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Showing posts with label Herdsmen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Herdsmen. Show all posts

Monday, March 26, 2018

Jukuns say 'Army protecting herdsmen' back Gen. Danjuma, demand Commission of Inquiry on atrocities

The apex socio-cultural organisation of Jukun people, Jukun Development Association of Nigeria (JDAN) has reiterated claims that the Nigerian Army is shielding herdsmen to attack their community, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This is coming as they drums support for their elder kinsman General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), who at the weekend, called on his people to rise and defend themselves against rampaging Fulani herdsmen and their colluding military partners, reports ITRealms.

National Presidentm JDAN, Chief Bako Benjamin said in Lagos, alongside top executive of the association on Monday, that majority of Nigerians are unaware of the calamity and atrocities that has befallen Jukun people in the last four years and the nation's press does not pay enough attention to report to the world the silent ethnic cleansing and genocide ongoing in southern and central Taraba.

Also, he said rather than lampooning Danjuma for his candid view which was coming after a thorough analysis of the situation, the Nigerian military should have launched an investigation into the weighty allegation and fish out her culpable members.

JDAN, he said, demands for a Commission of Inquiry to look into several cases of atrocities, human rights violations and banditry committed by some security forces in Jukunland  against the innocent people, who are being killed by herdsmen, whose homes and farmlands are being burnt with wanton impunity and whose lives means virtually nothing to the very people who have sworn to defend them and the nation against aggression.

On developments in some parts of the country, especially Taraba State, Bako said the retired General was speaking exactly the minds of his people and out of frustration, stressing that Danjuma statements was a reflection of what presently goes on in Taraba and elsewhere around the middle belt, where several villages and town have been sacked and indigenes chased away by Fulani herdsmen who invaded their communities with the full backing of security operatives. 

"Rather than carpet our revered elderstatesman, the Jukun people have been anxiously waiting for the time when Fulani herdsmen who have killed entire villagers in our land will be arrested and paraded. We are peace loving people, but our people are being arrested in our land and been killed by those who otherwise came for pasture for their cattle," he said.

Bako lamented that parading Jukun youths on Sunday, barely 24 hours after Gen Danjuma’s criticism of their handling of their roles for taking pictures of the ongoing violence in their land, is simply exposing the ugly underbelly of the Nigerian military and heir complicit in the whole tragic saga unfolding in Taraba State, adding that where that is the case, the pople would be left with no choice than to defend themselves. 

“We are anxiously waiting for when Fulani herdsmen that have killed and wiped off entire villages in our land would be paraded. We have not travelled to anybody's land to look for trouble, but our people are been arrested in our land for snapping pictures. What Jukuns expected is for the Nigerian military and the federal government to launch an investigation into the weighty allegations that  General Danjuma raised not to be beating about the bush in denials without substance,” he said.

Bako further alleged that there are widespread reports of glaring bias and nepotism by the Nigerian military's Operation Ayem Kpatuma particularly in Takum and Ussa local government areas since they arrived.

For example, he said, there was no single presence of Fulani herdsmen in the two local government areas for over a year now since their last mass killings of the people, which saw them abandon the area and flee until the soldiers arrived on the same day with them in the name of Operation Ayem Kpatuma.

“No sooner had they arrived in the peaceful communities that burning of houses and killings resumed. As if that's not enough, the soldiers went about unleashing a campaign of terror and intimidation against Jukun people, breaking into homes and confiscating hunting dane guns, cutlasses, bows and arrows, and left the Fulani herdsmen fully armed with their weapons to continue their campaign of terror in the countryside.”

We have evidences where severally attempts by our youths who were driven out of their villages to defend their communities against the herdsmen by soldiers until the herdsmen are done.

“Jukun Development Association of Nigeria (JDAN), is eagerly waiting for a commission of inquiry into the atrocities that was committed against our people in Takum and Ussa local government areas to  clear the good name of the Nigerian Army and bring the collaborators and perpetrators to book,” Bako insisted.  

Benjamin observed that close to 50 villages in southern and central Taraba exist only in name as Fulani herdsmen has wiped out the indigenous population and are presently commandeering the villages.

He said persistent plea on the government to come to the rescue of the people have fallen on deaf ears and atrocities got worse with each passing day.

 “When operation Ayem Kpatuma was launched by the federal government, Jukun people jubilated and thought their misery has come to an end, only to discover that military operatives of the program started arriving together with thousands of Fulani herdsmen that had fled the area previously with their cattle.

“Our fear was confirmed when no sooner they arrived in the peaceful communities that burning of houses and killings resumed.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

FG calls for media self-control in Benue herdsmen attack

The Federal Government (FG) has appealed to the media and public commentators to exercise utmost restraint in their coverage of the fallouts of the what it described as recent farmers and herders clash in Benue State in order not to further inflame passion and worsen the situation, reports NaijaAgroNet.

In a press statement issued in Abuja on Saturday, and made available to NaijaAgroNet, the Minister of Informationand Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said while the Federal Government is working hard to address the situation with a view to preventing a recurrence, not just in Benue State but everywhere across the country, it is incumbent on the media and public commentators not to engage in actions that can aggravate the crisis.

''Lest we are misunderstood, we are neither saying the media should not cover the crisis nor asking public commentators to desist from commenting on it. All we are saying is that both must be circumspect.

''The current poisoned atmosphere of incendiary comments, unrestrained use of pictures and footages that offend human sensibilities as well as fingerpointing can only exacerbate the situation and complicate ongoing efforts to end the crisis,'' he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said the Federal Government is absolutely saddened by the loss of lives and the destruction of property resulting from the crisis, and recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, in commiserating with the Benue Governor, unreservedly condemned the killings and also assured of the necessary security measures to prevent further attacks and bring the perpetrators to book.

He said the Federal Government has also mapped out short and long-term solutions to the incessant clashes between farmers and herders, including a planned conference of stakeholders, and assured of the government's strong determination to find a lasting solution to the farmers/herders' clashes.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

Related stories:

Nimbo attack: Police arrests five suspected Fulani ... - NaijaAgroNet

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Herdsmen killing in Benue, invitation to civil war – Yaro

The Benue State chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Comrade Abba Yaro has described the massive killing of over 50 Benue people by the Fulani herdsmen as an invitation for civil war, reports NaijaAgroNet.

A press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet in Abuja, Yaro decried the recent killings as an attempt to spark second civil war in Nigeria, insisting that, it is clear case of ethnic cleansing around the Benue Valley which must be stopped immediately.

While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call the Fulani  to order and as well direct security agents to fetch out the killers, he also called on all Benue Sons and daughters, irrespective of Party affiliation to rise in defense of Benue Community.

"This is above Party politics, it is human lives, how can you kill a pregnant woman and removed the unborn child yet slaughtered it? It is barbaric, unspeakable and generally unpalatable".

Yaro says the Anti Open Grazing Law in Benue is not targeted at any section of the people but for the general security of Benue State, a measure against cattle rustling and a solution to herders/farmers clash.

"The implementation is ongoing and we are in support of our governor, we are not deterred, the Anti Open Grazing Law has come to stay.

"Nigerians should not see the killings as a Benue problem but National crisis, the absence of peace in Benue is an absence of peace in Nigeria.

"We must treat it as a national ethnic cleansing by the Fulanis and collectively pressurize Mr President to put an end to it. If Boko Haram can be defeated, IPOB stopped, Fulani killings can be stopped", he observed. 

He further call on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Buratai, the Interior Minister Lt Gen Danbazau, the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris to protect Benue community or "we rise in self defence, which will amount to the second civil war."

Yaro emphasized that, "if the Fulanis are not called to order by the relevant authorities to stop the ethnic cleansing, like the lawless Fulanis are doing, Benue people shall take laws into their hands in selfdefense".

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Anti-grazing bills: Lagos NUJ says FG must take a stand on Fulani herdsmen menace

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has been charged to take a stand over the menace of Fulani herdsmen across the country, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) gave this charge at its meeting held at the Combo Hall, Lagos State Television, Agindingbi, last weekend.

In a communique made available to NaijaAgroNet, NUJ while reacting on the state of the nation and the union, outlined some six-point as enunciated by the communiqué committee, made up of Ajibola Abayomi, Eniola Ajayi, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Chidinma Agu and Olalekan Olagunju, frowned at the spate of anti- grazing bill being championed by various states across the country, lamenting that FG silent over the matter is no longer golden.

“The Federal Government was challenged to come up with a stand following reactions of various states against the grazing bill in order to curtail violence between the farmers and Fulani herdsmen,” the congress charged, kicking against the plan by the Federal Government to clamp down on the social media.

On the 2018 budgetary allocation by the Federal Government, the congress presided over by its newly elected chairman, Dr. Qasim Akinreti, said the allocation of 6 per cent of the fund to the education sector as against the 26 per cent recommended by the United Nations, and as such advised the government to give higher percentage to the sector to engender development.

In addition, the congress urged a step up of professionalism among journalists via training and retraining of members into online publication, in order to raise the level of professionalism and operate within the ethics of the profession.

Further, the congress resolved:
“That it was high time the Union researched and championed new marketing models to aid media development so as to meet its financial obligations and commitments in the changing phase of the economy;

“To set up Welfare Committee to assist Journalists facing challenges and also to liaise appropriately with management of media houses on prompt payment of salaries;

“Committees set up to look into various crises on land matters were given up to January 2018 Congress to submit their reports to enable the Union take a position on the way forward.”

Uju N. Domonic/ED, Ops

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nimbo attack: Police arrests five suspected Fulani herdsmen

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) said it has arrested five suspected Fulani herdsmen implicated in the recent invasion of Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area (LGA) in Enugu State, reports NaijaAgroNet.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Olabisi Kolawole, in a public statement, said the Police is resolute on ridding Nigerian society of criminals and all forms of criminality.
According to Olabisi, the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) under the office of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) based on credible technical intelligence gathered on the attack, swooped in on the suspects and arrested the following people: Mohammed Zurai, Ciroma Musa, Sale Adamu, Suleiman Laute and Haruna Laute.
The Police said it also recovered one Gionee L88 mobile phone with a memory card containing the video recording of the massacre in the community.
Suspected members of Fulani herdsmen who attacked Nimbo community in Enugu State recently.
L-r -R: Mohammed Zurai, Ciroma Musa, Sale Adamu, Suleiman Laute and Haruna Laute. ...
courtesy: TEO
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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Commentary: Why are earth’s 4th deadliest terrorists headed South

Preoccupied with everyday living, unruffled politicking, unrestricted worship, busy days and quiet nights, Southern Nigerians have been paying little or no attention to the fact that two of Earth’s top 4 deadliest terrorist groups are at home and active in Nigeria. Popular Boko Haram have been constrained to the North East but the other are nomadic unchecked. Now, having restricted their operations to regions that separate North from South, they’ve finally announced their planned ubiquity beginning with an audacious assault on South Eastern State of Enugu on Monday 25th April.  They are the Fulani militants.

They’ve ransacked communities that lie on their grazing routes since 2010 (actually for decades), leaving thousands dead, more injured, tens of thousands displaced, with assets worth millions of naira destroyed on their exit. The ascension to power of Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, suspiciously coincides with the stepping up of their degree of deadliness.

But The Igbos Are Not United:
For centuries, the Fulanis have traversed the breadth of West Africa unimpeded, not by pre-modern hostile cultures; and not by modern day immigration. The trend of slaughtering owners of farms is however a 20th craving they developed. While they pounded Middle Belt states again and again, other Southerners wondered why the Federal Government would not as little as release a statement to condemn the attacks; and the indigenes would not stop them. But now, the militants are through with the intervening region and are at the door steps of the interior South. They are going closer to the Atlantic coast and this advancement will surely evoke a different kind of response.

South East Nigeria, occupied by the Igbo ethnic group, is the epicenter of calls for the breakup of the country. And their primary reason can be summarized as hatred from and for the Northerners consisting of the Hausa/Fulani tribes. Having endured and survived pogroms in Northern Nigeria leading to the Nigerian civil war of 1967, and several perceived follow-up acts of persecution – well documented – the Igbos were nearly unanimous in rejecting the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari in the March 2015 elections. As a result, odium between Hausa/Fulani and the Igbos is still very high.

Already, many southern Nigerians on Social media are calling for self-defense, citing the silence of the Buhari administration, his spokesperson’s admittance of “working in silence”, and the well-established inability of the nation’s security forces to contain the daring Fulani marauders – especially as Boko Haram in the extreme north and Niger Delta militant threats have stretched them thin. We must keep in mind that the generations of Igbos who suffered the perils of the Civil War are long past. The present generation of young Igbos neither listen to their elders nor possess deference for chilling history. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for Nigeria, they are not united too.

No Logistic Problem
But the Hausa/Fulani are everywhere inside Nigeria. In every state, they have their community.  In cities further south where there have been little or no inter-ethnic tensions, these communities exist. In Calabar, they call it Bogobiri. In Uyo, Nasarawa; and in Port Harcourt they call it simply Slaughter. In fact, in PH, at Slaughter, they have their own ‘agberos’, their mosques are built there, and if there’s any ethnic clash, they mobilize and protect themselves. Imagine that these brazen Fulani militants decide to advance till they can see the Ocean; these settlements will automatically serve as bases and barracks. What other logistic problem have they?

What a Global Terrorism Index publication of 2015 designates as Fulani militants was responsible, according to the report, for the death of 1229 in 2014r. Hundreds more have been added to that figure in 2015 and 2016. In Nigeria, victims and survivors alike no longer separate Fulani militants from Fulani herdsmen. They’re now one and the same. How else can one explain countless herdsmen armed with assault rifles captured on camera?

According to Secretary to the Government of Benue State – which is a frequent target region of the militants – Barrister Targema Takema, speaking on a national radio interview, natives of the State had cohabited with the nomads for ages until recently when a different set of Fulani began to arrive. The farming communities started complaining of herdsmen leading their cow herds into crop farms and destroying agricultural assets worth millions of naira. As they began to take measures to prevent further occurrence of these widely confirmed incidences, the herdsmen began to arrive closely followed by the dreaded Fulani militants.

They Will Head To The Atlantic If…
It is not unhealthy to imagine these Fulani herdsmen taking their militants all the way through Southern Nigeria, to the ocean coast in the future, for four reasons.

1.            The Sahara desert is expanding. The country is presently losing about 350,000 square meters of its land mass to desertification, which is advancing southward at an estimated rate of 0.6 kilometers a year. This is according to Fade Africa. The website also records that the activities of Fulani herdsmen is greatly responsible for desertification in the north; and they’re heading south.
“In some areas, Nomads moving to less arid areas disrupt the local ecosystem and increase the rate of erosion of the land. Ironically, Nomads try to escape the desert, but with their land use practices, ignorantly set off another process of desertification in their new settlement. They will have to move soon taking with them their land use practices, leaving a trail of desert behind, and the chain goes on.”

The desert is driving them down south. They need more land to graze in.
2.            The return to agriculture. Crash in global oil prices has driven more Nigerians back to farms. In most Southern states, governments and private sector industry heads are not only advocating a return to commercial agriculture, but are investing too. And that means, more people are going back from cities to rural areas to reclaim their farmlands for expansion from subsistent to commercial agriculture. Governments, like in Akwa Ibom and Cross River, are packaging even more robust supports for the re-emerging venture. But don’t Fulani herdsmen have destructive objectives?

3.            Fulani herdsmen are respecters of no man. Nothing is beyond their imagination. Inherently, a Fulani man is forthright, blunt and fearless – even the policies and communication style of the President of Nigeria are proofs of this – to a fault. Their fearlessness frequently transforms into thoughtlessness. This is why they can attack different regions of ‘enemy territory’, on different fronts – thousands of miles apart – simultaneously. They can breach the security of a former Presidential aspirant, surrounded by his own tribesmen, and kidnap the man, demanding for ransom. They can poison the source of drinking water of an entire community, carrying out wanton crimes against humanity without thinking twice. They can attack the convoy of an ex-military chief and former Senate president of the nation without fearing his military escorts. They have achieved all these already and there is no carnage too unthinkable for their conscience.

The Goodluck Jonathan administration, according to a House of Representatives member from Taraba state, and one time BBC correspondent in Jos, Nigeria, Rima Shawulu, did rebuild several dams to enhance irrigation and reduce desertification in the North. Yet the Fulani ignore their green grass, to head south.

4.            According to Max Gbanite, a security consultant, speaking on an AIT programme, Focus Nigeria recently, the Fulanis do not understand that in southern Nigeria, unlike in the North, “every inch of land belongs to an individual, a family or a community.” And you can’t just move into someone’s land and graze. Hence, if they keep encroaching into the south, which they will due to 1, 2 and 3, more land owners will kick against them and, without desiring to sound like a prophet of doom, more Fulani militants will attack more towns and the rest is left for the mind’s eye.

Fulani Herdsmen already have settlements close to the Atlantic shore, I’ve earlier mentioned. Southern Nigerians can expect their militant sons in the near future, unless [emphasized] the leadership of Nigeria come up with a solution for the nomadic culture.

The solution, I believe, that would come closest to preventing the prediction of more Fulani herdsmen attacks is borrowed from Gbanite. And that is a combination of creating cattle ranches across the nation and providing a reorientation to Fulanis aiming to make them embrace cultural changes; in effect, strategically abolishing ‘nomadism’ -“the way of life of a nomad” according to my dictionary. For, creating grazing routes for them will most certainly not be welcomed by those who stand to lose their property and the temptation to graze beyond the created routes will dominate the minds of the nomads.

Obudu Cattle Ranch, For Example:
Besides, the herdsmen themselves would admit that they lose hundreds of livestock subjecting them to those strenuous trips on foot. Next, the animals can hardly be made to birth up to a calf per year, wandering as they do. It also exposes the animals to all manner of diseases that end up in the stomach of human beings. Whereas in a ranch, several scientific rounds of research can be carried out to try to improve the breed of the cattle; the country can now benefit from Cattle farming in monetary terms by managing a more controlled farming system. Obudu cattle ranch was established by late Sir Michael Okpara decades ago to serve as a model for the rest of the country.

The Igbos are not as easily forgiving. They are still licking wounds of humiliation – reopened by frequent friction with their Hausa/Fulani countrymen – from the 1967 war that claimed over 1 million of them; and from several ethnic killings suffered by their brothers in northern Nigeria. The agitation for their own country has been heating up lately, with increased debates amongst them on continuing with Nigeria or not. With the Fulani herdsmen invasion of Igboland,and taking into consideration the thoughtlessness of their militants – prospecting that they will surely return; more reasons to remain with Nigeria are getting eliminated. This is yet another implication of the nagging Fulani herdsmen crusades.

If the tiers of Nigeria’s Government keep foot-dragging in containing the Fulani herdsmen, they may prepare for anarchy. Once people are forced to defend themselves; and none of the parties accepts to be the defeated foe, the situation could degenerate so dreadfully that Boko Haram would be child’s-play; Gbanite believes it can lead to a civil war. Senator Godswill Akpabio, too. And there are more who believe same.

*Uduak Umo is a Lagos/Uyo based PR consultant and Public interest researcher. Follow him on Twitter @umo2013

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