By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
The Association of South East Town Unions and the World Igbo Congress have partnered to protect Igbo land against suspected killer herdsmen.
The recent move to end the killings, Southeast Voice in Owerri gathered, was after a meeting held in Texas in USA, between the two groups with the National President of ASETU, Emeka Diwe and Richard Nwachukwu as Secretary of the Congress.
To achieve this, the group said its target is to establish a surveillance and intelligence unit in Igboland to be able to halt the negative trend of activities of the suspected armed herdsmen.
This arrangement is coming at a time the five governors of the Southeast region have banned the movement of herdsmen in the region. The governors have also started what they called forest guard to monitor the said heinous activities of the herders, with Enugu State government recently launching its branded security vehicles for forest guard.
However, after they surveyed the level of reported killings in the land, they said that the security situation in the Southeast zone has become worrisome.
Part of their worries was that the killings have almost become regular, properties have been damaged and that women especially their wives have been raped by these suspected herdsmen.
They also said that the slaughtering of their people must be stopped and that all stakeholders should be involved in the process.
Diwe of ASETU, said: “It is resolved that the World Igbo Congress should, through the Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU), establish formidable intelligence units in Ala-Igbo, as well as reinforce vigilante groups in Ala-Igbo to ensure that Igbo land is protected.
“It is no longer news that human lives are regularly lost, property plundered, women raped and communities sacked across Igbo land by Fulani herdsmen.
“The docility of the government and security agencies to contain the situation fuels the people’s suspicion that Igbo people have been marked out for ethnic cleansing. What Igbo people are left with is the natural right to self defense.
“As Town Unions, we have taken steps to confront this menace. We have leveraged on our grassroots reach and tentacles to establish a Town Union Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, which connects all the Igbo communities and instantly transmits information so that what happens, for instance, in a community in Enugu can quickly be responded to by a combined team of standby volunteers across the South East.
“ASETU operates a pyramid structure which unites all the Town Union Presidents-General and members at the community level, all the coordinators at the local government level, all the zonal coordinators in the senatorial districts, all the chapter presidents in the five states of the South East and the National Executive Council, NEC.
“ASETU has been working tirelessly to ensure that all town unions across Igbo land have local vigilantes that are functional, well motivated and well equipped.
“Where they are comatose, we are ensuring their revival and where they are dysfunctional, we are ensuring they are strengthened.
“Our efforts must go beyond just palliatives which are aimed only at momentary mitigation of the current onslaught against us.
“We must seek sustainable solution to our problem. We must take the discussion on the defective foundation of Nigeria and the need for reworking it seriously.
“We must redefine the terms for our continued existence as a country. We must stop the slaughter of our people. We must reassert ourselves, re-establish our dignity and make our young ones realize we truly care about them.”
For Nwachukwu of the World Igbo Congress: “Over the years, people in the diaspora of different nations of the world have been the key players and drivers of nation-building and economic emancipation of their homelands.
“It is resolved that the World Igbo Congress should take leadership and like other Diaspora groups like Jewish Congress, apply pressure and lobbying mechanism to achieve Igbo emancipation.”