As a result of the recent killings of about 48 Nimbo villagers in Enugu State by men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, strong indications have emerged that the Bakassi boys are soon to return as a standby militia in order to avert the senseless killing of innocent Igbo citizens by the Fulani herdsmen in the future.
The decision by the people of the South-East to bring back the Bakassi boys was reached at the Concerned Imeobi meeting of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo on May 1, 2016 at Enugu, according to a source who spoke to The Punch on the condition of anonymity. The meeting agreed that there was an urgent need for the Igbo nation to organize the people for self-defence against the invasion and killing of Igbo indigenes by the Fulani herdsmen.
The dreaded Bakassi Boys, a violent vigilante group who were famed to survive life ammunition, were mobilized in the 90s to terminate the troubling armed robbery menace in the South-East, especially in Onitsha, Anambra State. They were ruthless in visiting jungle justice on persons believed to have been involved in perpetrating vices and societal ills and purportedly wielded a special kind of machete they used in confirming the guilt of a suspected evil doers.
Meanwhile, the communiqué of the meeting obtained by Punch in Awka partly reads:
“…Our people should learn and imbibe the culture of being ready to defend themselves legitimately at all times, and at all levels; at least to offer reasonable defence, in the event of any impromptu attack, as we, the Igbo, are vulnerable and are grossly endangered.
“That the National Executive Council of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo must set up, as a matter of urgency, a ‘security and strategic endurance committee,’ and a ‘central coordinating security sub-committee on town unions, vigilance groups and neighbourhood watchers.’’
It was revealed that the Bakassi boys have started regrouping to strengthen other vigilante groups to provide security for local communities and towns in the South East. Former leaders of the group who are still alive have been summoned to facilitate their regrouping and also handle the recruitment of new members.
A source from the long-disbanded vigilante group revealed that their assignment is mainly to contain the Fulani mafia and ensure that they no longer cause destruction in any part of Igbo land. He added that they are fully empowered to respond speedily to attack on any part of Igbo land by the Fulani mafia, as he called them. He said:
“The action has become necessary because it appears the Federal Government is not ready to protect our people being attacked by the Fulani mafia. This Fulani and farmers clash has been happening in the north central and we thought it is a northern problem.
“Now, they have moved to the south to trouble our peace loving people. They kidnapped Chief Olu Falae in Yoruba land, they are now invading Igbo land, yet the Federal Government is not doing anything to protect our people”
Moreover, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) have already issued a warning, urging the Federal Government to intervene and stop the Fulani herdsmen from further killings in the south east.
Some leaders of the two liberation struggle groups disclosed that both MASSOB and IPOB may recourse to arms struggle to protect Igbo land if the invasion and killings by the Fulani herdsmen continue.
Also, a group of Niger Delta agitators, under the aegis of Concerned Militant Leaders (CML), has said it would declare war on Fulani herdsmen after two weeks, if they fail to leave the South-East and South-South states.
Spokesperson of the group, simply known as General Ben, demanded that Federal Government should within the 14 days deadline, tell Nigerians who the Fulani herdsmen are, otherwise, the spate of kidnapping and killing of the “so-called herdsmen,” would be unprecedented. He declared:
“After two weeks, starting from today, Tuesday, May 3, we are going to search for Fulani herdsmen. Since Federal Government cannot tell us who they are up till now, we are going to look for them.
“The Fulani herdsmen have indirectly challenged us, asking us what can we do. But, we promise them that we will not allow them to go without taking revenge. It is an insult and we will give them back.”