According to the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, the attack on Enugu by armed Fulani herders has created the impression that President Muhammadu Buhari’s demolition of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) was a premeditated effort to expose the region to herder attacks.
Many Igbo farmers in the state’s Uzo-Uwani Local Government Council were reportedly killed in the raid on Sunday night.
According to the rights group, killings of farmers and damage of farmlands and properties, which had been curtailed by the creation of ESN, have again resumed after the Buhari government collaborated with regional governors to demolish the security network.
The organisation expressed concern that the latest incidents in Enugu and Ebonyi State, which claimed the lives of over 50 Igbo villagers, occurred only a few months after the clampdown and crushing of ESN members across the south eastern states.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has alleged that the attack on Enugu community by armed Fulani herdsmen has given the impression that the destruction of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) by President Muhammadu Buhari was a systematic plot to expose the region to herders attacks.
The Sunday night’s attack reportedly saw the gruesome deaths of many Igbo farmers in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Council of the state.
According to the rights group, the killings of farmers and destruction of farmlands and properties, which was curbed by the emergence of ESN, have now restarted after the Buhari government colluded with governors in the region to destroy the security network.
The group noted that it was more worrisome that the recent incident in Enugu and that of Ebonyi State, in which over 50 lives of Igbo villagers were lost, are coming few months after the clampdown and crushing of members of ESN across the south eastern states.
“They, alongside hordes of cattle, invaded farmlands making a mess of the crops planted by the poor village farmers. Sadly, in most cases, these killer herdsmen even violently attack and kill the farmers if they have the gut to question them,” HURIWA noted.
“These evil activities took place in all parts of the South East: from Abia to Imo; from Anambra to Enugu and Ebonyi states respectively. The people were crying especially in the face of the emphasis the Federal Government places on agriculture. None of the herdsmen was reported to have been arrested and persecuted by the law enforcement agencies. Yet, the evil acts continued unabated.
“HURIWA as a media affiliated Civil Rights body, has been concerned about this and we have followed lamentations and reports of what the rural farmers went through before the advent of the embattled ESN.
“We cried out when the Ozuitem community in Bende area of Abia State was invaded and attacked by the herdsmen and nobody did anything. People were slaughtered and properties destroyed. A month later, another community in the same Abia State, Ndi Okereke Abam in Arochukwu council, was equally attacked by the herdsmen. Nothing was done.
“In the early hours of April 6, 2019, the herdsmen attacked farmers’ settlement in Anambra West Council of Anambra State. They burnt farm houses, killed the men and raped the women they captured, yet nobody came to their rescue.
“Could the youths have kept beating about the bush while their people were being taken to slaughter houses day after day? What about the dastardly attack on Umuawa-Ibu community in Okigwe council area of Imo State. In all these cases, HURIWA cried to high heavens, petitioned here and there, and complained everywhere, yet the authorities never bothered.
“The internal outcry over these atrocities became deafening. Reportedly also, these herdsmen also butchered a whole family and a Catholic seminarian on apostolic work in Nkanu.
“The story is the same in Ebonyi and Imo States. In Imo State, armed Fulani herders reportedly unleashed terror in Oguta, Ohaji-Egbema and Orlu as well as other parts of Igbo land.
“The killing of Ozoemena Iriaka from Umuekpu in Agwa community in the same Oguta council area was added to the list of casualties of these murderous herdsmen.
“For almost a decade, people of south east endured the agony of murder, rape and molestation in the hands of killer herdsmen; a minority group that appears to be ‘sacred cows’ because they control all state apparatus and hence are unleashing violence on the people.”
Furthermore, the rights group said that the international community has rated these herdsmen as the fourth deadliest terror group in the world but the Nigerian government has refused to speak.
In comparison to the Eastern Security Network, HURIWA claims that the South-East Governors’ Ebubeagu Security Network has not only failed to handle the security concerns in the Southeast zone, but has also jeopardized the security of the Igbo Nation States.
According to the rights group, the Ebubeagu Security Network only exists on the pages of newspapers because its operatives and operations are not located in any community in the south eastern states.
“Unlike their counterparts from the West who have made effort to combat terrorism in their territory through Amotekun, we wonder why governors of the Southeast have allowed themselves to become fragmented for fear of displeasing their masters.
“Unfortunately too, some of the Igbo political leaders have allowed themselves to be cajoled and intimidated to the point where they now deny their own identity.
“Undoubtedly, the unending assault on the nation’s grundnorm by the institution which has the onus to promote and protect it, has rendered Nigeria as a lawless state.
“Any national or state government that fails to protect its people through national security apparatus has created a lacuna for the latter to seek self-defense as an alternative to reliance on government security outfits.”
Remember that the ESN was recently accused of carrying out a number of violent attacks, including the destruction of the Imo jail and police headquarters in the state capital, Owerri.