FULANI HERDSMEN: Igbo Intelligentsia Forum cautions DSS
Igbo Intelligentsia Forum , a professional and advocacy group has called on the Federal Government to investigate the veracity of the claims by the DSS that elements of IPOB abducted and killed Five Fulani herdsmen and the alleged cases of gross human rights abuses and extra judicial killings of IPOB members by security agencies.
In a release issued to Journalists in Lagos and signed by the Forum’s coordinator, Hon Joseph Ikunna, the group faulted the DSS news statement which it described as hasty, sensational, ill motivated and out of pattern.
The group wondered why highly a revered institution like DSS will go to town with a highly explosive news statement capable of inciting ethnic massacre against a section of the country without caution and conducting appropriate due diligence.
Hon Ikunna frowned at the unprofessionalism of the DSS statement which he said failed to follow all known rudiments of criminal investigation. ''The DSS statement failed to show evidence of the alleged killing/massacre and the exact picture and location of the alleged grave just like there was no mention of any forensics conducted on the said bodies to determine the cause and time of death or the identities of the victims.
There were also no mention of a Coroner’s inquest on the Killings, no mention of any investigation by the police who are constitutionally obliged to investigate and prosecute as appropriate and no mention of arrest of any suspects, including the said elements affiliated to IPOB''.
The group statement reads; ‘Recall that Nigeria has been a theatre of killings and beheadings by Fulani Herdsmen and Nigerians have been yearning for investigation, arrest and prosecution of these people. It’s public knowledge that in the last two months Fulani Herdsmen are reported to have fought and massacred over 500 Idoma citizens in an effort to convert their ancestral farmlands as cattle grazing field.
It is public knowledge that IPOB has been consistent in alleging the abduction, extra judicial killings and secret burials of its members by security agents’
It is common knowledge that the Fulani Herdsmen bear arms especially the infamous AK47 assault rifles. They move about freely in a country that does not permit the bearing of such arms by private citizens’’
In view of the foregoing, we feel that something more sinister is amiss hence the need for a thorough investigation of the unfortunate incident.’’
The group while assuring all non indigenes living in Igbo their safety condemned all the widespread killings going on across Nigeria in the last couple of years and expressed hope that those responsible for the massacre at National High School Aba, the Agatu villages massacres etc., would be identified and brought to justice.
‘’We believe that fifth columnists are at work trying to sow seeds of inter-ethnic discord and disaffection with a view of inciting violence and military crackdown against the Igbo. The government must ensure that peace and order is restored in all troubled communities, by ensuring equal treatment and respect for the rule of law, so as to prevent citizens from resorting to self help.
The group called on the Federal Government to find a permanent solution to the increasing clashes between Fulani herdsmen and the various communities they transit through across the country.