Ohanaeze Ndigbo has accused law enforcement agencies of ignoring reports of herdsmen moving around with AK-47 rifles in a community in Anambra state.
In a petition to Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation said the story would have been different if those carrying guns were members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The petition dated March 3 and entitled, ‘the road to anarchy’ was signed by Nnia Nwodo, president-general of Ohanaeze.
Anambra police command has been contacted for comments.
Nwodo said residents in Umuawulu community in Awka south local government area had sighted four ”herdsmen” with AK-47 rifles slung on their shoulders on their way to Isiagu community where they reside.
“When the news of the brazen wielding of firearms spread across the council area, as law-abiding citizens, stakeholders there convened a crucial meeting with the police and Fulani leaders and raised the matter for deliberation,” he said.
“The stakeholders told the Fulani leaders in the presence of men of the State Investigation and Intelligence Bureau (SIIB) Awka that they were alarmed and surprised that their boys were flagrantly displaying arms in the public, unmindful of the legal implications of unlawful possession of firearms.
“The stakeholders expressed disappointment that security agencies did not make any attempt to arrest the offending Fulani boys, adding that if it were Igbo boys they would have been arrested, tortured and charged to court.
“But rather than explain what led to the carrying of arms by the boys, or even apologise on behalf of the boys, the Fulani leaders told the stakeholders to do their worst and walked out on them, saying that their boys must always bear arms to protect themselves against religious, ethnic or tribal attacks from any quarters, and there is nothing anybody can do.
“This in the presence of law enforcement agents and nothing was actually done to arrest either the Fulani boys or their leaders for overtly declaring war on the people of Anambra State.”
Nwodo wondered if bearing of “unlicensed firearms” is no longer illegal in Nigeria, asking: “Do we now have different laws for different ethnic groups in Nigeria?”
“If it were to be members of IPOB or any other group other than Fulani that bear such illegal arms, what fate would befall them?,” he added.
“We are law-abiding, hospitable and always ready to coexist with others as friends and brothers but not as foes and at a supreme price. Enough is enough.”