The Igbo Civil Society Coalition (ICSCO), a coalition of civil society organisations, activists, human rights groups and the academia in Igboland on Tuesday accused the Nigerian Army of killing over 100 persons and injuring about 200 others during its military operation code-named ‘Python Dance 2’ in the South-east.
The group also reaffirmed its determination to resist the establishment of proposed cattle colony in any part of Igboland by the federal government.
In a communique released at the end of its meeting in Enugu and signed by Professor Obasi Igwe, National Cordinator and Mazi Ikechukwu Bismarck Oji, the Convener, the group described the activities of the military during the Python Dance operation as nothing but genocide.
It asked the government to place premium value on the lives of all Nigerians regardless of religious, ethnic or political differences since security is the primary responsibility of every responsible government.
The group further condemned the inaction being exhibited by the federal government with regards to the ongoing massacre of defenseless citizens across the country especially in Benue and Taraba States by marauding Fulani “herdsmen” rated globally as the fourth most dangerous terrorist group.
“We call on the National Assembly to rise up to the occasion by prevailing on the president to give the IG marching orders to arrest and prosecute leaders of Miyetti Allah who are walking around freely after carrying out their threat of unleashing violence on Benue State for enacting the anti-grazing law.
“Also, we demand that a thorough census of lives and property lost in all the places where the herdsmen had wrecked havoc be articulated and adequate compensations paid to the victims by the federal government.
“We view the federal government’s Fulani cattle colony project as an attempt at achieving the Fulani Islamisation agenda. We totally reject this project in Igbo land and urge other nations in Nigeria to reject this illogical agenda being proposed by the Fulanis and their lackeys. By this resolution, we enjoin all the state governments of the Igbo nation, regardless of party affiliation to join their citizens in rejecting the Fulani cattle colony project.
“ICSCO states that the cattle business is a private business being run almost exclusively by the Fulanis just like Ndigbo and other Nigerian tribes have businesses that they predominate. That notwithstanding, these other tribes do not carry out their businesses to the detriment of others. We are therefore at a loss on why the government is hell bent on confiscating other people’s lands for the Fulani’s cattle trade worth trillions of naira annually, out of which they pay no tax to the government. Therefore, we will mobilise our people to resist any state governor’s attempt to allocate land for the project in Ala-Igbo.
“From our investigation, at least 100 lives were confirmed lost and at least 200 nursing various degrees of injury and permanent disabilities. The Nigerian government must as a matter of conscience acknowledge that the Nigerian Army overstepped its bounds during the operation and culprits in the killing of civilians and other gross human right violations brought to book.
“We note that till date, the Nigerian Army has not taken any steps to punish the soldiers that invaded the Abia State NUJ Secretariat and brutalised journalists during the operation despite pledging to do so.
“The arrest of two journalists –the Elombah brothers by the dreaded SARS on allegations of publishing libelous information about the IG of Police is another instance of human right violation that justifies the call by well meaning Nigerians for the scrapping of the anti robbery squad.”