HOW SECURITY AGENCIES PROTECT ARMED HERDSMEN IN SOUTH-EAST COMMUNITIES – REPORT
The Nigerian military and the police have failed to carry out intense “clearance operations” in at least 12 hideouts and enclosures where herdsmen and terrorists have been operating in the South-East, a new report has revealed.
The report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law noted that criminal elements had been hiding in the identified places in Abia, Anambra, and Imo states since 2021 without onslaughts of the Nigerian military.
Intersociety in the report identified the locations as Leru, Lokpanta, Isiukwuato, Nneochi, Umunneochi, Okigwe, Ihube (Aku-Ihube), Umulolo, Umunze (and its neighbors), Uturu, Eke-Udi (Ugwu Onyeama) and Ugwuogo-Nike-Opi-Nsukka forest areas.
The human rights organisation in the report signed by board chair, Emeka Umeagbalasi, and others, advocated that the Nigerian military and the police must be restructured and their personnel retrained and de-radicalised.
The report said, “The Nigerian Security Forces (NSFs) are inches away from being converted to full blown ‘Tribo-Islamic Gendarmes’ and to stop this from being the case, they must be urgently restructured and their personnel and bosses comprehensively retrained and de-radicalised.
“Most of the country’s security personnel and their bosses are starkly computer illiterates with gross deficiencies in mental security and intelligence skills. Few of them that are well read have become “professorial or doctoral morons” having been grossly drenched in pandemic corruption and other corrupt practices.
“Also, there has been indiscriminate bombing and razing of defenceless civilian villages and homes by Nigerian Army/military in the South-East particularly in Imo, Anambra and Abia States since 2021 and their refusal to carry out ‘clearance operations’ in hideouts and enclosures where herdsmen and their allies are militarily protected including places like Leru, Lokpanta, Isiukwuato, Nneochi, Umunneochi, Okigwe, Ihube (Aku-Ihube), Umulolo, Umunze (and its neighbors), Uturu, Eke-Udi (Ugwu Onyeama) and Ugwuogo-Nike-Opi-Nsukka forest areas, etc.
“A clear case in point was the recent (October 2023) announcement by Governor Alex Otti of Abia State of discovery of not less than 80 dead bodies including 20 headless bodies at the Lokpanta Fulani Cattle Market; (27) the 3rd Dec 2023 killing of over 120 defenceless Islamic Festival celebrants in Tudun Biri part of Kaduna State.
“The innocent Muslims numbering over 120 were killed by two airstrikes coordinated by the Nigerian Defence Headquarters of the Nigerian Armed Forces; and (28) the 2023 Christmas Eve (between Dec 24 and 25 and aftermath) massacre by jihadists of not less than 300 defenceless Plateau residents in Ndun, Ngyong, Murfet, Makundary, Tamiso, Chiang, Tahore, Gawarbe, Dares, Darwat, etc in Bokkos Local Government Area and Gashishi and Ropp Districts of Barkin-Ladi LGA and others in Mangu LGA, etc.“It must be noted that the killings would have been prevented if the massively deployed security forces had heeded several early warnings and acted securely and unbiased.”