Pastoral Terrorism: How Rivers Residents Pay With Their Lives

The recent string of heinous killings of Rivers State residents by alleged Fulani herdsmen is appalling, despite the Fulani’s denial in the media that they had evolved into scandalous and persistent executioners. ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE reports that the victims’ only sin was asking why the Fulani herders’ cattle destroyed their crops. In the meantime, it was discovered on August 19, 2021, that Gov. Nyesom Wike had accepted Open Rearing and Grazing (Prohibition) Law No. 5 of 2021

Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, a higher-ranking notch for the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, criticized media portrayals of Fulani herders as criminals and mass murderers.

The Fulani herders were upset by the recent spate of assaults between farmer communities and herders, according to the scribe of the Fulani, who are known as migrants and were recently described by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ ad Abubakar III, as a people who move from point A to point B and move everywhere.

In 2016, Kiruwa made that statement, possibly in an effort to absolve his kinsmen of the numerous alleged wrongdoings committed by Fulani herdsmen across the country, particularly in Rivers State. 

Despite the fact that the 2015 Global Terrorism Index ranked Nigerian Fulani militants as the fourth most lethal terrorist organization in the world, Kiruwa may have been dishonest.

The source says, “The Fulani militant group operating in Nigeria and parts of the Central African Republic has been named as the fourth deadliest known terrorist group.”

Killings in Rivers communities are associated with Fulani herdsmen?

However, on March 12, 2020, a resident of Ikwerre was said to be inspecting his poultry farm in the Aluu community of the Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State when he was allegedly kidnapped and taken to an unknown location by alleged Fulani herdsmen.

The relatives of Soala West, who was running for governor in the 2019 election under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state were held mentally distraught by the captors, who demanded N30 million in ransoms initially for his release but later reduced it to N2.5 million.

West, who was from the state’s Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, was found dead on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at approximately 6 p.m.

Emmanuel, his older brother, expressed shock at the politician’s death at the hands of the suspected Fulani herdsmen.

“We are shocked by this. We are puzzled as to why they would kill our brother in this manner. Our entire family is reeling from the loss.” Emmanuel stated.

“We just hope that the police will arrest everyone involved in the killing of our brother.”

Devastation caused by Fulani herdsmen?

This was one of many stories of devastation in Rivers State caused by so-called Fulani herdsmen who would rather kill anyone who crossed their path while rearing their cows in open grazing than obey a given law.

On Nov. 20, 2022, the assumed Fulani herders didn’t leave their killing exchange as they alternately attacked the Agbeta II Tuabon People group in the Ebubu Faction, Eleme local government region of the state, killing two men and harming numerous others.

Local sources claimed that since March of this year, the community’s farmlands have been taken over by raging Fulani herdsmen who sacked the community and destroyed their farmlands.

The incident caused many people to leave the community, said the source.

“Fulani herders always arrive in the area armed with AK-47 rifles”

The community was informed that the suspected herders had raped women and injured others. The youth president of the community, Justice Kanikpo, addressed the media and lamented the invasion.

He stated that residents of the area were relocating out of fear of additional herdsmen attacks and requesting assistance from the council chairman and security agencies.

“Because the herders always arrive in the area armed with AK-47 rifles every day, people are afraid for their lives and are packing outside the community.

“I am appealing to the government to come to our aid and save us from what we are facing because I am unsure why the chairman of the local government is not concerned about the situation,” he said.

Killed for resisting Fulani herdsmen’s cattle destroying farm crops

Two people were killed when suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked and killed them in Afam Ukwu, in the state’s Oyigbo local council.

That was in May 2017, and according to community sources, the attack was the result of the victims’ resistance to the herdsmen’s cattle destroying their farm crops.

It happened when Dr. Chisom Gbali was in charge of the Caretaker Committee of the Oyigbo Local Government Area.

According to Dr. Gbali, the suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked and killed the deceased, both men, on their farmland.

“We woke up this morning to hear the story of the Fulani herdsmen killing two people,” he said.

“The actual motive for the killing is unknown to me. However, I believe that is connected to the cattle’s destruction of farm crops.

“I learned that the victims had questioned why the herdsmen’s cattle had destroyed their crops.

“The victims and the herdsmen might have had violent arguments. According to the source, one of the victims belonged to the Tai community.”

Dr. Gbali, the Chairman of the CTC, made it clear that seven individuals had been detained in connection with the incident.

Omoni Nnamdi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) at the time and the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), informed journalists that he had not been informed about the incident.

Going after the unarmed farmers

At least two people were reported missing and a number of others were injured in an attack on the Ihuaba community in the Igbu Upata Kingdom in the Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State that was carried out by Fulani herdsmen.

That was approximately four years ago, and Edith Lawrence and Chiemele Blessing, who was allegedly shot with an arrow while working on her farm on Akpaja farmland, were identified as the victims.

The victims committed no sin but had protested earlier against the herdsmen-led cows’ destruction of their crops.

Even the natives’ complaints to Alhaji Ahmadu, who’s said to be the area’s Fulani chief, were ignored; rather, he supposedly prepared herders to go after the unarmed farmers.

Turning a Rivers burial into a bloodbath

An invasion by herdsmen turned a Rivers burial into a bloodbath. Due to the alleged disappearance of their cows in the local governments of Ohali-Elu, Ogba/Egbema, and Ndoni, the Fulani herdsmen attacked the community.

This occurred on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. The spokesperson for the state police, Ahmad Muhammad, stated at the time that the killings were unrelated to the missing cows and that only six people were reportedly killed, rather than the 12 that some community members had reported.

He said that only the pastor’s body, Geoffrey Ogagaghene, was found and that no other bodies were found.

“The command found it instructive to state that last Thursday, at approximately 5:30 a.m., the police in Egi Division received a report that on Wednesday, at approximately 10:00 p.m., unidentified assailants suspected to be herdsmen struck in Ohali-Elu town, leaving one Pastor Geoffrey Ogagaghene with severe cutlass cuts that later led to his death,” the spokesperson said.

“It’s also important to mention that prior to the attack, unspecified numbers of cows belonging to some herdsmen were allegedly stolen by youths in the community, but the incident was never reported to the police.

“It is reasonable to believe that the herdsmen may have carried out the attack in retaliation for the theft of their cows. Six more people were killed in the attack, according to unconfirmed sources.

“The deaths of these six people are still unconfirmed due to the fact that the police did not find the bodies or see them when they responded to the incident.”

Schools also not spared

Villagers were not the only ones at the mercy of the supposed Fulani herdsmen militias.

The students of the Rivers State School of Nursing, RIVSON, Port Harcourt, laid blockade to the Government House, Port Harcourt.

They protested over the dilapidated condition of the institution’s infrastructure and the lack of security.

They claimed that it had placed their school at the mercy of both Fulani herdsmen and criminals who invaded their school to attack them.

This occurred in January of 2017. The students, who carried placards with various inscriptions, pleaded with the government of Rivers State to immediately intervene in restoring the school’s dignity.

The students lamented the fact that the School of Nursing and Midwifery had closed down two similar establishments due to certification failure: Bori in the Khana Local Government Area and Ahoada Town in the Ahoada East LGA.

“We have additionally sent letters to the public authorities, letting them know that Fulani herders come into this school compound, and when we attempt to stop them, they will utilize weapons to go after us.

“Through a broken section of the school fence, they enter the campus. The same entrance is also used by criminals to enter the school at will,” a student stated.

“Sometimes criminals escape through there when the security personnel chase them.”

Fulani praise Wike upon vague Open Rearing and Grazing (Prohibition)

In the meantime, Fulani people living in Rivers State said that they were loyal to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.

They said that Wike stands out from other governors in the country because he is always ready to fight violent immoral elements in the states.

This was in 2021, and Fulani cattle rearers in Rivers claimed that they had been safe and peaceful for over 53 years, particularly under Governor Wike. 

Alhaji Yau Musa, senior scribe of the Fulani Cattle Rearers, a group that falls under the umbrella of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, reminisced about the state’s warmth and the peaceful progress of business, “despite the fact that the good times are waning as a result of the country’s current security challenges.”

Call for government to protect residents

Meanwhile, a group called the Youths and Environmental Advocacy Center (YEAC) urged the Rivers State government one year ago to enforce anti-open grazing laws.

This call was intended to put an end to the constant invasion of farms, murders, rapes, abductions, and violations of farmers’ rights by suspected herdsmen in some communities.

The group lamented that farmers continue to lament the herdsmen’s incessant attacks despite the passage and support of anti-open grazing laws.

On August 19, 2021, it was discovered that Wike had agreed to the Open Rearing and Grazing (Prohibition) Law No. 5 of 2021, for example.

Odimegwu Onwumere, Director, Advocacy Network on Religious and Cultural Coexistence (ANORACC), writes from Rivers state via: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Group Tackles Sultan For Supporting Fulanis’ “Point A to Point B” Movement

The Advocacy Network on Religious and Cultural Coexistence (ANORACC) has criticized His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ ad Abubakar III, Sultan of Sokoto, for stating that Nigerians should understand Fulani people’s “Point A to Point B” movement.

The Director of the Civil Society Organization, Odimegwu Onwumere, stated on November 26, 2022, in Port Harcourt that the Sultan was playing the ostrich with his statement while supporting the invariably highhandedness of his people across the country.

His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ ad Abubakar III, Sultan of Sokoto, recently requested help from the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in finding a long-term solution to the country’s problems with kidnapping and banditry.

At the National Mosque in Abuja, where the new national executive officers of MACBAN were sworn in, the Sultan made the statement.

The ANORACC said the Sultan was entitled to express his displeasure with “some Fulani children involved in banditry and kidnapping,” but he was not entitled to declare that “he cannot sit and allow the country to go into fractions.”

According to the ANORACC’s press briefing, “Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ ad Abubakar III can only say that he will not sit back and watch the Fulanis, not the country with its many ethnic and linguistic divisions, fall apart.

“The Sultan’s statement was rather autocratic in that it imposed rather than bolstered national unity, as he might have intended.

“ Furthermore, if the Sultan stated that the danger of separating the country was due to specific things Nigerians are not doing well, he should have stated that a few sub-public states (rather than sovereign states) are the issue in the country.

“For instance, the Fulanis’ insistence on claiming ownership of all the country’s lands was witnessed by the Sultan (not supervised). They have been keeping their word.

“Their most recent incursion into three communities in Enugu resulted in dozens of injuries and deaths.

“When the Sultan said that there would be peace if Nigerians understood that Fulanis move from point A to point B, he was being naive. When he claimed that Fulanis were people who valued peace, he lied sparingly. That is nepotism at its finest.

“Because the Sultan accepted that their Fulani sons were involved in nefarious banditry and kidnapping, it was expected of him that he would admit that he had failed as the leader of the Fulani people in Nigeria and the Muslim community.

“The Sultan ought to be aware that the territories’ history, which dates back approximately to 1900, includes a number of powerful West African kingdoms or empires that ruled during the pre-colonial period (16th to 18th centuries), including the Oyo Empire and the Islamic Kanem-Bornu Empire in the northeast and the Igbo kingdom of Onitsha in the South-East. Nigeria wasn’t there. When did the Fulanis come to the northern part of the country originally owned by the Hausas and today dragging ownership of lands across the country?”

The group cautioned the Sultan to be mindful of his statement on separation. The ANORACC’s statement went further:

“If the people who make up a country or a section of a country do not find it advantageous to be together, breaking up a country has never been considered a sin anywhere in the world. It is only sitting on the rights of citizens through oligarchy and feudalism that is a sin.

“Therefore, the Sultan’s claim that he is unable to watch Nigeria break up into smaller pieces is untrue. The Sultan’s urging Nigerians to understand Fulanis as people who move from “point A to point B” is regressive!

“Even in the twenty-first century, open grazing by Fulanis should have embarrassed the Sultan, but he was supporting them as a people who moved from “point A to point B.”

“When he said that his Fulani relatives are moving from point A to point B, he should tell them to respect the native laws of the people they meet at point C rather than criticizing their laws and using the sword because the Sultan said Fulanis were “a peace-loving people”.”

A non-profit organization seeks funding to expand its reach

The non-governmental Advocacy Network on Religious and Cultural Coexistence (ANORACC) has requested collaboration and money from governments and commercial entities to support its advocacy programs’ expansion of its objectives.

The organization is committed to ensuring that people are empowered and equipped with the fundamental knowledge and understanding of human rights and freedom, media briefing and free press advocacy, empowerment of youth and women, religious tolerance and cultural coexistence, according to Odimegwu Onwumere, Director of ANORACC, who made this statement during a program in Port Harcourt on October 8, 2022.

Onwumere asserts that accomplishing this task will require additional financing as well as collaboration with businesses, governments, financial institutions, and other commercial operators.

A portion of the press release read: “ANORACC is a reliable, non-governmental, and non-political organization with a mandate to advocate for human rights and freedom; media briefing and free press advocacy; youth and women’s empowerment; religious tolerance, and cultural coexistence.”

“Its goal is to discuss important subjects objectively. We have taken on the responsibility of acquiring the necessary registration requirements for the NGO because we want to carry out the aforementioned duties.

“Our organization has received approval from the authorities and individuals who believe that humanity stands to gain a great deal in the days, weeks, months, and years to come if commercial entities or organizations like yours provide the necessary support.

“To expand our program, acquire a well-equipped office, and assist the less fortunate, we require your financial support. We can’t continue our ambitious projects to make our country better without your financial support.

“Any monetary contribution is welcome, and your support will be greatly appreciated. Your organization and name will be properly mentioned in our programs if you consent.

In addition, Onwumere also stated in an email sent by the NGO from — anoracc (at) rescueteam (dot) com — that the organization planned to implement its advocacy programs in additional states across the country in order to reach a larger number of people.

The ANORACC can be reached through email.

SOURCE: Africa Press Chamber

Do You Over Talk?

Every aspect of life has a protocol. There are questions meant for a person or group to answer. You shouldn’t give an answer to a question meant for your boss, even if you know the answer very well. Even if you know the answer to a question posed to the spokesperson or head of your family, business, or organization, you should not respond. Sadly, some people have loose tongues and dirty feet, with which they walk on people’s minds. They have a poor upbringing and are so garrulous that they lack a sense of maturity in knowing when to or not talk. People should know when to stop talking. We learnt this from our grandparents. If your friend gave birth, don’t go tell everyone in the street because you are not the one who gave birth and you don’t know if your friend wanted it to be a secret. If your friend relocates to somewhere, don’t go about telling everyone of his or her whereabouts. If your company has a policy, don’t go about telling the company’s customers about the policy. Let the company send a letter or broadcast to their customers. There should be decorum in everyone’s senses. Why should you go to a village meeting meant for the heads of your family when you are not one? Just insanity! So, think if you are one of those people who over-talk. It is not good. Leave it to the individual to make their secrets public. After all, you are not their spokesperson.
~ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE
September 22, 2022.

When Information Isn’t Power

When I was growing up, I learnt that “information is power.” I was always listening to the radio and watching TV programmes to garner the power of information. There was no social media then. Much as I developed in mind on the information that was deposited in me, I have found out that being informed through information isn’t the same as acting on the information gathered to better my life. Information can’t be power when it’s not used. The former is like achieving your life’s goals, but you are still struggling to give value to your life. Those without value to their lives are not applying or are bereft of some information. That is the reason you see one who has achieved his or her life’s goals, yet the person does drugs and other things just to give value to his or her life. So, information is not really power, but information acted on is.

~ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE

August 7, 2022.

NB: The picture was culled online

Kizz Daniel And The Tanzanian Event

Just two days ago, I took cognizance of this person when the news of police arresting him in Tanzania was everywhere. Kizz Daniel was said to have been paid $60,000 to perform in an event that the organizer said he used $300,000 to organize, but he was in the country and didn’t perform, with the excuse that his personal effects like jewelries were in the cargo or missing, so he couldn’t perform. Many social media posts have taken him to task for failing to rehabilitate Nigeria’s allegedly battered image in that country, thereby increasing the country’s suspicion of Nigerians. Well, I do not blame the singer. Things happen to us in many ways, and we each respond to them in different ways. I would have joined his interpreters if he collected the money and didn’t travel or gave a sound explanation for doing so. We are living in bad times and one’s Chi has a way of doing miracles. What the posters against the musician saw was the money involved, but they didn’t see the fact that he could also be shot on the stage. So, Kizz Daniel is a man. He is singing to build a career. We shouldn’t always see things about people through our personal lenses. We also have to consider his feelings. His personal effects could be what motivates him. They could be the source of his inspiration. And the cargo was nowhere near them. The absence of those items could have weighed him down. We are not always strong as individuals. Conversely, I am happy he has promised to make up for the event he was paid for. I am optimistic that his name, which has been trending, won’t be on the bad list. More wins and blessings.

~ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE

August 10, 2022.

#inspiration #career #people #socialmedia #event #money #travel #stage #like #nigeria #police

Making A Difference

You need not sell anything to be rich. You also need to sell something to be rich. The major thing is finding who you are and living in the direction that you want to make a change in your history. This doesn’t take being schooled or not, rich or not… The people you mentioned didn’t have the premonition of being prominent when they started selling plantain in the case of Timaya and the other, with other trades. Just get ready with whatever you are doing. In 1955, a woman of African descent, Rosa Parks, during racial segregation the USA., didn’t know that her simple act of walking into a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and refusal to stand up for white supremacists would publish her name on the world records. Martins Luther King Jr., was using his oratorical powers for speechmaking but hadn’t the glimpse idea that his decision would stand him positively out among the rest of people. I can go on and on. The major thing is taking a decision and un-locking the indefinite powers in you. But mind you, you can be rich without being famous. You can also be famous without being rich. The major thing is that you become successful. Just keep on doing what your hand founded to do. Repetition is the mother of skill cum success. Be optimistic and most importantly, perseverance. Good luck.

© ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE
August 4, 2022.

#success #people #change

Press Release: Eedris Abdulkareem’s £4,269: Effect Of Living In Poor Nigeria

When Eedris Turayo Abdulkareem Ajenifuja, popularly known as Eedris Abdulkareem, made the ailment he has public on July 6, 2022, one thing that came to mind was that he would raise money easily to tackle whatever ailment he has since he is popular.

Nigerians were jittery on social media about losing this man, who has always been at the forefront of the downtrodden and the betterment of humanity here. A fundraiser was called for people to assist him. This was due to the fact that Nigerian hospitals are sorry tales in the area of human and infrastructural input.

Nigerians started showing their concern for him after a statement by Myke Pam for Abdukareem’s Lakreem Entertainment enlightened the public about what had befallen Abdulkareem.

The statement said they were calling for “sincere and unalloyed prayers of all Nigerians and his fans around the world” for the singer known for his hit song, ‘Nigeria Jaga Jaga’.

Abdulkareem needed a kidney transplant at the end of July, and Myke Pam said, “They have concluded all arrangements and tests.”

While the managers of Abdulkareem might have concluded plans according to them since July 6, the “Jaga Jaga” singer later shared details of a GoFundMe account via his Instagram page, and explained that it was created based on requests from concerned individuals.

However, the news on July 27, 2022, on national dailies that the veteran rapper is scheduled to undergo major surgery for a kidney transplant with £4,269 (N2,136,345.49) raised to that effect is miserably poor.

Upon his popularity, such an amount of money for twenty days after the ailment was made public shows how poverty is living amongst Nigerians with an estimated population of two hundred million people.

It even shows how poorly the creative industry is in Nigeria if Abdulkareem, who published his personal record label in 2005, can merely boast of $100,000 USD as net worth by 2022, according to research.

On the other hand, a music star in rational climes would have raised all the cash brought in for Eedris in over two weeks in a day. His well-being would have been a national concern, taken up by the government. This pittance brought to Eedris vigorously is a math showing how destitution of the pocket and the brain has negatively affected Nigerians who persevere through bad circumstances such as unsatisfactory housing, vagrancy, insufficient sustenance and food insecurity, inadequate child care, lack of admittance to medical services, unsafe neighborhoods, and underresourced schools, which adversely affect over 80% of the citizens.

With a miserly £4,269 raised for the popular musician, its posits that the Nigerian system is based on the issue of poverty among the citizens who still have issues like hunger, disease, and thirst. Many Nigerians can’t access common water and latrines. The essential neediness of the citizens leads to chronic weakness, suicide threats, brutality, and what not.

We must, however, thank everyone who contributed to the £4,269 total. The authorities ought to grasp that living in destitution, which citizens endure in Nigeria under successive governments, affects the wellbeing of citizens in immediate and roundabout ways. There are the prompt outcomes of living in low-quality houses, living on dirty streets, chemicalized air from gas flaring, and pollution contamination that represent a more serious gamble of respiratory issues and expanded pressure from openness to congestion.

Odimegwu Onwumere,
The President, Advocacy Network on Religious and Cultural Coexistence (ANORACC).


Non-governmental Organisation (NGO),
Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Dangers Of Leaking Secrets

When I was growing up, part of my Igbo community’s traditions was to teach children how to guide their words and their utterances. Your tongue could be pinched with the fingernails of your parent or guardian for talking unguided or talking loosely. I didn’t understand what they were doing then till my adult age. Today, I have noted that maturity starts with how the individual talks, the secret one can keep no matter the provocation. Many of us have been living this way. You cross-check your head before you utter any word. You are not pushed to divulge what you had with someone when both of you fell apart. Regrettably, this is not something some of our people would want to learn today. They are now prone to asking their girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, or sibling to reimburse them for everything they did for them when they were living together, as soon as they split up. Some would even go as far as collecting the shoes and clothes they bought for their once-loved ones. Some would say, “I clothed you, accommodated you, polished you… but you paid me in another coin.” In the Igbo community I saw and how we were brought up, this behaviour was not necessary. You leave your presumed offender to Ofo na Ogu to judge. You don’t mouth what both of you had, but leave it to nature, which will surely pay back to you. Conversely, modern people think that talking all their secrets with someone when the road is no longer smooth will make them fine, or fighting the person in whatever way will relieve them. No. Life is full of secrets. You have to learn how to keep them. Don’t talk to people mannerlessly or bring to the public what you once had with them. Social media is a culprit today. No. Our Igbo forebears left with a lot of secrets, knowing that the modern Igbo were not ready to handle them. We would abuse the secrets because we talk too much these days. We don’t have sense. We think it is brave to talk any way and anywhere. Today, we are crying that we don’t understand Odinala, that we don’t hear from the spirits. We won’t hear from them because we are running in-not their dictate. We are selfish and insane. Till the individual learns personal maturity by bridling the tongue, we will continue to build a society of chaos where the individual’s selfishness superintends spiritual pursuits. And this is the bane of our society.

© ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE

July 23, 2022.