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Rights Group Faults Ranching For Herdsmen In South-East

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, a rights organization, has alerted the governors of the South-East states, particularly those of Enugu, Abia, Anambra, and Imo, that no land in the area is available for ‘Fulani’ to seize for ranching or settlement purposes.

 

Intersociety reminded the governors that the South-East landmass is 29,525 km2, which is less than one state’s worth of land in Northern Nigeria. In particular, the governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, was advised to refrain from taking any action, under any cover, that would create herder settlements in any area of their respective states.

“These moves must be done away with in the entire South-East or be lawfully and popularly resisted,” Intersociety stated in a report it released on Wednesday.

 

The group said in a report signed by its principal officers, Emeka Umeagbalasi, that it had observed that, between December 2023 and February 2024, most social clusters remained saturated with strong suspicions that the governors and their governments are being economical with the truth, despite denials and reasons given by the governors and their governments or defenses made publicly to justify the widely suspected politically-motivated moves to establish the so-called “non-native trailer parks,” “agro-industrial farms,” “mechanized farm settlements,” or “modern cow ranching,” among others.

 

It added, “While such moves have clandestinely been intensified at sub-state government level in Anambra State since 2022, through the Ministry of Homeland Security and its commissioner; in Enugu and Abia states, they are believed to have reared their ugly heads since December 2023 after the electoral apex court judgments in the 2023 governorship polls in the two states.

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“These moves are made more suspicious by the fact that these governors and their governments, particularly those of Enugu and Anambra states hardly speak out publicly in strong condemnation of jihadist Fulani herdsmen’s violence in their respective states, including abductions and killings in captivity, sexual violence, open killings, property robberies and seizure and wanton destruction of farmlands and crops.”

 

Intersociety, however, noted that the current food insecurity in Nigeria, including shortages and price hikes have been traced to what it described as “Islamic-Fulanization” and “terrorization” of the country’s food baskets of “Ondo, Ogun, and Oyo states in the South-West; Delta and Edo states in the South-South; Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi, and Niger states in North-Central; Southern Kaduna and Southern Kebbi in North-West; and Taraba, Southern Borno and Northern Adamawa in North-East, per Boko Haram and Jihadist Fulani herdsmen.”

 

Observing that the actions taken by the governors of the South-East and the justifications offered by them have also grown increasingly dubious in light of the revelations made by the governments of Enugu and Abia states regarding the Federal Government’s participation in those matters, According to Intersociety, “the government of Abia State is working with the Federal Government to build a (non-native) trailer park at Aro-Ngwa, while the government of Enugu State stated that “it is planning to build a military base in Nimbo in Uzo Uwani and Isi-Uzo to protect its planned cow ranching and the people of the area.”

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