Global Igbo Alliance Incorporated (GIA) has called on the Igbo nation and her riverine neighbours to defend themselves and their land against the continuous infiltration by large groups of Terrorists, and armed herdsmen from Northern Nigeria and beyond into Igboland and her neighbouring nations.
In a statement signed by the President of the Global Igbo Alliance – Dr Christian Duru and the Secretary-General, Barrister Nnamdi Elekwachi, the group lamented about the cruel activities perpetrated by these armed groups which include rape, wanton destruction of lives and property, forceful occupation of bushlands, forests and farmlands across every state in the said regions among others.
In light of the prevailing existential threats to the survival of the Igbo and the riverine neighbouring nations of the Niger Delta, GIA calls on the Igbo and their neighbouring nations to defend themselves, their people and their lands, noting that self-defence is a fundamental individual and group human right enshrined in international law and in the customary laws of the Igbo.
According to the group who embarked on research to justify their demand: “Research conducted by International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria (Intersociety) published on 4 June 2020, reveal that across the entire South East and Niger Delta Regions of Nigeria, more than 400 communities and villages in Igboland have become forcefully occupied by Fulani Terrorists and armed Herdsmen. Further research published by Intersociety on 12 June 2020, asserts that between January and June 2020 alone, Fulani terrorists and Fulani armed herdsmen murdered over 812 Christians across Igbo land and other Christian communities in Nigeria. Many of those attacked or murdered in their farms and in their homes are Igbos and indigenes of riverine neighbouring nations.”
Commenting further GIA said: “We have observed with utter shock and dismay the silence and inaction of Nigeria security services, and all other legislative apparatus of the central government of Nigeria in containing the prospects of another calculated genocide against the Igbos and other neighbouring Christian communities in Nigeria.
GIA is equally horrified by the lack of cohesion among South-East Governors, Governors of Delta and Rivers States and others to establish and activate an appropriate self-defence-civil defence security network to protect the lives, properties and lands of their citizens against Fulani Terrorists and armed Herdsmen.
GIA, therefore, called on every Igbo kindred, village, Town and Clan to organise “Umunna by Umunna” and activate the Igbo customary age-grade defence system in each of their “Umunna,” investigate the identity and origin of all suspicious individuals residing in their communities, search all bushes, forests and farms in their communities and expel all/anyone or group residing, hiding in or occupying therein.
“Umunna” should act simultaneously, and in collaboration with others across the entire Igboland, to enforce the Igbo customary law prohibiting open grazing in Igboland by evicting all animals, including herds of cattle and their herders that are found roaming free in any bushland, forest, farm or road in their communities throughout Igboland.
The group added: “Historically, Igbo customary Defence Age-grades have always been in Igbo custom and traditions. It is lawful and legitimate in customary law and was successfully deployed to defend Igboland and its communities against slave traders and the British Colonial Army before and during British rule; and does not require the consent, legislative approval, or funding by any Igbo Governor to become active.”
The group appealed to Igbos worldwide to strengthen and support these customary civil defence forces with the necessary logistics required to rid Igboland permanently of the Fulani Terrorists and armed Herdsmen menace.
It further recommends and supports all Igbo in Diaspora to continue to organise and come together “Umunna by Umunna,” “kindred by kindred,” “village by village,” “town by town,” “community by community,” and “clan by clan,” and to keep raising funds in their respective “Umunna” to immediately activate or strengthen their customary civil defence age-grades into action.