…against RUGA, Herdsmen Killing, Rape
By Oginyi Ruth and Okereke Wilson Ogbonnaya
Economic and social activities were for several hours on Monday crippled in Abakaliki following a peaceful protest staged by religious arm of the members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against rape, killings by suspected herdsmen in South East.
The group called Supreme Clergy Council of Biafra (SCCOB), a religious arm of IPOB who accused Federal Government of attempting to Islamize South East, also condemned policies of the Federal Government including the suspended proposed RUGA settlement in South East for Fulani cattle rearing.
Citizens’ Advocate gathered that Police hilux vans were used to block some popular junctions in the city including Vanco Junction, Water Works obviously to stop the group from accessing the area.
The group took off from Mechanic Village along Ogoja Road, with the members wearing Biafra insignias.
They marched down to Ogoja Road, from there to Gunning Road, to Abacha Roundabout, to New Market Road, to Vanco, to Afikpo Road, to Spera-in-Deo (Akanu Ibam flyover) and concluded the protest at the Mechanic village where they took off.
Speaking to journalists, leader of the protesters, Bishop Nwachinemere Stanley narrated their movement.
Bishop Stanley said, “We took our journey from Mechanic village from there to Ogoja road down to Gunning road, down to Abacha round about, down to new market road, from there to Vanco, from Vanco to Afikpo road to Spera-in-Deo, from Spera-in-Deo down to mechanic village where we took off.”
“We are members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the clergy department called Supreme Clergy Council Of Biafra (SCCOB), we are the religious arm of Biafra restoration.”
“Today, we the clergy and other departments in IPOB came out to express our dissatisfaction on the happenings in Nigeria including their evil plan to establish RUGA in Igbo land. We are not in support of their evil agenda and we are totally against Islamization of Igbo land. We are Biafrans, we are not Fulanis.”
“Security agencies tried to stop us but we resisted them and protested successfully against RUGA because we are preachers, we should stand out to speak the truth. We are called for freedom and we are not after anybody’s sorry or tears, we are deliverers. Security agents shot at us and I sustained a facial injury which I thank God it’s not serious.”
“This RUGA is a Fulani term, it is a secret plan to occupy indigenous land of our people and that is why we say no. If you want to come to a particular city to do a business, you have to liaise with the people and not to secretly rob them indirectly. No matter what they call this, their evil plan, we reject every Islamic agenda.”
“The scripture said in Ezekiel 30:28 that God is looking for a man to stand the gap that the land might be free, and that is what we have chosen to do. So, we are saying enough of Fulani Islamic agenda, enough of raping of our women, enough of killing innocent people without a reason, enough of kidnapping”, he said.
Bishop Nwachinemere, said the event was necessitated by the Federal Government’s plan mandating that every State should provide the Fulani herdsmen with a settlement called RUGA and his group having sensed the grave danger associated with such agenda then deemed it necessary to kick against it openly.
He disclosed that the exercise also provided his members with an avenue to express their displeasure over the government’s plan towards Islamizing the nation.
He, therefore, claimed that they are Biafrans who would not allow aliens to take over their land without their approval or allow themselves to be forced into Islamic Religion for whatsoever reason.
He condemned the incessant killing, destruction of properties and other barbaric acts allegedly caused by the herdsmen while pointing out that it is high time when truth shall be told to the world.
He said, “It is an onus that lies on us as preachers to preach the truth to members of the public so that the oppressed would be set free.”
“We are out to say that Fulani Islamic agenda will not hold, enough of killing, enough of raping our women by the Fulani herdsmen.”
The Bishop further claimed that RUGA was a secret plan of the herdsmen to occupy people’s homes and as a result he advised that such idea should be out rightly rejected by Ebonyi people.
Coordinator of the group, Ebonyi South Senatorial Zone, Apostle Elijah Okoh Okpara said that they were out to say enough of the unjustifiable killings and intimidations meted out on Non Fulani men by the herders.
He queried that if the herdsmen could be so cruel to this extent before other tribes, now that RUGA has not been approved, how much more cruelty they will exhibit when they are given the settlement?
He added that, they as members of SCCOB would not relent in telling people the truth until the idea of RUGA and other obnoxious acts of the Fulani would cease
We gathered that the movement covered the following places: Ogoja Road, Gunning Road, New Market Road, Afikpo Road and Abakaliki/Ogoja Highway while there was heavy presence of armed security personnel throughout the protest