On behalf of OUR PEOPLE AND OUR LAND, we, the undersigned representing various interests and organizations, send you this SAVE OUR SOUL (SOS) Message!
We, in the entire Igbo nation, should not mystify issues concerning the Security of our People and our Ancestral Communities!
There is no mystery in the Security Measures being taken by our neighbors – the Yoruba, the Tiv in Benue State, the Junkun in Taraba, the Edo People, etc, to protect themselves (their men, women and children) and their Ancestral lands.
What they have done is to exercise their fundamental right to Self-Defense, a right which we ourselves have been trying to exercise BUT now need to assert in a more positive and non-ambiguous terms.
The Yoruba nation first established the needed Security structures.
And now the various states within the Yoruba nation are enacting the relevant laws to back those security measures taken earlier.
With this step, all ambiguities in the earlier steps they took have been taken care of and thus challenges to their right to exercise Self-Defense has been neutralized.
The Benue State first established the enabling laws for their security
And then the structures and instruments to back the laws.
And no one can rationally and politically challenge what they have done and are doing to protect their people and their land.
We, within the Igbo nation, we are aware of some measures which some of our Governors are taking with regard to our security.
Apart from certain basic inadequacies, what those security initiatives lack is the backing of the popular will and support of our people. They also lack enabling laws to back them up.
DRAFT ANTI-OPEN GRAZING BILL BY THE ADF
In 2016, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), in anticipation of this crises and following consultations with some of our respectable stakeholders submitted a Draft Anti-Open Grazing Bill to all the Seven (7) States in Igbo-Speaking Areas. Information we have is that only Abia House of Assembly passed the Bill but it was yet to be signed into law by the Governor.
That initiative of ADF was sequel to her earlier intervention in both the Senate and the Federal House of Representatives, challenging the RUGA, CATTLE COLONY AND GRAZING ROUTES as was then proposed by the Federal Government. Those programs eventual have been rejected by majority of the various states and nationalities within the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Why is he Grazing of Cattle an issue and core one affecting he Security of lives and property in the Republic today?
Those who emphasize what they call herders-farmers clash as a major root-cause of the present bloody Security situation in Alaigbo and other parts of the Federation are right in a sense. The free roaming and grazing of cattle that lawlessly destroy the crops of helpless farmers is the major root cause of the problem.
What is more, criminals from West African and other countries have taken advantage of this situation to invade our communities wrecking all manner of havoc, killing, maiming, kidnapping our innocent citizens, rapping our wives and daughters with reckless abandon. Our President, General Mohammad Buhari has himself confessed that many of these criminals come from Libya.
The most common identity of these criminals is that they hide under the movement of cattle. Therefore, the first step in tackling the Security challenges, is to control the free movement and grazing of Cattle.
We are not saying that nobody should rear cattle. All we are saying is that open grazing of cattle is bad for our Security and is bad for our economy and our survival.
Therefore, the law banning open grazing of animals, cattle, goat and sheep is not allowed for the above reasons.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE AND DINE URGENTLY?
IGBO NATIONAL CAUCUS TO ASSERT OUR COLLECTIVE RESOLVE AND OUR SUPPORT FOR OUR GOVERNMENTS TO ENACT THE ANTI-OPEN GRAZING LAW AND PUT IN PLACE ALL NECESSARY MEASURES TO ENFORCE THE LAW.
We, the undersigned are calling for an URGENT IGBO NATIONAL CAUCUS involving the People and our Governments to give popular backing to the necessary adequate Security arrangements for our collective action.
What do we have on Ground?
We have our Ancestral customary Laws which prohibit the roaming of GOATS, SHEEP, COWS, CATTLE, in our communities and farms.
We have Old Eastern Nigeria Law which prohibits the roaming of animals within the community, Such animals are teetered to avoid the destruction of farm lands if they are allowed to roam freely within the community.
In most of our ancestral communities, women organize themselves and provide schedules for various groups of women to operate on assigned days, to monitor, arrest offending animals and handing them over to community leaders. The owners of such animals must pay approved fines before they can reclaim their animals
Our Governments to Urgently enact the Anti-Open Grazing Law and provide all necessary measures to ensure the security of lives and property in our Region!
ROLE OF COMMUNITY VIGILANTES
Today, virtually all communities have their VIGILANTE (Local Security Watch), Therefore, every community must be encouraged to set up their Community Vigilante. State Houses of Assembly and Governors should quickly enact enabling Laws to back such measures. The State Governments and the various communities must provide the needed resources for their effective operation.
- Security Is the joint Responsibility of the People and their Government!