Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Friday, accused the Northern Elders’ Forum of stoking the embers of hatred and killings in the South-East.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, lambasted NEF spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, for his reckless and irresponsible comments over what he called targeted killings of northerners in the South-East geopolitical zone.
The group accused Baba-Ahmed of double standards and failure to condemn the recurring killings of indigenous Igbo farmers and other havoc wreaked by Fulani herdsmen in the five South-East states.
Recall that Baba-Ahmed on Thursday, tweeted, “Targeting and killing of Northerners, particularly in the South-East, should be condemned, and must stop.”
Reacting, however on Friday, HURIWA’s Onwubiko directed Baba-Ahmed to a report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law which stated that Fulani security agents and Fulani herdsmen killed no fewer than 1, 150 residents in the South-East zone between October 2020 and December 2021 whilst about 1, 000 persons were abducted by non-state actors suspected to be Fulani kidnappers.
Onwubiko said, “Apparently, NEF spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, is hypocritically blind to the unending killings of Igbos by Fulani herdsmen who now overrun the South-East just as they have been overrunning the whole of Nigeria including Abuja, Kaduna and other northern states.
“Of note, Baba-Ahmed, selectively found his voice now after thousands of Easterners have been hacked to death on their home soil by marauding Fulani bandits operating under the cloak of herdsmen.
“But, instead of being an impartial judge and addressing the situation objectively, he again went the ethnic line. It is sad that a statesman of his calibre is blinded by tribal sentiments.
“HURIWA wants to put it on record for the whole world to know that the maiming, killings, kidnapping and rape of South-Easterners by criminal Fulani cattle herders birthed the regional security outfit codenamed Ebube-Agu by the five South-East governors which in any event is being manipulated against Igbo youths in Imo State. We support the larger formation and merger of a non-partisan armed vigilante in the form of an Eastern Security network but with the by-in of all indigenous Igbos of South East of Nigeria.
“Also, the Indigenous People of Biafra, worried by the spate of herdsmen attacks on Igbo soil, had established the Eastern Security Network which we are asking them to see how it can be blended with the government formed security armed vigilante to protect Igbos.
“HURIWA won’t be irresponsible and blind like Baba-Ahmed. There have been a few cases of killings of northerners in the South-East like the gruesome murder of a pregnant woman, Harira Jubril, and four children in Anambra State this year.
Whilst HURIWA admits that one life is too many to be murdered, the case is a very rare incident. Thousands of Igbo sons and daughters are raped, killed and kidnapped on an annual basis by killer herdsmen. All the killings are condemnable and HURIWA tasks security agents to bring the perpetrators to book, regardless of their ethnic, religious or political affiliations.
“HURIWA warns Baba-Ahmed against divisive and insensitive utterances as Nigeria enters an election year. NEF should stop spewing gibberish having failed to train up northern youths who are now bandits and terrorists attacking all and sundry in the country.
“Baba-Ahmed’s NEF failed. Charity, they say, begins at home. Let Baba-Ahmed talk to bandits and terrorists overrunning the north before interfering in South-East matter. He should stop spreading fake news and hate Speeches across the land. Responsible elders are not known for such.”