Posted by News Express | 15 April 2016 | 2,899 times
Igbo intellectuals under the aegis of Igbo Intelligentsia Forum have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over the recent claim by the Department of State Services (DSS) that some Hausa Fulanis were abducted in Abia by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), killed and secretly buried in a mass grave.
The Forum in an open letter signed by the Coordinator, Hon. Joe Ikunna, and Publicity Committee Secretary, Dr. Katch Ononuju, made several demands. Among them is the setting up of “a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to determine the truth of the news statement by the DSS and to investigate the spread of Fulani Herdsmen’s Clashes with agrarian communities in different parts of Nigeria”; sanctioning “of the National Security Adviser and the Director General of the DSS, and other officers of their department that contrived the news statement”; and “to direct the DSS to publish a public apology to the Igbos for the heist targeted against them.”
The open letter reads: “We are concerned citizens of Nigeria. Our attention has been drawn to a recent news statement by the Department of State Services (DSS) as widely published by a section of the media alleging the discovery by the DSS of a mass grave in Abia State.
The statement further claimed the discovery of decomposing bodies of five Fulani men in a shallow grave who were allegedly killed and buried by elements affiliated to IPOB.
We are alarmed by these allegations as we do not condone violence of any sort by or against any person or group of persons. Our history as Igbo shows that we have lived peacefully with people of different ethnicities for generations.
“Your Excellency will recall that an on the spot assessment by the governments of Abia and Imo states exposed the shameful propaganda of the DSS as it became obvious that the five bodies found in a shallow grave in a bush in Uturu town were actually kidnap victims and that the unfortunate incident has no ethnic coloration whatsoever.
“It is nevertheless important to properly situate this news statement as issued by the DSS in the light of contemporary events in Nigeria hence part of our immediate concern is the motive behind the DSS news statement:
“1. The DSS failed to show evidence of the alleged killing/massacre and the exact picture and location of the alleged grave.
“2. No mention was made of any forensics conducted on the said bodies to determine the cause and time of death or the true identities of the victims.
“3. There was no mention of a Coroner’s inquest on the Killings.
4. There was no mention of any investigation by the police who are constitutionally obliged to investigate and prosecute as appropriate
“5. There was no mention of arrest of any suspects.
“6. The basic rudiments of a criminal investigation were not observed.
“7. It is on record that Nigeria in recent time has been a theatre of killings and beheadings by Fulani Herdsmen. For instance; Fulani Herdsmen were reported to have fought and massacred over 500 Idoma citizens in an effort to convert their ancestral farmlands as cattle grazing field.
“8. We do not know of any arrests by the DSS or prosecution by the authorities of these notorious insurgents, now ranked as the 4th most deadly terrorist organisation in the world.
“9. 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.
“Now let it be known that Igbos are peace loving people and they do not have a history of violence targeted against other ethnic nationalities, religion or culture.
“The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have repeatedly stated that they do not bear arms and that their agitations for self-determination is based on their conscientious objection to membership of the Nigerian State.
“The DSS news statement tendentious. It is un-nerving for those serving in our security services to turn around and stoke a conflagration with capacity to cause ethnic massacre of a segment of the country namely, the Igbo nation.
“We therefore demand unequivocally as follows. . .
“1. That the President of Nigeria should set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to determine the truth of the news statement by the DSS and to investigate the spread of Fulani Herdsmen’s Clashes with agrarian communities in different parts of Nigeria.
“2. To sanction the National Security Adviser and the Director General of the DSS, and other officers of their department that contrived the news statement.
“3. To direct the DSS to publish a public apology to the Igbos for the heist targeted against them.
4. To immediately disarm all unauthorised bearing of arms in Nigeria by ethnic militias including the Fulani Herdsmen whom the Inspector General of Police claimed are foreigners.
“Our position is same as that of the Tiv, Igala, Igbira koto and Igbira Okene, Bassa, Agatu, Igede, Yoruba, Nupe, Hausa, Tangale, Taruk, Birom. Angas, Afor, Doma, Gbagi, Bini, Izon, Uhrobo, Efik, Annang, Ibibbio, Kanuri, Kaje, Bokkos, Ishan, Afemai, Itsekri. Jukun, Kataf, Chiboki, Mada, Obi, Gwandara, Idoma, Kanuri, Bachama etc. and others who inhabit the Sahel savannah and the rain Forrest regions of Nigeria.
“We urge the members of the Miyetti Allah to see agriculture as a business that demands considerable investment and responsibility.
“We recommend that investors in cattle breeding take a page from the poultry industry by acquiring ranches as Your Excellency did in Daura.
“The government must not allow the business interests of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), a trade association with membership in the civil service, politics and other Fulani investors clash against and undermine national security & corporate well-being of Nigeria.
“We condemn the push by members of the Miyetti Allah at the National Assembly to appropriate lands from various communities to aid and profit its members at the expense of national security.
“We trust that Your Excellency as a Patron of Miyetti Allah will encourage members of the association & other investors in cattle breeding and husbandry to take more responsibility in their private business in which them as investors own 100% of the profits.
“We thank your Excellency for your time.”
•Photo shows President Buhari.
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