It has become a daily occurrence, the maiming, killing and destruction of properties by the marauding Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria.
Amidst deafening silence from the Presidency, these dastardly acts only bring to mind the betrayal of the pigs who led the revolt in George Orwell’s satire ‘Animal farm’, with the popular slogan ringing on: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.
This madness started long ago, but the brazen attacks on innocent citizens increased 1000% since President Muhammadu Buhari, who himself is a Fulani assumed power after a landslide victory in the 2015 general elections.
The number of Nigerians killed by Fulani herdsmen in the last 10 months is over 1000, from the attacks on the Agatu people in Benue State to the kidnapping of the elder-statesman and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae and most recently the Monday attacks on Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, which led to the loss of hundreds of lives and destruction of properties worth millions of Naira.
According to the Global Terror Index regular mass murders by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen have combined to give Nigeria the dubious distinction of hosting the first and fourth most homicidal terrorist organizations in the world. A report by SMB Intelligence, a research firm which analyses Nigeria’s socio-political and economic situations, claims the Fulani are just as deadly as Boko Haram and scathingly describes the attitude of the Executive arm of government as “head-firmly-in-the-sand”.
Throughout Nigeria Fulani militia erroneously called ‘Fulani herdsmen’, hide amongst grazing cattle while openly carrying AK-47 rifles which they use for pillaging, raping, abducting, and murdering innocent citizens. Their numbers have increased dramatically and they have become a law onto themselves. Security reports claim that Fulani are in conflict with host communities in 30 out of 36 states and apart from terrorizing agricultural communities they routinely commit armed robberies on most major highways especially the Okene- Abuja road.
Christian farming communities have been victims of the daily escalating carnage. Between 2010 and 2013 Fulani militia killed approximately 80 people, but by 2014 they had killed 1,299 innocent citizens including police officers and traditional rulers.
As an excuse for their previous massacre of indigenes in Agatu local government area of Benue State, they claimed that over 10,000 of their cattle had been killed. Claiming that cattle have been rustled or killed is no justification for murder. Intriguingly rather than masses of dead cattle, the media reported masses of dead human corpses. The contention that the killings are due to farmer/herder conflicts isn’t a tenable explanation for the wholesale slaughter.
The Igbo Youths Movement (IYM) has lamented the fact that Fulani herdsmen have killed no less than 710 Nigerians excluding the 48 Agatu people in Benue State in the last 10 months without the Federal Government addressing the issue.
IYM made this known while reacting to Monday’s killing of about 40 indigenes of Nimbo in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State by Fulani herdsmen.
The statement signed by the Founder of the IYM and Leader of the South East Democratic Coalition, Evangelist Elliot Uko, entitled, ‘Ten Months of Carnage,’ read:
“Between June 2015 and April 2016, Fulani herdsmen have killed over 710 Nigerians (excluding Agatu incident) in 48 recorded incidents, the highest in recent years.
“For the first time, the nation’s Department of State Services (DSS) only interest in these avoidable blood baths, seems only to accuse one organization of killing five Fulani. That accusation is yet to be substantiated with photographs or at least a DSS invitation to media people to the graves in order to corroborate their allegations.
“Monday morning, seven communities in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State received it hot, as usual from the rampaging Fulani warriors. Two churches, over 100 houses, dozens dead and hundreds injured with many still missing.
“Nigerians do not expect any positive reaction from the Federal Government and the DSS, for obvious reasons. This bloodletting which began since the new government took over power is interestingly redefining how much faith large sections of Nigeria should have in the ability or willingness of the Federal Government to protect them from these Fulani warriors, who clearly act as if they know that the Federal Government cannot (or is it, will not) save the helpless victims from their attacks…
“The serial slaughter by the Fulani, the intimidation by the security agents and the disturbing silence of the President, who incidentally is also Fulani and life Patron of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, has put Mazi Kanu (leader of the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB) in the league of avatars, who correctly predicted events before they happened.
Second Republic politician and lawyer, Chief Guy Ikokwu, said the unceasing slaughtering of people by the Fulani herdsmen in most parts of the South demands immediate meeting of the 17 governors of the South and traditional rulers.
His words: “The governors of the southern states must meet immediately with their traditional rulers to discuss the issues affecting the area. Northern governors have been meeting. Southern governors must take a cue. The ethnic organisations of the Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Efik, like Ohanaeze, Afenifere, among others, must meet and take a common position on the issue.”
In clear terms, nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka criticised President Buhari over his seeming inability to rein in the violent activities of herdsmen across the country. In his address to the National Conference on Culture and Tourism on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, Soyinka said the President Buhari-led government was yet to come up with an articulate solution to tackle the menace.
He said: “I have yet to hear this government articulate a firm policy of non-tolerance for the serial massacres that have become the nation’s identification stamp. I have not heard an order given that any cattle herder caught with sophisticated firearms be instantly disarmed, arrested, placed on trial, and his cattle confiscated. The nation is treated to an 18-month optimistic plan which, to make matters worse, smacks of abject appeasement and encouragement of violence on innocents.
“Let me repeat, and of course I only ask to be corrected if wrong: I have yet to encounter a terse, rigorous, soldierly and uncompromising language from this leadership, one that threatens a response to this unconscionable blood-letting that would make even Boko Haram repudiate its founding clerics.
“When I read a short while ago, the Presidential assurance to this nation that the current homicidal escalation between the cattle prowlers and farming communities would soon be over, I felt mortified. He had the solution, he said. Cattle ranches were being set up, and in another 18 months, rustlings, destruction of livelihood and killings from herdsmen would be ‘a thing of the past’. 18 months, he assured the nation. I believe his Minister of Agriculture echoed that later, but with a less dispiriting time schema.”
The situation is truly pathetic, to say the least.
Are we on a road to a Rwandan-style genocide where an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed during the 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July 1994, where the Hutu tribe led government mass-slaughtered the Tutsis?
Do we fold our arms, watch and wait till these marauders and bloodthirsty beasts kill us all?
When will President Buhari put an end to this crisis?