By Obinna Akukwe
I want to warn the operatives of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, a subsidiary of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra IPOB, that some of their activities which include the killing of Hausa-Fulani traders’ and the destruction of their properties and camps in the South East, will soon lead to the massacre of Ndigbo in the North.
ESN operatives have last week killed seven persons in Imo State. Four were killed in Orlu, three in Umuaka, and some in Adani. The Fulanis in the same week killed over twenty in Ebonyi State.I have credible intelligence and information that a sinister group wants to retaliate the killings. This group is being discouraged by some northern elites and making mobilization difficult for them.
I have been informed that the group wants to use Kano and Bauchi as launching pad for the arson, looting and massacre of Ndigbo and their properties in a retaliatory move. The clog in the plot is that the elites in Zamfara, Bauchi and Kano have not bought into the project.
I know that Igbo Mandate Congress IMC in the heat of the #Endsars protest have put the Igbo Development Association and Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the North on red alert and outlined ways of initiating dialogue with their host communities to avoid reprisals-especially when some miscreants started attacking Northerners and their properties in the South East.
IDA and Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the north should be once more on red alert. The ESN plot is to stoke embers of disunity and cause a massacre of Ndigbo in the north, in order to precipitate Biafra.
President Buhari should rein in his kinsmen bandits who are terrorizing people. The presidency should initiate dialogue with elements of ESN to avoid further escalation.
I have warned Buhari’s men, privately, before the #Endsars protest that there is going to be a mass protest of unimaginable magnitude, and how they can initiate dialogue to avert it. They ignored it, claiming superior intelligence, until #Endsars erupted, and created serious ethnic tension, especially with the events at Obigbo.
I warned Buhari’s men severally, and privately, that the rampaging bandits and herdsmen will fast-forward the disintegration of Nigeria, if not checkmated. They ignored it, claiming ‘on top of the situation
I have warned Buhari’s men, privately, that the lopsided appointment into Federal Agencies, especially with regards to the South East, is creating outrage. They ignored it, citing Igbo dominance in the Central Bank.
I warned this time around , publicly, in a piece last month captioned ‘Hausa-Fulani Planning to Secede, Niger Chad to Benefit’ that
“Sections of Hausa-Fulani elites of northern extraction have been plotting how to secede from Nigeria since 2017 and the beneficiary nations will include Niger Republic and Chad. The only snag in the plan is the herdsmen who are not ready for any breakup of Nigeria, preferring a secured colony within the national space”.
I followed it up in another titled ‘Fulani Banditry Attacks and Buhari’s Timid, Negative Approach’ where I warned that;
“I have found it unfathomable. I have complained to those in power, including those in the State House, as a Buharist, APC Chieftain, and faithful supporter of Muhammadu Buhari since 2003. I am won to make it public, because the concerns I have raised privately have yielded no result.
“Buhari should wake up and rein in the bandits ravaging Nigeria. They are Fulanis, they are his kiths and kins. No excuse is acceptable. This is not the Change we fought for. I know my friends in APC will not like my view, but I have a duty bound by conscience to address evil wherever I found one, even if my brothers and friends are involved.
“Buhari should know that Fulani’s in Nigeria is 4 million out of 180 million Nigerians. 2million are of voting age and Buhari got close to 15 million votes in 2015 and 2019. It follows that about 13 million non-Fulanis voted for him. He is duty bound to protect every Nigerian, not just the 4 million Fulani people. Fulani’s are not bad people; I know many good ones, including Christians with whom we have embarked on Gospel Missions together in Nigeria and parts of West and North Africa.
“They feel the same way as I feel. They want their Fulani kith to be reformed rather than radicalized. They believe that Buhari is not refining the foreign Fulanis to the culture of the Nigerian Fulani. The local herders are powerless before their foreign bandit kinsmen, and Buhari’s response to this security situation is very timid and negative.”
When I confront the ESN and IPOB on activities capable of bringing tension to the South East, they listen and shelve much of their activities. It is very unfortunate that while we are involved in de-radicalizing elements of MASSOB, IPOB, ESN and other secessionist groups, the government of the day is pampering bandits, and some identified criminal elements among herdsmen, and other agents of destruction.
Branding all herdsmen criminal is wrong. Pastoral-ism is the flourishing businesses of Fulanis just like Igbos are traders. However, criminals among them, including those who attacked Ebonyi community, two weeks ago, should be fished out and dealt with. Those involved in legitimate, profiled endeavors should not be harassed. Hausas engage in petty trading, meat roasting, among other things, which eases domestic burdens. Harassing them from among us does no good. Many of them have live here in Igbo land for over forty years.
Let Buhari and his men wake up and tame the bandits and criminal elements among herdsmen. Let the perpetrators of Ebonyi killings last two weeks be fished out immediately and dealt with. I will henceforth make all my warnings public, probably, they will hear well. Let us not turn South East into a theater of war. The Owerri prison break is very regrettable. Above all, let the ESN tread carefully in order not to cause massacre of Ndigbo in the north.
(Rev Obinna Akukwe is the Director General of Igbo Mandate Congress IMC…igbomandate @yahoo.com)