By Chinasa Ogbonna
Igbo leader and political icon, Chief (Engr) Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has lamented that the activities of herdsmen in some parts of Nigeria in the past 12 months “have been of great concern to all men and women who are committed to the unity, peace and economic development of Nigeria”.
Addressing newsmen in Owerri recently on the attack on Nimbo community in Enugu State by suspected Fulani herdsmen, Chief Iwuanyanwu appealed to the federal government not to treat the matter with levity but to regard it as a serious matter that can affect the existence of the nation.
He also expressed worry that the activities of the herdsmen may lead to poor agricultural harvests in Igboland and other parts of the country as farmers in these areas are afraid to go to their farms for fear that they may be killed, kidnapped or raped by the group.
He noted that by nature, the Igbo are traders, industrialists, entrepreneurs and peace-loving people who travel and domicile in places outside Igboland and thus encourage peaceful co-existence, adding that in the history of Nigeria, the Igbo have not initiated any bloody attack on any part of Nigeria but that rather, they have always been attacked in many places on flimsy reasons.
Chief Iwuanyanwu, however, recalled that for many years Fulani herdsmen have co-existed peacefully with the rest of Nigerians describing the present behavior of the herdsmen as a strange and dangerous phenomenon as he challenged the law-enforcement agencies to find out if these so-called herdsmen are actually Nigerians.
On President Buhari’s order on the security agencies to crack down on the violent herdsmen, he observed that the security agencies are already over-stretched and that it is impossible to get enough policemen to police Igbo farmlands and other parts of the country where the herdsmen are on the rampage.
Chief Iwuanyanwu who is also the grand patron of Ohaneze Youths and the ‘Ahaejiejemba Ndigbo,’ however counseled Igbo youths to exercise restraint and to avoid reappraisals as such could bring negative repercussions to the Igbo people domiciled across Nigeria.