The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Thursday, said it would convene a meeting of Igbo leaders.
This was as Fulani herdsmen, who attacked Egedegede, Obeagu and Nkaleha communities of Ebonyi State and some parts of Enugu State between Sunday and Monday nights, killing over 22 innocent citizens, threatened to launch fresh attacks on the areas.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, which said attacks and killings in the land had assumed a disturbing and worrisome dimension, noted that it would no longer fold its hands and watch Igbo being killed with reckless abandon.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Chairman, Council of Elders, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, a copy of which was obtained by one of our correspondents.
The statement read, “The elders of Igboland directed that the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor and the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, His Excellency Engr. David Umahi, should call an immediate meeting of stakeholders, including the National Assembly.
“This meeting will deliberate on ways and means to protect Igbo people wherever they live. The meeting will also establish an emergency relief fund from where help can be given to people exposed to attack of terrorism anywhere in Igboland. We wish to say with pride that all through the history of Nigeria, Igbo are known to live in many places outside Igboland and they have never launched any attack against the lives and property of the people of that area.”
It added, “In Igbo culture of ‘Onye-aghala-nwanne-ya’, I want to make it clear to all and sundry that any attack on any Igbo soil is an attack on the entire Igboland. Igbo will never fold their hands and watch people invade them. I am constrained to sound this warning as the Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Council of Elders that we will no longer accept a situation where our people are invaded by terrorists.
“We will take every step to defend the lives and property of our people. We had earlier expressed our sympathy to our compatriots in other states in Nigeria such as Borno, Kaduna, Yobe, Sokoto, Taraba, Benue and Plateau where people have suffered similar invasion in the past.”
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Chief Stanley Okoro-Emegha, disclosed that Fulani herdsmen responsible for the attacks on three communities in the state had vowed to embark on a fresh onslaught.
Okoro-Emegha, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, restated that though the perpetrators had fled the scenes of the ugly incident, the state government was not taking attackers’ latest threat with a wave of the hand.
He said the attackers made away with the phone of one of their victims, adding that with the line, “they picked our call and said they would come back for another attack.”
The commissioner stated, “We have the phone numbers of those who came for the attack. We are tracking the numbers. We have the contacts of the people that sent them and we are tracking those contacts.
“The attackers took the phone of one their victims and that number has been ringing and someone picked it and said they are still coming back again for another attack and we are not taking it lightly. So, we are tracking those numbers and their locations.”