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  • Updated: May 28, 2020

Enugu Leads As ‘Jihadist Herdsmen Forcefully Invade, Occupy 350 Igbo Communities’ – INTERSOCIETY

Enugu Leads As ‘Jihadist Herdsmen Forcefully Invade, Occup

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, INTERSOCIETY, on Wednesday, revealed that no fewer than 350 communities in Igboland have been forcefully invaded and permanent camps erected by herdsmen, with Enugu State having the highest number of such invasions.

This is even as South-East governors and the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, have finally agreed on a template for the implementation of community policing in the zone after the governors had accused the police boss of breaching an earlier agreement reached on the matter.

The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, after a teleconference held with IGP on Wednesday, said they had agreed on modalities to implement the policy and that there was no longer disagreement between the governors, other leaders of the zone and Adamu.

He stated that after the meeting, Adamu agreed that the various security apparatus at the local communities should be deployed in the areas to safeguard lives and property.

Umahi noted that part of the agreement reached at the meeting was the training of community members by the police, while those trained would carry out the community policing in the different states of the zone.

He added that an advisory committee, to be set up in each area to supervise the operations, would be headed by the traditional ruler of the community with other selected stakeholders as members.

“This is at the community level and this is well accepted by the governors of South-east and other leaders of the zone,” the governor said.

Umahi explained that IGP also agreed that state Commissioners of Police in the zone made a mistake by making the selection, adding that anyone that had gone ahead to do the selection process made a mistake.

He said it was left for the governors and stakeholders to select those that would form members of the community police.

“Since the last hours today, we have been having meetings with the Inspector-General of Police Adamu, and the five governors of South-east attended with the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, in attendance. Others in attendance were the leaders of South-east, including Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Chief Jim Nwobodo, and traditional rulers.

“The meeting centred on the communiqué we issued after our Sunday meeting of governors and leaders of South-east at Enugu.

“We, the governors of South-east, and our leaders, were the first to accept community policing because of the beautiful ingredients of community policing.

“IG explained to us when we had the meeting at Enugu and we saw that the idea in the policy will assist us. So, when the CPs made a mistake by going to do the composition by themselves and asked the governors to inaugurate, we felt that something was wrong somewhere and we had to contact IG.

“At the local government level, we agreed that there will be a local government advisory committee to be headed by the local government chairman at each local government area. The DPOs (Divisional Police Officers) and other security agencies, the traditional rulers of that local government, and other stakeholders will be the members at that local government level.

“At the state level, you have the governor and the security chiefs, the chairman of traditional rulers’ council, and some selected stakeholders and interest groups.

“This is what we have agreed and we agreed that the South-east will implement theirs and inaugurate in their various states. When next we meet at Enugu, we will harmonise our views in line with these agreements we reached,” the Ebonyi Governor said.

He further disclosed that part of the agreement was for each state to pass a law, called South-east Security Law, among other things, based on the guidelines, which would give the legal backing to community policing in the zone.

In the main, figures on the invasion of Igbo communities were contained in a statement endorsed by INTERSOCIETY’s board chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head, International Justice and Human Rights, Ndidiamaka Bernard, and three others.

The statement read: “There are not less than 350 Igbo communities, villages and other locations now invaded and permanently occupied by the herdsmen and ‘imported’ Shuwa Arabs also called ‘cowmen’ in Arabic.

“The number of Igbo communities forcibly occupied by the jihadists has recorded exponential increase from about 139 in August 2019 to alarming 350 in May 2020.

“By the combined accounts of the Association of the Eastern Town Unions, the Alaigbo Development Foundation and the Eastern Outlook newspaper, “as at August 2019, 139 Igbo communities, villages and locations have been occupied by herdsmen, out of which Enugu State has the highest number with 56, followed by Anambra with 24, Imo 17, Ebonyi 12 and Abia seven.

“In Igbo areas of Delta and Rivers, there are 15 in Delta and nine in Rivers.

“But in our recent detailed review and update, the number has exponentially increased from 139 in August 2019 to not less than 350 in May 2020, out of which 318 were factually located and presented below while 38 others were added as ‘dark figures’ or ‘factually existing but not captured figures’.”

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