“Members of the deep state and foreign mercenaries” have been alleged to be behind the Tuesday attack on Abia State cattle market which claimed the lives of eight persons.
A Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, huriwa, made the allegation.
This is as the group also alleged that the attackers are “members of the security forces or foreign mercenaries hired by Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association”, to resist the anti-open grazing legislation in the South-East.
In a statement jointly signed by HURIWA National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and its National Media Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, on Thursday titled, ‘Abia Cattle Market Attack Done to Inflict War on South-East: – Says HURIWA’, the group noted that the attack was aimed at “instigating killing of Ndigbo living in the far North and to spread civil conflicts between Igbo and their Northern brethren”.
The statement read in part, “We urge the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Governors of the South-East of Nigeria and the Igbo World Congress to jointly hire forensic and security experts and investigators from any part of the world to uncover the exact identities of the so-called unknown gunmen who the rights group believed are members of the security forces or foreign mercenaries hired by Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association angered by the anti-open grazing legislation in the South-East.
“And are now on a mission to start off civil war by attacking peaceful cattle owners just so the North will boil in anger and to transfer the aggression and reprisals on peaceful Igbo citizens of Nigeria living legitimately with their Northern brothers/sisters.”
It added, “The South-East of Nigeria is under attack by outsiders who want to cash in on the nebulous anti-cow posture of IPOB to attack northerners in the East so as to achieve their daredevil agenda and the silence and wilful inability of Nigeria’s security forces to uncover who the unknown gunmen are points to larger conspiratorial plots against the South-East of Nigeria by enemies of the Igbo”.
The group, however, urged the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, to rally round South-East political leaders in launching an intensive manhunt for perpetrators of orchestrated violence, which it claimed, was aimed at destroying the region.
The rights group also appealed to all aggrieved persons in the region to consider the need to promote peaceful coexistence always.
Furthermore, HURIWA urged northern groups to stop “sensationalising the unfortunate attacks in the Abia State cattle market which it believed was executed not by the Igbo but by those who hate Igbo”.
“The Igbo man and woman are the most peaceful and hospitable citizens and are not known for carrying out bloody violence on their visitors who live amongst them. The Northerners living in the East are like every Igbo person and so the Igbo respect the sanctity of life.”