As the country’s insecurity challenges deepen, a former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ozo Celestine Okoye, yesterday raised fresh alarm over the presence of heavily armed Fulani herdsmen with AK- 47 rifles, occupying a total of 332 Fulani settlements across the five states in the South Eastern zone with the intention of attacking the region in the foreseeable future.
According to Okoye, in an exclusively interview with Saturday Telegraph, the Fulani herdsmen in the South East are more located in Ebony, Anambra, Enugu and Abia states while trying to make inroad into Imo State. “I wonder what our governors are doing about the heavy presence of heavily armed Fulani herdsmen in Igboland and I am worried because I am an Igbo man from Awka, Anambra State. “Why are they pretending about it even when they know? In Imo State they have taken over Okigwe town and some parts of Abia State close to Imo State and they are heavily armed.
“Ebony State has the largest number of Fulani settlements in the South East and their presence is dangerous to the people of the area. “If you go to Amansea border towns of Anambra State and Isiagu town in Anambra State they are building permanent settlements that, is houses, claiming that they bought the land from the owners and one wonders what would happen when they launch the planned attack.’’ Okoye further said that the Fulani settlements are at the border towns of the five South East states, an indica-tion that Igbo land is under siege by the strangers. “As a security operative when such elements are setting at the border towns, it means that the owners of the land are not safe and that means that when they launch their attacks you have nowhere to run to because you are under siege and there is nothing you can do about it,’’ he stated. He further said that the governors of the South East should be proactive in the area of security, adding that with such a development, Ndigbo is as good as conquered by the Fulani herdsmen.
“No matter how we see it we have an impending crisis in our hands capable of making the South East ungovernable and it is high time our governors woke up to the looming security crisis in the South East and nip it in the bud,’’ warned the former DIG. Okoye contended that the claims by security operatives that they are on top of the situation is merely lips service aimed at calming down the panic even as he insisted that if nothing is done, Ndigbo would be found wanting. ‘‘Our vigilante groups and traditional rulers should be vigilant and ready for any eventuality and our governors should assist them before we would be caught napping with nowhere to run to and nothing to do to save our people,’’ he said. When contacted, the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tochukwu Ikenga, disclosed to our reporter that the command is on top of any attempt to disturb the peace in the area, adding that rumours mongers are out to create unnecessary tension in the state.