By Jude Michael
An Igbo interest youth group, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, said it has uncovered illegal grazing of cattle in farmlands in Imo communities which has caused hardship among farmers.
The group said no form of open grazing would be allowed in the entire Igbo Land, while calling for the arrest of some herdsmen whom they accused of carrying automatic rifles in the course of grazing their cattle.
A press release by the President General of the group, Mr Goodluck Ibem, alerted the Department of State Services (DSS), to move without delay and arrest ‘the marauding herdsmen’.
The group said: ‘The unlawful occupation and destruction of farmlands in Obasa Assa Community in the Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State by Fulani herdsmen with their cattle has brought great famine on the people as their crops have been eaten up by the cows.
‘The cattle and their headers have also sent indigenes of the community packing from their ancestral homes and community.
‘The issue of open grazing has been banned a long time ago, and anyone or group of persons still involved in such outdated practice is on a wicked mission of taking the ancestral lands of the community they are staying.’
The group said there was a bigger agenda than just cattle grazing, which, it said, was only a smokescreen, saying that this was more so as the Fulani herdsmen in the community carried AK47 rifles and other dangerous weapons.
‘We demand that the Department of State Security, DSS, should immediately arrest these terrorists with AK47 rifles, parading as Fulani herdsmen in Obosa Assa Community, and we demand for the payment of damages for crops and farmlands destroyed by those cows.
‘We give those terrorists parading as Fulani herdsmen 48 hours to vacate the community immediately and never try or think to come back,’ the release read.