Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Tuesday, tasked the five governors of states in the South-East as well as security agents to end the killing of cows by gunmen in Enugu, Imo, Anambra, Abia and Ebonyi states. HURIWA has also condemned the spate of killings by all kinds of groups including the security agencies and the so-called Unknown gunmen just as HURIWA appeals for peaceful and constructive dialogues.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, stressed that not only Fulani pastoralists are involved in cattle business in the South-East but a lot of Igbo businessmen are also engaged in the trade.
The group said the consequence of continuous killing of cattle by gunmen angry against the Fulani ethnic stock for whatever reason would affect Igbo traders and son of the soil who are also actively involved in cattle business in the five South-East states.
According to media reports, gunmen, last Sunday, attacked and set ablaze a truckload of cows along Ezinifite-Uga expressway in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. The Sunday incident was not the first as gunmen, in February 2022, attacked a cattle market in Aba in Abia State, killing eight traders and 51 cows.
Reacting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “Security agents must stop the condemnable trend of mass killing of cattle in the South-East. Nobody’s business deserves to be attacked no matter the crimes they have committed; the law should be allowed to take its cause.
“Also, the fact that the cattle are not owned by Fulani or Hausas alone but by Igbo traders too is enough reason for aggrieved persons to simmer down and stop unleashing terror on cattle businesses in the South-East.
“It is noteworthy that the cattle business is a provider of jobs for teaming youths in the South-East as it is a business for all. According to the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, the state consumes over 6,000 heads of cattle daily and over 1.8 million heads of cattle annually with a yearly a transactional value of over N328bn. This is a lot of money.
“Without any assumption, the total volume of cattle consumed in the whole of South-East and the money that accrued from it should be equivalent to that of Lagos or above it. It is, therefore, important that the cattle value chain and business be protected against gunmen attacks as the continuous killing of hundreds and thousands of cows in the South-East will lead to economic haemorrhaging. The South-East governors must act immediately and dialogue with all stakeholders and aggrieved persons to end the whole mess. There must a transparent enforcement of extant laws against open grazing of cattle just as the Rights group said the spiralling violence in South East will do nobody any good but destroy the Igbo homeland”.
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA)
May 10, 2022