the current figure of 350 invaded and occupied Igbo Communities show that Enugu State has the largest number with 72 communities, followed by Anambra with 70, Imo 61, Abia 43, Ebonyi 36, Igbo Delta 21 and Igbo Rivers 15; totaling 318 and 350 when added with a ‘dark figure’ of 32.
According to the group which research was assisted by resource persons from the academic communities, the geographical and geopolitical implication of the Jihadist herdsmen is that they have roughly invaded and violently occupied two States in Igbo Land.
“This is on account of the fact that Enugu and Anambra State have total of 368 autonomous communities; with 187 in Enugu and 181 in Anambra, as against 350 of them already occupied by the Jihadist Herdsmen. In grand summary, while most of these 350 Igbo communities, villages and other locations have been invaded and violently occupied, some are already under attacks or on a verge of invasion and violent occupation” the report noted adding that the research did not Include Northern “Economic Refugees” In Igbo Land
granted that there presently are hundreds of thousands of “economic refugees” of Northern extraction now flooding the cities and towns in Igbo Land; some of them surviving victims of Boko Haram/ISWAP, Ansaru, ‘Zamfara/Birnin Gwari’ Bandits and Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen anti Christian butcheries in the north; but they are strictly not included in our research categorization of invading “Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and Shuwa Arabs”.
It said l those engaged in meaningful means of livelihood in Igbo cities and towns are not included; even though some, if not many of them are potential security threats to Igbo land and her indigenous natives and their properties.
It said not setting the record straight at this point in time would expressly mean creating escape routes for the Govs and community leaders. Another purpose of this research work is to intellectualize the consciousness of the general Igbo population to the effect that such violent invasion and occupation are not ordinary. They are done with clear jihadist intents and defy all geographical and geopolitical excuses. It is also one of the purposes of this research work to expose the conspiracy of the Igbo Govs and community leaders and the hypocrisy of the today’s church leaders (today’s ‘faith profiteers’) in Igbo Land. This work is further intended to alert the ‘attentive’ Igbo public (policy makers, political actors and the educated class) and the ‘un-attentive’ Igbo public or larger population to be on extreme alert, as the old saying goes “Hausa abatago Awka”. Setting the record straight in this respect will further make the general Igbo population to be in the know of those who have abominably compromised to sell the Igbo Nation out to jihadist enemies.
It noted that the Fulani herdsmen
are the armed terrorist and Islamic jihadist department of Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria, “the country’s primitive cattle herders. They were created and funded and are still funded by some extremist Northern politicians and security chiefs and made more devastating and jihadist in 2010.”
It claims that the formation and funding of the “now world’s fourth deadliest terrorist group were achieved using the draconian and age-long Fulani rural cattle grazing networks in Nigeria”
It said the jihadist branch of the Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria is also strongly believed to have been joined by ‘imported’ jihadists made up of ‘Shuwa Arabs’ or ‘Cowmen’ from Chad and Sudan, etc.
The report said the Fulani jihadist group is likened to ‘Sudanese Janjaweed’ and different from ‘machete and dagger-armed’ wandering cattle herders or the ‘Fulani Herdsmen’. The age-long grazing networks of the Herdsmen, spanning the country’s rainforest regions of Southeast, South-south, Southwest and North-central including Christian parts of Northwest and Northeast, will in the nearest future, if not months away, serve as area intelligence and grounds for full scale jihadist attacks or violence in old Eastern Nigeria and other Christian settlements in the Southwest, FCT, etc.
It stated further “The major difference between the Fulani Herdsmen and their jihadist component strictly lies on their modus operandi and the role of the state actors. The original Fulani Herdsmen operated and still majorly operate with machetes and daggers used in cutting foliages and clearing bush paths for their cattle and guarding their cattle against malicious attacks especially from their rival farmers and cattle rustlers. They also engaged in seasonal grazing usually during dry seasons and hardly settle or live in their host communities. The Fulani Herdsmen are well known serial wanderers (Fulani Daji) and different from sedentary Fulanis or ‘Fulani Ngida’. The clashes between Fulani Herdsmen and farmers before now were usually rag tag and seasonal; with zero state actor involvement except in settling disputes between them and their host farmers or other rivals.”
The report believe that the Movement of Fulani Jihadists To Old Eastern Nigeria is supported by some security operatives.
“The movement of Fulani Jihadists commenced in 2016, but reached its peak between 2017 and 2019. The movement had involved: non state actor ‘move in and settle or occupy’ and state actor ‘security forces aided yearly movement’, facilitated through the Nigerian military’s annual regional exercises, usually held between Sept and Oct-Dec.
The report indicted the Nigerian Federal Government and Security operatives”
It said “First is the fact that Igbo Land has the least land allocation in Nigeria with 29,525km2 and estimated 20,000 others for her outpost population; as against a Northern State of Niger that has 76,363km2; roughly three times more than that of the entire five States of the Southeast. So land issue is out of it. Second is the fact that the Buhari Presidency had in the same 2016 when the movement for jihad in old Eastern Nigeria started, requested to govern Nigeria with ‘emergency powers’; thereby tending to castrate the Constitution including its Human Rights Chapter. Since then, the 1999 Constitution has been applied in such mode alongside the country’s various treaty laws. Third is that the Nigerian Army had in same 2016 announced the introduction of ‘Army Ranching’ throughout the country’s military formations. This was how Fulani Herdsmen seemingly became a branch of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies.”
It argued that the establishment by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2017, 2018 and 2019 of ‘RUGA’ or ‘Rural Fulani Settlement’ and the ‘National Livestock Transformation Plan’; a grand disguise to forcibly facilitate the movement of the Jihadists who hide under ‘cattle herders’ were to force themselves into indigenous populations and violent takeover of their farmlands and forests throughout Nigeria. Sixth is the grossly lopsided composition of the country’s top security positions at Federal, regional and state levels. These are to the extent that as at Sept 2019, 18 of the country’s 22 security, policing and justice positions were occupied by Muslims adding that out of 26 top military commanders manning strategic formations in the Southeast, 18 were Muslims; out of six senior police commanders in the Southeast, four were Muslims and out of five State directors of SSS in the Southeast four were military.
It also accused some Igbo leaders of conspiracy.
It stated “it must be clearly understood that violent invasion and occupation of not less than 350 Igbo communities, villages and other locations by Jihadist Herdsmen has the trio of state and security backing and conspiracy of Igbo Govs and most of the community leaders. Community leaders include traditional rulers and presidents general of the town unions and the Government appointed or selected chairmen of various local government areas”
The report noted that the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen movement Southward is also heavily funded clandestinely. Such conspiratorial involvements of the Govs, community leaders and council chairmen include ‘conspiracy of silence’, inaction, cover-up, ‘donation’ of lands or procurement of same through moles or compromised third parties, receiving criminal cash sums from leaders of the Jihadists or collection of monthly royalties, and exhibition of fears and cowardice, among others. As a matter of fact, the Igbo Govs saw all these coming but covered same up so as to ‘retain’ and ‘finish their office tenures’, the research indicated.
It said there are only few instances in Igbo Land where community leaders including traditional rulers and presidents general resisted and still resist them.
The report listed the communities to include Arondizogu in Ideato South LGA (ikpa-ocha debacle), Issele-Ukwu in Aniocha North LGA (Delta) and Umuchu in Aguata LGA. In Issele-Ukwu, a mole was hired to procure and ‘donate’ a parcel of land for “private Hausa Market” but the Community stood its ground in the contrary.
It noted that in Umuchu, a group of violent Fulani Herdsmen, accompanied by an Army officer, were caught recently negotiating a forest path in the Community in a bid to settle in same.
“The police authorities in the areas were alerted and on interrogation, they claimed to have come from ‘Abia’ and after a phone call with the Abia State Police Command, they were ordered to be returned to Abia State while the Army officer was picked and taken to Anambra State Police Command headquarters, Awka for further investigation.”
It stated that in Umuzu, Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State, a sum of N200, 000 was recently paid to Fulani Herdsmen for ‘their two missing cows’. In Umunnachi, Dunukofia LGA of Anambra State, a highly placed citizen and personality of international repute recently told Intersociety thar the Fulani Herdsmen have just invaded and settled at the top of a hill from where they monitor local maidens and young married women farming in the farms for possible abduction and sexual violence including rape and forced pregnancies. It was also found that some times, the natives and leaders of concerned Igbo communities are taken unawares by the Jihadists, only to wake up one morning to discover that their distant farmlands and forests have been taken over by the Jihadist Herdsmen. News of their occupation only breaks out when some of their natives are reported missing, or abducted, or raped, or killed.
It said that in furtherance of their sexual violence, the Jihadist Herdsmen use three malicious methods: enticement with cash sums where necessary and false promises where necessary; use of charms where necessary and use of violence where necessary. Once succeeded in forcing their victims to be pregnant, they will insist on ‘inheriting both the forcibly impregnated local maidens or young married women and their pregnancies or children.
The group said a number of these young girls and married women are strongly believed to have fallen victim to them in Awka (Agu Awka), Ayamelum, Uzo Uwani, Ezeagu and some parts of Ebonyi State; and when rarely complained to Christian or community leaders or Government actors, they would be told to retire to their fate so as to ‘to avoid being hacked to death or have their families or villages wiped out’. It added that many, if not most of the church leaders in Igbo Land, on their part, have also become more of ‘faith profiteers’ than ‘defenders of faith’.
The report stated “They are busy chasing after money while the House of Jesus crumbles under their watch”
It named some of the occupies towns and villages as
Enugu: 72 Locations: Ibite Ogbaku, Akpugo, Achi, Inyi, Nachi, Ukpabi-Nimbo, Ukpata, Akegbe-Ugwu, Ugwuoba, Eka Aku, Igbo-Etiti, Amagunze, Amaechi Idodo, Ugwu-Onyeama, Egede, Adada, Nkpologwu, Afa, Uvuru, Ugwu Aboh, Waziri Estate-Nsukka, Enugu-Ezike, Neke-Uno, Akpogasi, Ugwuogo, Ekpebe, Madonna University Layout, Ihuokpa-3-Corner, Akwuke, Industrial Layout-Emene, Unity Layout, Ibagwa-Nike City Layout-Amokwe, Heritage Layout-Oyoho-Nike, Odo Rice-Emene, New Zion State Layout-Ugwu Onyeama, Phase 11, Independence Layout, 4-Corner (Enugu), Redemption Layout (Enugu), Amokpo, Ugbaka-Nkanu, Aninri, Umuabi (near FRSC Regional Training Headquarters in Udi), Awgu, Nenwe (in Aninri LGA) and Amiri Village in Nkanu West LGA. Others are: Eziani (Nsukka LGA) among many others.
Other contributors to the research were Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, PhD (Awka North & South), Odikpo Mmadubueze (Anambra East & West and Ayamelum), Mr. Oselloka Obaze (Ogbaru), Eric Eyituche (ADF, Enugu), Emeka Obi, PhD (Chukwuemeka-Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam),Comrade Paschal Oziri (Imo), Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku (Abia & Ebonyi), Hon Abia Onyike (former Commissioner for Information in Ebonyi), Ndidi Ndudi (Asaba), Kenneth Odenigbo (Ezeagu, Enugu), Ifeanyi Uzoma (Orlu, Imo) and Samuel Okoro (Uzo Uwani, Enugu)
noting that their contributions and assistance in the course of our field data collection and authentication are remarkable and commendable.