The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has instructed the governors of the South Eastern states, as well as security agencies, to end the slaughter of cows by gunmen in the states of Enugu, Imo, Anambra, Abia and Ebonyi.
He also condemned the wave of killings by groups including security agencies and unknown gunmen, and called for peaceful and constructive dialogue.
HURIWA, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, pointed out that not only Fulani herders are involved in the cattle trade in the South East, adding that many Igbo businessmen are also engaged in trade.
The group said the consequences of the continued slaughter of cattle by gunmen, who are angry with ethnic Fulani stock for whatever reason, would affect Igbo traders and sons of the soil who are also actively involved in livestock trade in the Southeast.
HURIWA said, “Security officers must end the condemnable trend of cattle slaughter in the Southeast. No one’s business deserves to be attacked, no matter what crimes they have committed; the law should be allowed to take up his cause.
“Furthermore, the fact that the cattle are not only owned by the Fulani or the Hausa, but also by the Igbo traders, is reason enough for those aggrieved to stop terrorizing cattle businesses in the South East. .
“It should be noted that the cattle business provides jobs for young people working in the South-East region because it is a business for everyone. According to Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, the state consumes over 6,000 head of cattle per day and over 1.8 million head of cattle annually, with a transaction value of over of N328 billion. That’s a lot of money.
“Without any assumptions, the total volume of cattle consumed throughout the South East and the money derived from it should be equal to that of Lagos or above. It is therefore important that the livestock value chain and business is protected from attack by gunmen, as the continued slaughter of cows in the Southeast will cause economic hardship.
“South East governors must act immediately and engage with all stakeholders and aggrieved people to end this whole mess.”