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  • News - South East - Enugu
  • Updated: February 22, 2024

Grazing settlements in Enugu tantamount to ethnic war — Huriwa warns Gov Mbah

Grazing settlements in Enugu tantamount to ethnic war — Hu

Fearing that Peter Mbah, the governor of Enugu State has finalised plans to establish permanent grazing settlements to Fulani herders, HURIWA said the idea would ignite a lifelong ethnic conflict in Igboland.

Against this backdrop,  HURIWA has advised the governor to rescind his decision.

Allnews.ng learned that Fulani migrants from neighbouring West African countries like Mali, Niger, and Mauritania were also accommodated in the controversial decision.

The Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA), the well-known civil rights advocacy group, has also cautioned all Igbo state governors to reject any attempts by the Federal Government to buy their consent to allow Fulani Ruga settlements in their territories. 

This is because the Rights group believes that allowing these settlements in Igboland will allow terrorists and warmongers from Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and the Central African Republic—who share the same ethnocultural affiliation as the Fulani people who are indigenous to Nigeria—to infiltrate Fulani territory. 

In addition to warning Peter Mbah of Enugu State to stop the alleged demonic plot to establish Fulani Ruga in Enugu State, HURIWA has requested that the governor make a discreet trip to Southern Kaduna, starting from Kafanchan in the Jemaa Local Government Area of Kaduna State, and conduct an on-the-spot investigation of the experiences of the natives there at the hands of Fulani settlers, whom they kindly accommodated within their communities many years ago. 

However, these settlers have since turned against the Indigenous Christian farming communities, including by hiring killer armed Fulani terrorists from outside of Nigeria to launch violent attacks in Southern Kaduna to seize the landed assets of the Indigenous Southern Kaduna natives. 

HURIWA confirmed that, at one point, the Kaduna State government, led by a governor who was born into the Fulani community, established first-class emirates for Fulani settlers deep within the Christian-dominated Southern Kaduna region, despite the state government's classification of the natives' Indigenous chiefdoms as second- and third-class.  

Therefore, the Rights organisation issued a warning, stating that the building of Ruga Fulani communities in the South East will unavoidably result in the creation of Fulani Emirates for the settlers, altering the ethno-cultural demographic composition of Igboland.

The civil rights group stated, "HURIWA wants to remind the Enugu State governor about the revelation made by the erstwhile bellicose governor of Kaduna State Mallam Nassir Elruffai who stated that he had to travel to a location outside of Nigeria in the West African region, to pay off armed Fulani terrorists who were engaged to kill off Southern Kaduna Christians.  

"Can we also inform Peter Mbah that even after the then Kaduna State governor bribed the killer migrant Fulani terrorists to stop killing Christians of Southern Kaduna origin, these killer herders refused to listen to Elruffai and continued with their blood-cuddling violent attacks in Southern Kaduna killing over 5,000 indigenes throughout the 8-year tenures of that governor? So is this what the Enugu State governor is planning to introduce in Enugu State which is obviously the capital of Igboland?"

HURIWA also noted that Chief Johnson Okolo, the chairman of the Anambra Industrial Cluster, Awada-Obosi in the Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, had voiced his opposition to the Federal Government's proposed plan to establish Ruga, a government policy intended to lessen herder-farmer clashes introduced by the Muhammadu Buhari administration, in the South-East.

In a Tuesday conversation with a South-East correspondent in Onitsha, Okolo stated that any South-East state governor who was considering establishing ruga in the area—particularly in Enugu State—should abandon the idea since it would increase regional instability.

According to Okolo, ruga incites herdsmen attacks, and the host community is in danger anywhere such an attack occurs.

HURIWA recalled that the entrepreneur rightly said, “I am a victim of herdsmen attacks. They used their cattle to destroy 6,000 palm trees, 300 oranges and 300 cashew trees which I planted on my farm at Amofia Afa in Udi Local Government Area in terms of what they called ranching.

"I have said it time without number, what is the interest of the Federal Government in the business of ruga or ranch? It is not Enugu State people or Southeast people that own Ranchs or Ruga. Why will the Federal Government want to buy land."

Under the pretence of trying to stop the armed herders' ongoing attacks on farmers, HURIWA, which supported Chief Johnson Okolo's previously stated well-reasoned position, warned that it is contrary to Nigeria's practice of a free market economy for the federal government to use public funds to buy land, build up settlement amenities, and then donate it to commercial Fulani herders. HURIWA denounced this initiative, calling it immoral and discriminatory, and said it should be forgotten if Nigeria is to experience prosperity and harmony amongst all ethnic groups.

According to the Rights group, if President Tinubu's administration has accepted the poisoned chalice introduced by the notorious former President Muhammadu Buhari in the name of Ruga settlements, then the people of the South East are being urged to actively resist this evil attempt to smuggle armed Fulani insurrection agents into Igboland. These agents will enter the country posing as commercial herders but are actually terrorists and land grabbers.  

"We the Igbos must collectively reject this satanic initiative to start off Ruga Fulani in any part of Igboland by government.  

"If the Fulani herders intend to buy lands in any part of Nigeria, let the forces of demand and supply determine their choice and not for the Federal or state governments to corruptly divert public funds to illegally set up settlements for these people as if they owned Nigeria. 

"We urge civil rights organisations and ethnic people of South East to head to the courts of competent jurisdiction to obtain restraining injunctions against the setting up of Ruga settlements in South East as this constitutes a fundamental abuse of the rights of the Igbo people to own their movable and immovable property in Igboland", the Civil Rights group noted further.

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