An Open Letter to President Muhammad Buhari by Ufedo Foundation of Nigeria
|President Muhammad Buhari|
Dear Mr President,
INSECURITY IN IGALA LAND (KOGI EAST)
AND CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE
We wish to call your urgent and immediate attention to the current spate of crime, killings and mayhem in Igala land. The hit squad has a tripod of FULANI HERDSMEN, KIDNAPPERS and MURDEROUS THUGS as anchors.
TRIPOD 1: MENACE OF HERDSMEN:
Until very recently, the Igala people and Fulani herdsmen lived peaceably but gone seems to be those days following the multiple acts of war and mayhem being unleashed daily on innocent farmers and law-abiding citizens in their villages, homes and farm lands.
For instance within the space of Mid-2015 to now, Igala land has witnessed several incidences of killings as a result of herdsmen violence in several areas including Ebeje where 8 people were killed and farms set ablaze, Agbada/Agojeju where 19 people were slaughtered, Edede – 2 persons were killed, 6 people killed in Oganenigu, 3 people killed in Ojapata, 5 people killed in Ojuwo Anawo. All these happened in Dekina Local Government Area.
The story is not different in Ofu local government area at Ojuwo Omachi and Akpagidigbo where the incessant attacks of herdsmen have claimed the lives of over 20 persons.
In Abejukolo and Bagana in Omala Local Government Area, the reign of terror resonates loudly, so much that our people no longer move freely to and from their farm lands because of the fear of killings, maiming and rape, with some villages like Ebakume wholly sacked and entire farm produce granaries/silos completely burnt.
These heavily armed cattle rearers keep flaunting their prowess in the handling of AK 47 rifles and double barrel guns.
Our fathers lived peacefully and harmoniously with the Fulani herdsmen for several generations when all they carried was just their wooden-rod. Their current behaviour and disposition are thus very strange to the people of the land. There is therefore need to curtail their new penchant for impunity which is obviously been fuelled by horrible killer machines they now brandish in the likes of AK47 and other types of dangerous rifles/weapons.
TRIPOD 2: KIDNAPPING
Incidences of kidnapping in Igala land has become nightmarish, the height of which is the new trend in the kidnap of foreigners.
A Chinese woman - LILLY YUNPIN was kidnapped at Etutekpe in Dekina local Government Area, until a ransom was paid recently. This is a clear negation of the stance of the Government on security and free business environment for foreigners.
Kogi is known to be the largest producer of cashew nuts in Nigeria today and thus attracts an influx of export merchants. This development obviously has effect on the non-oil FX earnings of the country as long as the business environment fails to guarantee the security of exporters seeking to purchase from farm- gates that are considered unsafe.
Again, Just last week, Dr. Barnabas, a Medical Doctor at the Kogi State University, Anyigba in Dekina Local Government Area was kidnapped and ransom had to be paid for his release.
The serial kidnap of locals working in the local government offices and others in their respective businesses have become too numerous to list.
TRIPOD 3: KILLER THUGS
Cold blooded murder and assassination of innocent citizens have become the order of the day in Igala land. The land is yet to recover from the gruesome murder of Chief ISA EDIME, the Producer of the popular 2nd republic radio programme “Democracy in action” and retired Director of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) who was brazenly murdered in broad day light in his residence at Egume in Dekina LGA by yet to be identified gunmen.
Very recently, Idah, the traditional seat of the Igala kingdom was visited by an orgy of unprecedented exchange of gunfire which happened for two straight days (April 24th – 25th 2016, ) and left 13 people dead.
Chief Simon Shaibu, the district head of Ejule, in Ofu LGA was killed in similar manner on Saturday April 30 2016. In an open display of firearms, the District Head was directly shot at in his residence in a brigandage that left everybody in terror, despair and wondering who would be the next victim.
UFEDO FOUNDATION on behalf of Igala sons and daughters condemns the impunity, surge in violence and brazen display of military weapons that is now reigning in Igala land. The phenomenal level of blindness being feigned in what seems like a conspiracy of silence by Government at all levels is also condemnable.
Governments at all levels have remained quiet, while fears of continuing killing is causing despair, terror and paralysis in commerce, economic and social activities. Igala sons and daughters in this escalated level of insecurity can’t even risk home travels anymore, the farmers cannot continue farming activities because of the fear of either killer-herdsmen brandishing AK 47 rifles or violent cult groups parading dangerous weapons. Exportation of cash crops from Igala land is now at a great mercantile risk including cashew nuts, sesame seeds etc.
The people cannot continue to live under this terror any further and hence demand that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria act immediately AND NOW. We demand a halt to this reign of terror in Igala land.
Mr President, We observe further that law enforcement agencies as presently located in the land are obviously too sparse to provide the required security cover for the entire land. We wish you could for a moment imagine that the entire geography of the then Igala Native Authority is still having only one Area Police Command covering 9 local governments.
The Igala Native Authority as you very well know was second only to Kano N.A in the old Northern Nigeria in terms of economy and commerce. The Igala ethno-nationality which is reputed to be the 9th largest tribe in Nigeria is yet to have any form of military or functional Mobile Police Formation.
Mr President Sir, this gaping absence of security formations and units in Igala land has continued to fuel impunity and security breaches.
Igala land did not bargain for this bloodletting in the change regime we all contributed in entrenching. We therefore demand reinforced security presence in Igala land to deal with the terror been perpetrated by criminals, murderous thugs and kidnappers in the land.
The desire of Igala land has always been peace and an environment devoid of rancour. Strong police presence and other security apparatus which are currently non-existent if provided, will create adequate institutional framework for dealing with all these crimes as well as deployment of preventive strategies.
Additionally we demand a full scale investigation of all these killings with a view to finding lasting solutions as no one seems to be attending to them under any serious order, while the families keep asking for justice.
The time to commence full scale investigation into these killings and curtail the resultant criminal activities from these dastardly acts of kidnapping and blood shedding and herdsmen violence IS NOW.
As the President and Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces, it is within your powers to do and/or direct all these prayers to be answered, hence this letter to you at this very auspicious time, when a replacement for late Barr James Ocholi (SAN) at the Federal Executive Council is yet to be named, Kogi-East Senatorial election remains inconclusive, the Kogi state caucus in the House of Representatives is seemingly overwhelmed by these happenings at home and the Kogi House of Assembly remains shut.
We therefore urge your Excellency to take immediate action and save Igala land from further descent into a state of anarchy.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
God bless the President
God bless Kogi state
God bless Igala land
UFEDO FOUNDATION, NIGERIA