Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze ndigbo, yesterday, rose against the menace of herdsmen in the southeast especially with the recent killing of 65-year-old farmer, Uzoemena Iriaka in his farm in Umuekpu, Agwa, Oguta Council Area of Imo State. The farmer was allegedly killed by suspected herdsmen.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, therefore, called on Igbos to defend themselves as the killing was becoming rampant.
Ohanaeze lamented that Ndigbo have been pushed to the wall by the rogue herdsmen who kill the people virtually on daily basis in their own home land.
“We have been pushed to the wall. We have no other option than to rise up now, gird our loins and face the seemingly intractable insecurity.”
Also, the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, has condemned the killing of Uzoemena Iriaka, describing it as “gruesome and barbaric”, warning that enough is enough from the evil activities of these rogue herdsmen.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo in statement by Emeka Attama, the media aide to the President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo and Prince Uche Achi-Ogbaga, the publicity secretary of the Igbo apex body condemned the killing, warning that Ndigbo will no longer watch while their people are being killed like animals in their own farms and urged them to rise up and protect themselves.
“The rampant killing and raping of defenseless people in their homes and farms has made it imperative for people to take all measures possible to defend themselves from these hoodlums.
“Communities should organise themselves and fight back these killers. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government stripped people of their means of self defence without providing adequate protection for them or ensuring commensurate disarming in the North, especially among herdsmen.
“The Southeast states should expedite action on measures to give their subjects hope of protection from these marauders.
“People, villages and communities, especially Ndigbo, should rise up to defend themselves individually and collectively from such marauding criminals more especially as they are said to be non-Nigerians.
“We just cannot continue to allow foreigners, who do not place any premium on the sanctity of human lives to come into our homes to kill us like rats. Igbo people should stop the complaints forthwith.
“Guard and defend yourselves from senseless massacres. cordon off your (track) roads to farms, streams and other places to avoid being taken unawares.
Imo lawmaker wants herdsmen prosecuted
Meantime, the member representing Oguta at the state House of Assembly, Frank Ugboma, has called for the arrest and prosecution of the herdsmen.
He spoke to Vanguard yesterday in Owerri, days after the leadership of the Miyetti Allah had promised to pay compensation to the family of the deceased.
The lawmaker said it’s not just compensation for the victim’s family but that those who were behind the wicked act should be made to face the law.
This is coming after series of security meetings to address the challenges caused by the herders.
He said: “The culprits should be apprehended and prosecuted. We are not just after compensation. We cannot continue to exchange our own for money. They should leave our farmlands. My people are predominantly farmers. We are calling for the arrest and prosecution of the killers.”
COSEYL tasks S-East govs
In a similar vein, the Coalition of South-East Leaders, COSEYL, in its reaction insisted that South East governors must rise up to challenge the killer herdsmen now or else, the youths will call for revenge, warning the herdsmen not to think that they have monopoly of killing and maiming, adding that this “barbaric and gruesome killing must stop.”
COSEYL, in a statement signed by Hon. Goodluck Egwu Ibem, the President General and Comrade Kanice Igwe, the Secretary General, said: “This is not the first time we are witnessing this kind of gruesome murder in Imo State and the South East zone in general, and at the end of the day, the Inspector General of Police will promise to fish out the perpetrators of the wicked act and nothing serious will be done about it.
“The herdsmen will go free, no arrest, no prosecution. They see themselves as super heroes who have license to kill at will in states that have governors as chief security officers.”