The South East Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, has said that about ten members of the association and their three hundred cows had been kidnapped by some people suspected to be gunmen operating in South-East Nigeria.
Siddiki, who disclosed this in an interview with Journalists in Awka, said the incident took place at Fulani settlement, Obene community in Ogbaru local government area of Anambra State, on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at about 1:30 am.
He said that the Cattle herders were attacked at their settlement while asleep and their animals are forcefully taken away by the gunmen numbering about 40.
He said they invade the area with sophisticated weapons; guns cutlasses, sticks and charms.
According to him, the kidnappers have established contact with their victims’ families, demanding a four million naira and one gun as ransom.
“As as speak to you now, I have reported the incident to the Police and DSS for prompt action.
He appeals to the kidnappers to release his members and their cows, stressing that those kidnapped are mere strugglers.
He condemned the politicisation of the herdsmen and host communities’ conflict across the country, noting that the herdsmen were always accused of a crime, even in situations where they were the victims of attack.
Siddiki cited instances where criminals disguised in Fulani attires commit crimes in some states like Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, southern Kaduna and Anambra in order to give the herdsmen a bad name. He blamed the face-off between herdsmen, farmers and host communities on a lack of accurate communication by the concerned authorities.
According to the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association official, most conflicts can be averted if dialogue and proper conflict management skills are established in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Siddiki however, commended the Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, for initiating a peace and reconciliation committee to address the security challenges in the state and the South East region at large, with a view to achieving real solutions.
He reiterated that the MACBAN under his watch in the South East, South-South regions will continue to preach unity and peace among Nigerians in respective of their Tribe, Ethnicity and Religion placement.
The state Police Public Relations Officer DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, while confirming the incident in a telephone interview with Tribune Online, in Awka, urged the leadership of Miyetti Allah in the state to come up with more information that would enable the Police to commence an aggressive investigation into the matter.
According to the PPRO, yes, we are aware of the incident but we want the Miyetti Allah leadership to supply us with more information since the Kidnappers have established ransom contact with the victims’ families.
He advised the Miyetti Allah leadership not to react, assuring them that the Command under CP Echeng Echeng and other security agencies in the state will do everything possible to rescue the victims from their abductors.