The attention of South East chapter of West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) has been drawn to the statement credited to Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, the leader of Cattle Breeders in Nigeria that he would order the Fulani herdsmen to invade the South East and conquer them because of the refusal of the five governors in the zone to surrender their lands to them for grazing purposes.
In as much as we see the statement as an empty threat that does not possess any substance to worry about, we unequivocally condemn it per se due to its undemocratic connotation.
Attempting the use of force to dispossess the inheritance of a section of citizens whose rights and privileges are guaranteed by the constitution is a complete sign of weakness. One begins to wonder what happens to the instrument of negotiation when an issue appears recalcitrant.
We admit that cattle grazers are citizens of Nigeria, and have the right to do business in any part of the country including in South East. However, nobody should survive at the expense of another within a democratic setting. Historically, nations are stronger when leaders honour the decisions of their subjects and people respect the rights of others – right to life, right to peace, right to own property and right to security. These rights are non negotiable.
South East governors in their blunt NO to land grazing only amplified the position of millions of people whose mandate they so speak.
The people of South East are peace loving people. We therefore advise the Miyetti Allah group to tow the path of peace, compromise and negotiation to pursue their way of life.
God bless the people of South East, and God bless the people of Nigeria.
FOR SOUTH EAST WANEP