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Sunday, 3 April 2016

THE ROMANCE BETWEEN NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT AND THE TERRORISM OF FULANI HERDSMEN

SPECIAL REPORT- THE ROMANCE BETWEEN NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT AND THE TERRORISM OF FULANI HERDSMEN


By Paul Ihechi Alagba

For Family Writers


There is a soft spot Nigerian government is trailing in its dealing with the militancy of Fulani herdsmen who are committing lots of barbaric killing of innocent civilians across the country especially in the Middle Belt, South West and Biafra regions. In 2015, this Fulani militant who disguise themselves as herdsmen was named as the "fourth most deadly terror group in the world, a feat it achieved after carrying out its terrorist attacks which left more than 1000 dead.


Records has revealed that ever since Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as Nigeria President in 2015, the terrorism of the Fulani herdsmen has increased tremendously especially in Christian regions of the country and the sad news is that his administration is doing little or nothing about this menace.


In the first quarter of 2016 alone, the herdsmen has already killed about 600 people in the course of their conflict with local farmers who refuse to sacrifice their arable land and the crops for grazing by the Fulani herders. The most recent of these clashes is the one popularly known as "AGATU MASSACRE" which occurred in February and in which 500 local farmers, their children and properties were destroyed by the herdsmen. The Agatu massacre has been ranked as the most bloody attack that has ever been launched by the Fulani militants as a result of the casualty figure. This have since sparked outrage among a lot of people in Nigeria.


  The herdsmen are also known for abduction of Monarchs and other high calibre individuals who stand as a barrier to them from invading the communities of their choice. In most cases, these people are either butchered to death or even beheaded while those who are lucky enough to have strong ties with those in authority get released after huge ransome must have been paid.


David Otto Endeley-the Chief Executive of TGS INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY CONSULTANT in an exclusive  interview I had with him expressed concern that the activities of the herdsmen which has taken a religious connotation is fast evolving into a major security threat in Nigeria-


"... It is definitely developing into a major security threat to local, national and regional stake holders."


"It has caused terror within communities leading to several casualties, destruction and damage to assets and above all, displacement of men, women and children" the London based Counter-terrorism expert noted.




 Biafrans has questioned the integrity of Nigerian Police and military whom they accuse of hypocrisy by their sluggishness in addressing the genocide being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen whereas they clamp down on their members who are protesting peacefully. In an interview with one of the activists, he said-


"They hypocritic nature of the way they are handling the terrorism of Fulani herdsmen in our people is quite alarming. This is one of the major reasons we no longer want to remain in Nigeria where our lives and properties are worth nothing to the government"


 "This also shows that the herdsmen has the backing of very powerful individuals in the government including the President."


 The arrest of 76 youths protesting against the invasion of the Fulani herdsmen in Enugu by Nigerian forces is a step in the wrong direction. Biafrans has already threatened to shut down Nigeria if all of them are not released with immediate effect.




President Muhammadu Buhari have been criticised by many for his muted stance in commiserating with the victims of havoc caused by the Fulani herders or addressing the crisis itself even after 500 civilians were killed by the Fulani militants in Agatu. Former Senate President- Senator David Mark who is representing Benue South during his tour to Agatu community expressed dismay at the atrocities being executed by the herdsmen and the federal government's blind spot to it. In his words-


 "I am shocked beyond words at the extent of destruction I have seen here in Agatu today. This is unbelievable. Nothing whatsoever justifies this brazen act of destruction meted out on the people of Agatu. My heart bleeds” the senator cries out. Also David Otto warned of any complacency on the side of Nigerian government stating that if left unchecked, the herdsmen crisis may metamorphose into something more deadlier than Boko Haram.


Meanwhile, there are speculations making the rounds that the fulani militants/herdsmen may be affiliated to the most deadly terror group in the world known as Boko Haram in one way or the other. This is the fear of many Nigerians who are already calling the herdsmen "boko haram in disguise". Counter terrorism expert David Otto has this to say- "The herdsmen have sophisticated weapons and plan strategic attacks on villages and individuals like conventional organised crime groups.


This makes it easy for such groups to easily feed terrorist groups like Boko Haram directly or indirectly. Their believe in Islamic religion acts as a powerful bond and push factor". It is therefore highly imperative the Nigerian government put all ethnic and religious sentiment aside and tackle with all seriousness the crisis of these herdsmen which is already proving incompetency to guarantee maximum protection of lives and properties of its citizens. If this is left unchecked, the catastrophic result shall have a multiplying effect.

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