Bakassi Boys, the unorthodox security outfit that once held sway in the South-East, is regrouping in the aftermath of the Nimbo, Enugu State, attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen in which more than 48 people were killed.
The Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) is also reaching out to other groups across the five states in the geo-political zone to form a united front against further onslaughts by killer herdsmen, it was learnt yesterday.
The various state governments in the zone have similarly been mapping out their own plans to avoid a re-enactment of the Enugu State massacre.
It was gathered in Awka that leaders of the Bakassi Boys have been meeting in Abia, Imo, Anambra and Ebonyi on how to defend the states from further attacks by killer herdsmen.
A top member of the group who did not want his name mentioned, said never again would anyone or group be allowed to terrorize the zone ‘for no just cause’.
Speaking in the same vein, a MASSOB leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu, said the movement was reaching out to other Igbo groups on the matter.
“There is need for Ndigbo to form a synergy on this issue,” he said.
“We have started making consultations. This is not an issue MASSOB and other positive groups in Igboland will leave for the governors and policemen to decide.
“The groups we are talking about are not ones that find favour on the pages of newspapers, but groups that have the interests of our people at heart like MASSOB,” Madu said.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State met on Thursday night with traditional rulers in the state on how to forestall a repeat of the Enugu mayhem in Anambra.
The governor told the gathering that government was already monitoring closely suspicious movements in some parts of the state.
He said government was working in concert with the security agencies in this regard and assured residents of safety of their lives and property.
He said that where the options available to government fail, the state is ready to defend the people, but he was quick to add that “we do not want it to get to that point.”
He said: “We do not want anything to destroy the beautiful relationship that has existed between Igbo and Fulani and other Nigerians. We want Anambra to be a shining example and that is why we are the light of the nation.
“What we intend to do is to send the Fulani that are living with us here to go and meet with the Fulani in that area with a view to finding out whether they are coming in peace or otherwise.
”We agreed at the Security Council Meeting that we will not allow herdsmen to carry arms.
“That is a clear directive from Abuja. Herdsmen are not supposed to bear arms. Please, if you see any herdsmen with AK47, report them early to the police so that they can be picked up.”
The chairman of the South East zone of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Siddiki Gidado, commended the governor for convening the meeting and stressed the need to entrench in the psyche of the herdsmen and their host communities the code of healthy engagement.
His words: “I must confess that life out there in the jungle where our people breed their cattle is rough and this is often compounded by either some acts of carelessness by some herdsmen or sheer acts of suspicion from natives who might not be hospitable to the herdsmen traversing their physical space.
“Neither of the issues can be adjudged insurmountable. It only demands constructive commitment from the governments and other concerned groups who would deconstruct the underlying hate mind-set and create a healthy room for mutual trust amidst diverse business interests”
“The code of healthy engagements must be entrenched in the psyche of the herdsmen and their landlords wherever they are found.”