The Hausa/Fulani community at the Abia Regional Cattle Market, Lokpanta, has demanded inclusion in Ebubeagu security outfit.
This is just as the community refuted the rumour making the rounds that bandits and killer herdsmen are being haboured in the market.
This is coming on the heels of speculations that the Fulani bandits being pursued out of Ebonyi State by operatives of Eastern Security Network, ESN, are now taking refuge at the market.
Leaders of Hausa/Fulani community, cattle dealers and allied traders in the market who addressed newsmen, Monday, said those behind the rumour wanted to pitch them against the host communities.
Reading from a prepared text on behalf of the leaders, one of the stakeholders, Buba Kedemure, said “there is no iota of truth in the said rumour”, and urged members of the public to disregard it.
“Our attention has been drawn to the rumour alleging that we habour bandits, kidnappers and herdsmen in our market.
“That the said criminals were authorised by us to plan and attach their victims within and outside the state
“The allegation is a calculated attempt by some disgruntled elements within and outside the cattle market to incite the host community and the government against our community.”
Other signatories of the press statement include: the Chairman of Umuchieze Cattle Market, Alhaji Annaym Umar; Deputy Sarki Sango, Hussaini Muhammad; Alhaji Baba Ahmad, Umari Ali, and Alhaji Uba Muhammad.
They blamed some elements not happy with the cordial relationship between the Northern community and their host communities since the 16 years existence of the cattle market, as masterminds of the rumour.
The leaders lamented the adverse effects of the rumour which they said had caused fear among northern community in the market thus leading to mass exodus of northerners back to the North.
According to them, It has also led to high cost of cows as suppliers from the North are no longer willing to supply more products because of fear and apprehension.
They said they were law-abiding citizens who had lived peacefully with their host communities.
The leaders said they had already petitioned the police and the Department of State Services, DSS, adding that some mobile police men had been deployed to beef up security around the market.
They expressed worry over the the escalating insecurity in the country and blamed it on government’s failure to “arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.”
Kedemure said insecurity had been politicised in the country, and called on government to rise to the occasion.
He demanded the inclusion of Hausa/Fulani community in the Ebubeagu regional security outfit recently floated by South East governors.
He said they would accept any security outfit established by government, while arguing that the entire Fulani should not be stigmatised because of some bad eggs among them.
He blamed ‘roaming foreign Fulani’ for the crisis with the host communities in some parts of the country.
“Their cow is different from ours. They don’t even trust us that are residing here. You know Fulani are a large tribe in different parts of Africa and they move from country to country.”
Adding his voice, the Chief Immam of the Garki mosque, Mallam Bashir, said it was difficult to identify the “foreign Fulani” suspected to be behind some violent attacks against their hosts from other Fulani.
Some Igbo traders at the market including Usman Pepper from Amuzukwu Ibeku Umuahia who said he was born at the Cattle Market before it was relocated to Lokpanta; and Deaconess Ihesiulo, said they had lived in peace with the Hausa/Fulani community, and expressed worry over the negative economic impacts of the rumour. (Vanguard)