Friday Osanebi (Ndokwa East constituency), the Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, and Evance Ivwurie (Ethiope East constituency), have been quizzed by the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, of the Delta State police command over accusations of genocide against Fulani herdsmen leveled against them by a northern Nigeria based human rights group.
SaharaReporters learned that the group, 'My Body, My Right and Charity Initiative', based in Kaduna, had urged the Inspector General of Police to prosecute the two lawmakers over what they called a “proclamation of genocide” by them against Fulani herdsmen in their constituencies.
The allegation, it was gathered, followed an earlier petition to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo by Mr. Ivwurie on the need for the federal government to constitute a panel to investigate the attacks by armed herdsmen in the area before it snowballs into a major catastrophe.
In the subsequent petition by the group, obtained by SaharaReporters, the group alleged that the purported proclamation by the two lawmakers has caused the death of many defenseless, helpless, innocent and peaceful Fulani people in the clothes of herdsmen by warmongers in the area.
“Our source gathered that many (Fulani/Hausa indigenes) are trapped and killed with the accord of both the Deputy Speaker representing Ndokwa East and Evance Ivwurie, they said in the protest, signed by one Bala Muktar Muhammad and addressed to the Minister of Interior. “The mass killings and genocide [are] still going on and many a time, it happens with the connivance [of] those that [are] supposed to provide protection to these people,” the petition alleged.
On the alarm raised a few months ago by Mr. Ivwurie that a helicopter was seen dropping weapons and supplies in the areas, Muhammad said, “Osanebi and Ivwurie’s claims led to a total patrol of the forest for days by a joint military, DSS and police operatives but nothing incriminating was found on any peaceful Fulani leaving within the bush and no imaginary helicopter was found. This is because it was a planned genocide."
The group further complained that the lawmakers are now impeding justice and that their unsubstantial genocide claims have led to a proclamation issued by the people of the said local government areas as they have continued to motivate young Igbos and militants to kill any visible Fulani/Hausa man and woman, young and old they find.
“It is still ongoing and the IGP needs to take action because the State Police Command seemed to be taken along in this massacre. Messers Osenebi and Ivwurie should be immediately arrested by the claws of the law and equally prosecuted for issuing wrong and concocted information to the authorities,” the petition added.
SaharaReporters reliably learned that following Muhammad's complaints, the Delta police command swung into action, leading to the quizzing of Mr. Osanebi and Mr. Ivwurie.
Confiding in SaharaReporters under the condition of anonymity, a member of the Delta Assembly said the two lawmakers were quizzed following a letter sent by DCP Samuel Ojo, a Deputy Commissioner of Police at the Delta Command, through the Clerk of the House.