From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has denied attack on any Northerner or Fulani doing their legitimate business in the Southeast, contrary to the recent allegation by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), which claimed that the Igbo pro-Biafra group has been harassing its people in the zone.

Although the group admitted to killing of cows reared by armed herdsmen, it alleged the cows were destroying the farms of the farmers in the zone.

Spokesperson of IPOB, Emma Powerful, in a statement he released to newsmen, yesterday, disclosed that even Fulani living in the zone are free to transact their businesses, but not to the detriment of the farmers or engaging in open grazing, which he noted has been banned by the Southeast governors.

He said: “For public record purposes, IPOB and ESN are not attacking Northerners, including law-abiding Fulani in the East. There are many responsible and law abiding northerners, including Fulani, doing legitimate businesses in the East without anyone harassing them. However, IPOB/ESN, he noted “are pursuing criminal elements and terrorists in our bushes, forests, and farmlands, who are terrorising our people, raping our women, killing our farmers and destroying our farmlands and communities.

“On the mass killing of cows in the East, IPOB/ESN takes responsibility for slaughtering the cows that these terrorists are using as conduits to occupy our farmlands and destroying our crops just to send the message that we don’t want terrorists in our bushes and farmlands,” Powerful said. He added: “Moreover, open grazing has been banned by the South East Governor’s Forum since 2020. There are houses for rent in all the cities and towns in Biafra land. There is no region that has houses more than the East in Nigeria. Any Fulani who is interested in doing a legitimate business should rent a house or properties like other citizens and not to go and occupy bushes and graze in people’s farms.

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“If the northerners that are doing legitimate businesses in the cities should allow the Northern Elders Forum to refer to them as being harassed by IPOB because they are the sophisticated terrorists, mass murderers, rapists and kidnappers in the Biafra forests and bushes, they will continue to be harassed by ESN until they vacate and stop coming into our territory.

“Their notorious activities in every part of Nigeria are in the public domain. ESN and IPOB do not romance with criminals and terrorists. Therefore, the hypocritic NEF can hold their peace and advise their foot soldiers to back off from the Biafra region. The Fulani terrorists, nicknamed herdsmen, have slaughtered and displaced many indigenous communities in Nigeria. Not once have their backers in the Northern Elders Forum condemned the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen, especially in the Eastern region and Middle belt region.

“Elders are supposed to be peacemakers, but the Northern Elders Forum are instigating trouble by saying that IPOB are attacking Northerners, especially Hausas and other tribes living in the East. Let them attack Easterners in the North and see the outcome. More so, the NEF tacitly endorse the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen by condemning IPOB for defending Biafra land against the Fulani herdsmen who have slaughtered thousands of the indigenous people and occupied their ancestral lands.”

Meanwhile, IPOB implored the NEF to call their people to order, just as it accused them of being responsible for the influx of foreign armed militia into the country.

“The elders in this NEF are hypocrites, clueless and uninformed; they are behind the influx of foreign armed Fulani militia into Nigeria. These invaders are responsible for the mass slaughter of indigenous Hausas, Middle Belters, Biafrans as well as the Oduduwas. The Northern Elders Forum should tell their boys parading as herdsmen to stop any form of planned attack on the Biafra community or meet their Waterloo. They must stop open grazing, kidnapping for ransom, raping of women and destruction of our farms or continue to face ESN and IPOB venom.

“The attack against armed Fulani criminal elements is to ensure that Biafra land is free from terrorists and that our farmers can go to the farms without the fear of being killed by the terrorists,” Powerful explained.

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