We will accommodate Iaw abiding Fulani herdsmen in Igboland – Ohaneze

Obinwannem News We will accommodate Iaw abiding Fulani herdsmen in Igboland - Ohaneze

Apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth -Wing, on Sunday, said Igboland is willing to welcome law-abiding Fulani herdsmen to do businesses in the South East region.

The Deputy National President, Youth Wing, Onwuasoanya FCC Jones, disclosed this in a statement in Owerri.

He said the manner some people have painted the Igbo as unreceptive of t he Fulani is not true but that the Igbo were interested in justice, equity and mutual respect.

However, he insisted the Igbo supported the ban on open-grazing in Igboland and the policy of the government of the region to foster peaceful co-existence between the herders and farmers. He warned some individuals who have now used the issue of cattle grazing to stoke ethnic crisis in their interest to stop it.

According to Ohanaeze, “Anyone who has been following events in the last couple of months would observe a desperate and well-coordinated propagation of hateful and near xenophobic rhetoric across different conventional and informal media platforms. The obvious target of the promoters of these narratives is to present Ndigbo as being in a kind of cold war or being unreceptive of the Fulani or any other tribe in this country.

“These divisive elements have also latched on the very contentious issues surrounding the method of cattle grazing acceptable by different groups and regions in the country to advance their hateful tendencies while pretending to project and protect the interests of Ndigbo and their neighbours.

“It is also saddening that at a time when all stakeholders in Nigeria are expected to work for the progress, unity, healing and prosperity of our troubled nation, some elements are hiding behind the most frightful form of ethnic nationalism to promote their personal and group political interests, by cashing in on mob sentimentalism to sensationalize issues and discourses instead of encouraging responsible and constructive engagements and promoting the desired harmony for the peace and progress of Igboland especially and Nigeria in general.”

He continues: “The preponderance of opinion among Ndigbo at home and in the diaspora show that the ban on open-grazing of cattle anywhere in Igboland is overwhelmingly popular and is therefore, a settled issue and is not subject to negotiations. However, this does not mean that individual businessmen who wish to invest in cattle ranching anywhere in Igbo and are barred from doing so. Any policy of government aimed at fostering peaceful co-existence between herdsmen, farmers and other local populations across Igboland is acceptable and should be encouraged.

“Ndigbo has a right to defend themselves against the invasion of any group of criminals or terrorists no matter where they may be coming from. Hence, terrorist herdsmen under any guise who are found anywhere close to Ala Igbo will not live to tell their experiences. Any herdsman found with a gun or any kind of weapon, except the sticks with which they herd their cattle will be treated as an invader and terrorist.

“We welcome law-abiding Fulani and indeed anyone or group from any part of the country and even from outside the country to Igbo land to do their businesses, socialize with us and even acquire and own properties legally anywhere in Igboland, without fear of extortion or molestation.

The Federal Government must respect our decision on ban on open grazing by ensuring that in creating or reviewing the so-called grazing routes, southeastern and indeed all parts of Igboland are not included as grazing routes.

“Ndigbo shall continue to treat every other Nigerian no matter their tribe, trade or tradition as brothers and friends, as long as no one tried to take our patriotism, hospitality and loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic for granted. The Federal Government and all members of the leadership class should make conscious efforts to promote peace based on justice, love based on truth and progress based on equity. This will help in sending troublemakers and crisis merchants out of business,” Ohanaeze said.

Ijeoma Njoku reporting, Obinwannem News /August 30, 2021

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