A coalition of Pan-Igbo civil society organisations has sent a distress call to Igbo leaders, governments and stakeholders on the security of the Igbo nation.
The organisations, representing various interests and organizations in Alaigbo, noted that “Our Ancestral Homes are under siege! Our Lives are being wasted! Alaigbo has been invaded! We must rise up and defend our Homeland!”
In a statement on Sunday, the groups said “the situation in Nigeria today is one of the worst security challenges in human history. For us in Alaigbo, the situation is more critical than the one we faced during the Biafra war.
“There does not seem to be anyone in charge to whom the people can look up to for their protection or the Government in power is in collusion with the forces responsible for the state of generalized anarchy in the land.
“The people must take full responsibility for the protection of themselves, their families and their property. Our land has been invaded!”
The statement added, “We must stop mystifying the issue of security. When the enemy attacks us and our families; when he goes into our farm to destroy our crops, or forcefully enters our homes to seize the little foods we have for our children, should we just sit there and do nothing? Should we fold our hands, sit there until General Buhari or any Federal or State Authority comes to our rescue.
“Indeed, the Security of any man is first and foremost his personal responsibility. The role of Government on matters of security of the lives and property of the people is crucial but only second to the efforts of the individual citizen who are direct victims.
“It is true that one of the major reasons for the establishment of Government by man is to ensure his security and that of his family. However, this does not in any way remove the citizen’s personal responsibility in matters of his own personal security and that of his family.
“There are layers of responsibility over the security of every man – from the family, kindred, village to the Clan, and, ipso facto, from the Local Government to the State, the entire country and indeed to the Global Community. Thus, every tier of society has a role to play in matters of security of lives and property of the people.
“It is in this sense that we the undersigned maintain that – SECURITY IS THE JOINT RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PEOPLE AND THE GOVERNMENT.”
In the light of these facts, the organisations categorically declare that –
“We, in the entire Igbo nation, should not mystify issues concerning the Security of our People and our Ancestral Communities!
“That Right of Self-Defense is inalienable and therefore –every citizen has a duty and a right to carry defensive weapons for the protection of himself, his family and his property including his farmlands and ancestral homes.
“The Government should recognize and hence legalize private ownership and possession of defensive weapons, particularly now there is a state of virtual anarchy in the land.
“Anti-Open Grazing Law should be enacted by all the State Houses of Assembly in Alaigbo to enforce the protection of our farms and crops and prevent famine in our land.
“Communities Vigilantes should be fully operational in all our communities, provided with legislative backing and thus provided with adequate system of weapon.
“We fully support the idea of State Police, provided that such State Police is under the full control of respective zonal and State Governments.
“We support the bold security initiatives by our neighbors in other parts of the federation – the Yoruba, the Tiv, the Junkun, etc, to protect themselves and their Ancestral lands!
“We, in the entire Igbo nation, should not mystify issues concerning the Security of our People and our Ancestral Communities! This is what the example of our neighbors teaches us. And we, therefore fully support them.
“Yes, 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 groups further stated that Benue State first established the enabling laws for their security, and followed it up with needed structures and instruments to back the laws.
They said no one can rationally, legally and politically challenge what they have done and are doing to protect their people and their land. They urged Ndigbo to learn from their examples.
Thus, they noted, it is imperative that Regional/State Governments (Governors and Houses of Assembly) need to pass the enabling Security Law, particularly the Anti-Open Grazing Bill which have been submitted to them and set up and equip the necessary Security Structures including Community Vigilantes.
They also called on all various communities and citizens to support their local Vigilante organizations with all that are needed to make them effectively functional.
To the State Governments in Igbo land, the groups said they were aware of some measures being taken by some Governors with regard to security, noting that apart from certain basic inadequacies, what those security initiatives lack was the backing of the popular will and support of the people. They also lack enabling laws to back them up.
“We aware that a few of our State Legislatures have passed the Anti-Open Grazing Bill, awaiting signing by the Governors. We, therefore, urge the Governors to urgently do so if they have not already signed the bill into law. Other States are called upon to follow suite and enact the Anti-Open Grazing Bill,” the groups advised.
They called for an “urgent 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 and ensure our security!”
The underlisted organisations jointly signed the statement. They are:
1. Prof. Uzodinma Nwala Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF).
2. Prof. Elochukwu Amuchazi Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT)
3. Nze Fidelis Ozichukwu Igbon Town Unions (ITU)
4. His Grace Bar Chris Ede Christian Council of Nigeria, Enugu.rjt31z
5. Bishop Goddy Okafor Christian Council of Nigeria SE.
6. Mr Ngozi Odumuko Nzuko Umunna
7. Mr J. Ikunna Igbo Intelligentsia
8. Mr Tony Nnadi Lower Niger Congress (LNC)
9. Bar Emeka Umeagbalasi Inter-Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law
10. Bar Alloy Ejimakor Counsel for IPOB
11. Barr Max Ozoaka South-East Lawyers Forum
12. Engr Anthony Aniebue Peoples Restoration Movement (PRM)
13. Emeka Emekesiri MOBIN
14. Dr J. C. Chukuokolo South-East based Coalition of Human Rights and Democracy Organizations.(SBCHROS)
15. Ndubisi V. Anaenugwu BVI
16. Engr Ike Iwendu Assoc. of SE Presidents- General.
17. Mrs Maria Okwo Igbo Women Assembly (IWA)
18. Pastor Dr Okey Anoruo Assoc. of Imo Town Unions
19. Comr Uchenna Madu MASSOB
20. Mr Okey Orji Coalition of Pro-Biafra Organizations.
21. Ms Ola N. Uchendu Sons and Daughters of Alaigbo