PAN-Igbo cultural body Ohanaeze Ndigbo has challenged Nigeria’s federal government to apply the same amount of zeal and efficacy with which it arrested Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho to deal with Fulani cattle herdsmen and killer bandits.
On June 25, Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu was dramatically arrested and abducted while in Kenya and flown back to Nigeria. In a similar development, on Monday this week, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, was arrested in Cotonou in the Republic of Benin while enroute to Germany and Nigeria is trying to get him extradited.
Both Messrs Kanu and Igboho have been thorns in the side of the Nigerian government, criticising it for not clamping down on Fulani cattle herdsmen who have launched a campaign of terror across the country. These herdsmen attack farming villages when they complain about their livestock destroying their crops and President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused of turning a blind eye to their activities as he us an ethnic Fulani himself and owns cattle.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, said he believes other Kanus and Igbohos will sooner than later emerge if the underlying issues are not addressed. He added that Messrs Kanu and Igboho are seen as heroes by their people because they are believed to be fighting just causes.
Mr Ogbonnia said: “Nigerian security operatives have in recent times shown that they have teeth and can bite. The question on every mouth is whether they can apply similar zeal in treating the Boko Haram kingpins, Fulani herdsmen, northwest bandits, etc.
“The foregoing selective efficiency of the security operatives elicits the reason for the making of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho. One of the departing admonitions of Pope John Paul II was if you want peace, then work for justice.’
“It is an age-old maxim founded on reason, experience and truth that the only way for peace to reign in society is for justice to be seen to be served to all. We recall that Sunday Igboho emerged on the scene because he could not endure the daily menace of the Fulani herdsmen in the Yoruba localities for a very long time.
“The herdsmen would kill, maim and rape women at random and all entreaties to the presidency for swift action against the AK-47-wielding herdsmen appeared to fall on deaf ears. Then, Igboho, in a patriotic heroic zeal intervened to save the rural farmers, women and children from the daily menace of the herdsmen.”
“There is no gainsaying the military operations against the Boko Haram in the northeast of Nigeria but the rate at which the herdsmen destroy farm crops, attack villages, kill the indigenes and forcefully occupy their ancestral lands is most callous, unconscionable and condemnable. This is where the intervention of the presidency is most needed and of course, the Igboho paradox.”
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Prof George Obiozor has maintained the need for the presidency to embrace equity, justice and fairness in public policy formulations and execution and that the various forms of agitation in Nigeria is an effect and not a cause in itself. The cause of the agitations is the obvious injustice in federal public policies.
“Measures should rather be taken to address the causes of the agitations and only then can Nigeria have peace and sustainable economic growth. On the other hand, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho who wittingly or unwittingly are now seen as heroes by their people, are but the products of an unjust society.
“Therefore, a concerted effort in search of the Kanus and the Igbohos without addressing the basis of the agitation is an effort in futility. Otherwise other Kanus and Igbohos will sooner than later emerge.”