By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
Nnewi – The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Saturday alleged that the ongoing mass arrest of landowners in Ebonyi State, and labelling them as IPOB members are to intimidate the people of the state to submit their land for Tthe implementation of Federal Government Rural Grazing Area, RUGA, for Fulani herdsmen.A nomadic Fulani man and his son walk with their cattle on the way to Nigeria in a remote area near Maradi, Niger on July 29, 2019. In the African Sahel, located between the Sahara Desert and the equator, the climate has long been inhospitable. But now rising temperatures have caused prolonged drought and unpredictable weather patterns, exacerbating food shortages, prompting migration and contributing to instability in countries already beset by crisis. (Photo / AFP)
The group in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful said: ‘This blatant lie and misinformation sold to the media that IPOB members were arrested in Ebonyi is simply a lie designed to mask the horrors of RUGA implementation going on in Ebonyi State and to deflect attention away from secret ethnic cleansing of villages to pave way for Fulani settlements in Ebonyi.’
IPOB also said that at it does not engage in anniversary in this time of the year, neither does its hold any activity in the bush, and that the people arrested were not IPOB members, but landowners the Ebonyi State government wants to dispossess of their lands.
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IPOB statement read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to the purported mass arrest of supposed members of IPOB in Ebonyi State by Governor Dave Umahi and his Fulani handlers, who mischievously labelled those they abducted as Biafrans planning an anniversary.”
“This attempt by Dave Umahi led government to prove to his Fulani masters that he is anti-Biafra and IPOB has led him to round-up and illegally lock up landowners in Ebonyi State under the pretext of fighting Biafra agitators, when they the real and true intention is to pave the way for Fulani herdsmen to take over community lands for their RUGA settlement in the state.
“We the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and it’s leadership worldwide wish to categorically state that those Governor Dave Umahi claim to have arrested in Ebonyi are not IPOB family members, because our movement is not in the habit of celebrating any anniversary either in Biafraland or in the diaspora, since the inception of this great movement.
“IPOB does host anniversary neither does it host events in the bushes or forests, rather we honour our heroes with a general strike in form of Sit-at-home on designated days of the year.
“It came to us as a surprise to hear the media blast about the purported arrest of IPOB family members when we had no event in Ebonyi State that would necessitate the gathering of people on a large scale.
“Governor Dave Umahi and his Fulani overlords in the Police and Army in Abakiliki have instead engaged in land grabbing arrest of innocent citizens especially indigenes of Amasri in Afikpo Local Government Arra of Ebonyi State who were merely strategising on how to protect their land from Fulani terror herdsmen.
“By tagging these villagers IPOB, Governor Umahi sought to deflect attention from this dastardly act of illicit land grabbing for RUGA going on in Ebonyi State.
This blatant lie and misinformation sold to the media that IPOB members were arrested in Ebonyi is simply a lie designed to mask the horrors of RUGA implementation by stealth going on in Ebonyi State and to deflect attention away from the secret ethnic cleansing of villages to pave way for Fulani settlements in Ebonyi.
“We are very much aware that Fulani herdsmen wield considerable influence and power in the affairs of government and governance of Enugu and Ebonyi State, but we IPOB are determined to oppose them every step of the way.
“Ebonyi and Enugu will never become another conquered Fulani territory, not while IPOB is in existence. We shall continue to confront and drive them away wherever we observe them engaged in illegal occupation of ancestral lands.
Governor Umahi may seek to please his Fulani masters and friends by sacrificing the lives of Ebonyi indigenes, but we must warn him that he is moving down a dangerous path that will inevitably consume him and those around him.
“He is playing a very dangerous game from which he will he never emerge unscratched, we think his sworn duty to protect ordinary citizens of Ebonyi State must be his primary duty, not to use instruments of state coercion like the army and police to protect Fulani Jihadists and conquerors disguised as Fulani cattle herders.”