A non-profit organization, Intersociety has accused South East governors of  proceeding with the establishment of Fulani herdsmen settlements across the region, despite their denials. 

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, a non-profit organization advocating for human rights and democracy, also alleged that many of these governors secured their positions through rigged elections and are now aligning themselves with powerful interests.

The claim underscores growing concerns over the implementation of such settlements in the South-East. They argue that the governors, instead of representing the interests of their constituents, are perceived to be serving the agendas of external forces. This assertion raises questions about transparency, accountability, and the true motivations behind the decisions made by these elected officials.

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The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, a research and investigative not-for-profit Human Rights and Democracy Advocacy Organization has accused South-East governors of going ahead with the establishment of a Fulani herdsmen settlement across the zone.

Intersociety, which made the claim in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Monday, said most of the governors had elections rigged for them and were now doing the biddings of powers that be.

The statement was signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair, Intersociety, Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program, Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Ndidiamaka Bernard, Head, International Justice and Human Rights, Ositadinma Agu, Head, International Contacts and Mobilization and Chidinma Udegbunam, Head, Campaign and Publicity.

It, however, said the consequences of ceding South-East lands to herders would be disastrous in the future.

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“We are strongly warning that the governors and governments of the South-East or mainland Igbo are deafeningly living in denial and dangerously turning the Mainland Igbo into Jihadist violence-prone Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna.

“It must be pointed out that despite our informed alarm raised in our seminally and widely read statement of March 11, 2024, available pieces of irrefutable evidence have continued to indicate grave danger signals ahead for the general security and safety of the Mainland and outpost Igbo, their defenceless populations, territories and properties which totally and cumulatively threaten their fundamental human rights to Freedom of Religion or Belief and profession of Christianity in particular,” the rights group warned.

It said the governors were deafeningly and dangerously lending their hands, implicitly or explicitly, in flooding and saturating the region with locally and regionally assembled Fulani jihadists and allies, “armed with prohibited firearms and covertly accorded above the law status.

“It has also been observed and widely suspected that the major motive behind the Mainland Igbo governors and governments’ betrayal of trust and compromise of the region’s territorial, citizens and property security and safety is rooted in forces behind their governorship selection or election and post-election court processes, requiring loyalty of the graveyard just to stay in power for mere maximum eight years.

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“The above is to the extent that it has dangerously become a routine for an Igbo land governor/government to compromise the religious identity, property and territorial security and safety of the governed just to stay in public office by hook or crook.”

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Intersociety said the statement by the National Leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, was a clear indication that the governors had ceded lands to the herdsmen.

It added that “the cowardly acts of the Mainland Igbo governors and governments have paved way for saturation of major communal farmlands, bushes, and forest reserves by locally and regionally assembled Jihadist Fulani herdsmen and allied others.

“It must be remembered that Intersociety had seminally and exclusively researched and found that as at 2020/2021, not less than 700 communal locations, particularly bushes, forests and farmlands located in mainland and outpost indigenous Igbo areas of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Rivers, Benue, Edo, Kogi, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Nasarawa States have been invaded and seized by Jihadist Fulani herdsmen and allied others, armed with illicit automatic weapons.”

“It was also observed that as at August 2019, about 139 of such locations were traced to Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.

“Intersociety’s findings above were later in 2021 corroborated by a retired DIG of Police who issued a disturbing statement confirming that ‘as at 2020, intelligence at his disposal as then serving Police DIG indicated that not less than 336 locations in the South-East have been seized and occupied by Fulani Herdsmen armed with AK-47 Assault Rifles’”.

While it lampooned what it called the manifestly biassed position of the Government of Anambra State and cowardly handling of lives and properties of the defenceless citizens of the State, it accused that the Enugu State of “stopping at nothing in forcing several communities to cede their agriculturally strategic lands for veiled settlement of Fulani herdsmen.”

“It has also been brought to our attention that the Government of Enugu State recently issued coded directives to leaders of the affected communities, including Elugwu-Akwu to henceforth send delegates to Government House of Enugu State for continuation and conclusion of arrangements and ‘agreements’ on how to hand over their lands to the State Government,” it alleged.