Residents in Asaba, Delta State’s capital, are tense after discovering a threat letter giving Governor Ifeanyi Okowa a 72-hour deadline to withdraw his support for the ban on open grazing or risk the state capital being assaulted.
The letter, headed “Fulani Jihadist Warning: An Open Message Of Two Paragraphs To Delta State,” was allegedly posted at strategic areas throughout the state capital, including the fence of the Living Faith Church nicknamed Winners Chapel on Infant Jesus Road in Asaba.
The letter comes just weeks after the governors of the 17 southern states outlawed open grazing of cattle in the region at a meeting in Asaba.
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The prohibition was opposed by the Federal Government and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, who said the governors’ action violated herdsmen’s freedom of movement.
In an interview on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari also rejected the governors’ position and ordered the restoration of grazing routes across the country.
However, the anonymous letter specifically threatened that Fulani Jihadist fighters would attack Asaba and Governor Okowa’s hometown Agbor if he did not retract his support for the state’s prohibition on open grazing.
The letter reads, “This is to inform Delta state that the Fulani’s of Usman dan fodio leadership, shall do everything it can to uphold the legacy of our heritage of open grazing for we are nomadic people from origination and shall never negotiate the ownership of Nigeria and West Africa and Sub-Sahara.”
“We hereby demand the governor of Delta state to immediately withdraw his early stand for the call to barn open grazing in 17 regions in not less than 72hours from the above date and also, withdraw his position as the leading voice for the governors, as no occurrence we don’t have the first-hand information, even before the hosting of the South-south. South-east and South-south governors meeting in Asaba.”
“Failure to adhere to this demand for being the host of the 17 governors, Delta State, most likely the city of Asaba and Agbor, shall encounter severe consequences than that of Bornu, Kebbi, Kastina, Kaduna, Enugu, Benue, Oyo and many more that will not respect the Fulani’s heritage.”
“We take responsibility for the detonated explosive uncovered in the state secretariat, which should serve as warning to the Delta State government for what is to come, should the governor fail to abide by our demand.”
“We advise all Fulanis and northerners, including the security personnel, to leave Delta State as soon as possible for the wind of our action is now present in the land. For failure of the governor to adhere to our call, this shall leave us with no choice.”