Fulani socio-cultural association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has denied allegation by Governor Ortom that Fulani militia attacked his convoy.
It condemned the attack, insisting that its members were never engaged in such offensive acts even when they had been provoked through several state policies including the enactment of the law against open grazing in the state.
President of the Association, Bello Bodejo, told security agencies to carry out thorough investigation and prosecute those involved in the attack.
Bodejo disclosed that Fulani people were no longer in Benue State insisting that the law against open grazing forced majority of them out.
“Our people massively moved out of Benue to other locations because of persistent persecution as well as physical and verbal attacks on them. Any Fulani person in Benue today is either passing by or went to supply cattle to the state.
“We have pleaded with the governor repeatedly to reverse the anti-open grazing law but he refused.
We believe that such step will bring lasting peace and harmony in the state. It will enable our people to freely do their business without fear of attack as being experienced now.
“Unfortunately, the governor has refused to reverse the law after several appeals from different quarters. On our own, we decided to approach the court and we are expecting favourable pronouncement on the matter.”
Bodejo, however, registered his displeasure with the level of hatred the governor has for Fulani people.
“The governor has openly displayed his hatred for Fulani people on several occasions but that will not stop us from seeking ways to build peace and public confidence, and strengthen the fragile unity and tolerance among the people.”
He charged the governor to be considerate in his administration as he was not governor for only Tiv people who are majority tribe in the state but for all tribes resident in the state and contributing to its socio-economic development.
Bodejo, thus, asked Nigerians to disregard the claim by the governor that his people have formed militia with a view to unleashing terror on people of the state.
Worried by the profiling of Fulani herders as kidnappers and killers, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), has urged the Federal Government to fish out those giving the region a bad, maintaining that not all of indulge in such acts.
Its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement, yesterday, cautioned religious and political leaders against taking advantage of the situation to inflame passion capable of plunging the country into civil unrest.
Baba-Ahmed, however, expressed reservations over an attempt by some leaders in the South-East and South-West to eject Fulani herders in their regions, adding that the act was a breach of their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
He said: “Northern Elders Forum is constrained to invite the nation’s attention to the dangers of sustained attempts to raise tensions and create fears among Nigerians until, presumably, they lead to major crisis involving groups and regions in the country.
“In the last few weeks, the Forum has led many responsible groups and individuals to appeal for restraint and respect for the law in the way we engineer developments that cause tensions, or react to them.
“Now the nation is facing imminent threats from persons who are bent on pushing all of us nearer to disaster, to help them achieve their nefarious goals.
“The Forum particularly notes that continuing narratives and threats, including comments from seemingly responsible Nigerians and even elected officials who swore to protect the rights of all citizens and the survival of the country, are raising fears and passions that could make it easy to break more laws of the land and pitch citizens against each other.
“There are efforts to create multiple sources of falsehood in videos and other inflammatory materials in the media clearly targeted at inciting people to act violently against each other.
“Allegations of planned or actual genocide are being made with reckless abandon, and even the international community is being lobbied in futile efforts to sell the fiction that some groups are intent on mass extermination of other groups.
“The latest communication by the Yoruba Council of Elders to the United Nations is an example of lamentable desperation of some groups to erode our security and integrity as a country, and it is more regrettable that it is the handiwork of so-called elders who should forfeit all rights to that honour.
“Northern Elders Forum commits to continue to work to retrieve the country from the dangerous cliff where it has been placed by irresponsible people, many of them in positions of responsibility.
“We have plans to meet with governors in the North and South to improve responsible collaboration and synergy, and we intend to visit communities where we have influence to lower tensions and provide assurances and comfort.
“We repeat our demands that Fulani who have broken no laws must be protected from abuse wherever they are.
“We ask all governments to identify criminals among the Fulani and subject them to the laws of the land.
“Similarly, we demand the cessation of threats and attacks by local ethnic defenders on Fulani communities. People who have broken the law by attacking and harassing Fulani for just being Fulani must be brought to book.
“We encourage all law-abiding herders to stay put and seek protection, and if they cannot be protected, to relocate to safer areas in the country.
“We urge northern governors to prepare to receive law-abiding Fulani herders who may be compelled to re-locate. We urge all northerners to assure Nigerians from other parts of the country that they are safe and welcome to continue to stay in the north.
“The Forum repeats: it is not a crime to be member of any ethnic group, and no one has the right to attempt to expel any Nigerian from places where they live lawfully.
“The Forum advises President Muhammadu Buhari and Governors to consult and explore measures that will lower tensions and assure all Nigerians that we live in a country where laws have meanings, and all citizens have equal rights to live under secure environments.
“The fight against armed criminals must be pursued on all fronts and with a lot more seriousness.”
Going by thecurrent skirmishes between farmers and herdsmen across the country, especially in the North central and South west parts of the country, experts say the country stands the risk of plunging into a major food crisis as well as huge financial losses.
In a recent report by Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organisation funded by the British Department for International Development (DFID), the country loses at least $14 billion in potential revenues annually, no thanks to the ongoing herdsmen-farmers’ conflict. Based on the above revelation, the country would have lost nothing less than $84 billion between 2015 and 2020 to the conflict. According to the report, an outcome of a research carried out on the causes and effects of the perennial clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, death toll of rural dwellers resulting from the clashes is in thousands. In 2020 alone, more than 1,100 people in rural areas lost their lives to these attacks. A 2015 study on the conflict revealed that Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau states, among the worst hit in the country, lost 47 per cent of their internally generated revenues. In March 2017, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, stated that attacks by herders had cost his state N95 billion, about $634 million, between 2012 and 2014. Counting their losses, the ethnic Nzor-Tiv Global Association estimated its Agatu communities in Benue State lost N65 billion in property ($204 million) during the early 2016 herder attacks. According to the association, “the loss of large cattle herds, crops (due to population displacements and damage to irrigation facilities), as well as increases in transport and labour costs in post-conflict environments all increase poverty and food insecurity in affected communities – and beyond.” Farmers of other ethnic groups have not been exempted from Fulani herders attacks as evident in the regular attacks on Ebonyi and Enugu farmers, and the current crisis going on in Ondo and Oyo states, which degenerated into the South West governors’ quit notice to the herders. Owing to these clashes, growth in the agricultural sector has been inconsistent and constantly nosediving since the third quarter of 2016 over worsening insecurity issues. Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that growth in the agricultural sector slowed from 1.58 per cent in the third quarter of 2019 to 1.39 per cent. According to NBS, average price of 1kg of tomato increased year-on-year by 17.51 per cent in December 2020; average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality rice) increased year-on-year by 19.80 per cent in December while the average price of 1kg of yam tuber increased year-on-year by 12.89 per cent in December 2020, among others. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) had in 2020 listed Nigeria among 27 countries that are on the frontline of an impending food crisis in 2021. With farmers fleeing the tense states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, and thousands of agribusinesses being destroyed following destructions of their factories, food crisis seems imminent. Expressing concern over the dire situation of farmers, agriculture, agribusiness and food availability owing to the farmers-herders conflict, the National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Ibrahim Kabiru, said, “there is evidence that there will be a food crisis this year. Food prices are already skyrocketing and they will further surge but we must address the issue of insecurity and banditry to avert this impending food crisis in 2021.” He submitted that, “whatever insecurity you have in the system is a threat to food security or food sufficiency because if the farmers cannot go to their farms to produce food regularly, there will be shortage and the shortage is what causes the skyrocketing of prices of food items. And you can never then get food sufficiency or food security.” To cushion the resultant food shortage, the country resorts to food importation. The FAO has said several adverse situations, including the widespread farmers-herders’ conflict, have adversely “impacted food production in 2020 and led to a surge in imports. Nigeria’s agricultural imports for Q3 2020 increased in value by 21.13 per cent compared to Q2 2020 and 109.82 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2019.” The farmers-herders’ conflict has equally assumed a troubling dimension where the farmers are compelled to pay huge sums of money to the herders as settlement before they can be allowed to harvest their crops in peace, failing which they are attacked and killed, their produce carted away and their farms destroyed. Decrying this anomaly, the AFAN National President, Kabiru, said, “farmers should be able to carry out their farming activities without any form of fear and harvest without having to pay bandits. These are crucial in preventing a food crisis.” He said the crisis is not the herders’ fault but can be attributed to institutional failure, saying, “because some people take the law into their hands, and attack the herders, they have learnt to protect themselves by going around with AK-47 and other weapons to protect themselves. And it’s not the herders fault, it’s our own fault. It’s institutional failure that is bringing all these things. The police should not allow anybody to carry gun illegally. Anytime they see that kind of thing, they should arrest and punish the person in order to deter others. It’s a very sad development because in Nigeria, institutions and law enforcement are not working properly, so people have learnt to protect themselves.” Lending his voice to the farmers-herders’ conflict and the pain it is inflicting on the country, the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, during a recent interview on Channels TV, declared that it has caused the nation untold pain and losses, decrying the “lackadaisical attitude” of the country’s leadership in handling the matter. Soyinka stated that, “there are ways in which people deal and have dealt for decades, for centuries, with cattle. I travel everywhere; there’s nothing so mysterious about cattle rearing. There are solutions which are very simple. People have talked about ranching, but the ranching have got to be done in places which are environmentally congenial to that particular kind of trade and at the same time, do not afflict humanity. What’s the point trying to provide food and the food chokes us? Which is what cattle and cattle rearers have been doing. “When cattle go to Ijebu-Ode and eat up Shodipe’s trees’ seedlings, and this is somebody working towards guaranteeing the environment by planting trees to replace the trees he uses as timber for his furniture-making business. Then these cattle come and eat up everything and you expect people to sit down and be quiet?” He lamented the attitude of the country’s leadership, saying, “Buhari took such a long time; and for me he deserved, to have lost the last election if only on account of the lackadaisical attitude he took to the issue of cattle rearers. People have been killed in hundreds, till today, and it’s only because of the failure of leadership at the critical time. “The cattle rearers have been given a sense of impunity; they kill without any compunction, they drive away farmers who are contributing to the food solution of the country, burn their farms, and eat their crops. I think there’s going to be trouble in this county if this cattle rearing issue is not handled imaginatively and with humanity as the priority. There cannot be any kind of society where cattle take priority over human beings.” An agribusiness stakeholder and Coordinator, Agribusiness & Youth Empowerment of Community of Agricultural Stakeholders of Nigeria (CASON), Mr. Sotonye Anga, is a victim of the rampaging activities of the Fulani herders. In a chat with Daily Sun, he narrates his experience, which set him back in his agribusiness venture to the tune of over N20 million. According to him, “every farm comes at a cost to the farmer. Once that farm is destroyed, it affects the personal economy of the farmer. If we allow this destruction of farms to continue, it means that the farmer will become impoverished. It will serve as a disincentive for farming when people begin to become discouraged about going into farming. They leave farming business and look for other things to do. “The destruction of farms will lead to unemployment, increase in poverty rate and also lead to rural-urban migration because villages are no longer safe as a result of sudden attacks from herders. It is going to result in multiplicity of negative impacts on our food security.” He lamented: “My farm too was affected. Sometimes, they can set fire and from one little bush they are trying to burn to get new grass to regrow, the fire will move from that spot and get into people’s farms. I have been affected. One of my farms has been burnt under this circumstance. My farm that was damaged cost me about N20 million. We had to report the case to the police but we got frustrated and just left and forgot about it. But it was a burden on me. We lost N20 million to that fire.” The impacts of the farmers-herders’ conflict on the nation’s economy, farmers and their households, agribusiness and agriculture in general, cannot be overemphasised but all stakeholders are in agreement that there is urgent need to bring an end to the problem and chart a way forward for everyone involved. In this regard, Chairman of Highhill Holdings and Founder, GoGreen Africa Initiative, Adeniyi Sola Bunmi, advised that, “government needs to go back to the basis and create the sense of security that will really allow everybody to go back to the farm and farm with peace of mind. Now we don’t produce anything because of insecurity; we keep importing and that is a problem.” For the CASON Coordinator, Anga, there is need for dialogue between all the parties involved to fashion out a solution that will be suitable for every stakeholder. He said, “we need to talk; the Fulani herdsmen, the farmers and the government. It also requires a kind of law. People should not be taking laws into their hands. The herders should respect food producers, farmers and people’s farms. The herders need to understand that wherever they are passing through, they need to respect the properties of people. As a matter of fact, any herdsman caught with rifles (should be apprehended). “The government needs to act. Actions are required now. We need to sit down and factor a solution that will be workable. The solution that would work for the herdsmen, farmers and everybody and implement it to the letter.” A step in this direction has been taken by the Federal Government, according to AFAN National President, Kabiru, who explained that government has just approved the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), a programme targeted at settling the herders in clusters. The programme, which he said will start in Nassarawa and a few other states, will provide water, food and other amenities to the beneficiaries. He added that, “this is a very good way forward if it is implemented properly.”
The Eastern Security Network which is a security network in the Former Eastern Region of Nigeria with the mandate to protect the land against killer herdsmen.
Over the years Fulani Herdsmen has killed local indigenous People of the former Eastern Region, raping women and slitting farmers throats in their farmland. All these inhumane acts led to the formation of Eastern Security network by Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
Isiukwuato which is a Local Government Area in Abia State seems to becoming free from Fulani hostages as Eastern Security Network begin taking over their indigenous land.
Nnamdi Kanu sharing the Video of the development said: “Video of Men at work last night across all the towns and villages of the old Bende Division especially Isiukwuato.”
“#ESN has commneced the combing of parts of Isiukwuato forests last night and engagement with the enemy is ongoing and will continue until they no longer present a threat to our communities along that axis.”
“Our intel so far has revealed that those terrorising Isiukwuato are rogue elements in the Nigerian Army & Police who pass on their victims to Fulani Killer Herdsmen. #ESN shall find and neutralise these murderers and kidnappers in the coming days, be rest assured.’
Nnamdi Kanu had also queried the land freely given to Fulani herdsmen in Abia State, He said: “Senator Orji Uzor Kalu the former Abia State governor a few years ago gave out a sizeable chunk of Igboland at Lopka for FREE to those we now know to be Fulani killer herdmen.”
“We are not in any way questioning the validity of this singular treacherous transaction but what we are demanding from the Senator is to please kindly tell us where the boundaries of this illegal settlement are.’
“It would be in the interest of peaceful coexistence of all parties concerned were he Senator Orji Uzor Kalu to, as a matter of urgency, publish the original survey plan of the size and dimension of the acreage he gave to his Fulani friends because the settlement continues to expand at an alarming rate to the detriment of surrounding villages.’
“Families have lost and continue to lose their ancestral lands to the occupants of this Fulani colony in Igboland. All enquiries directed at the Abia State Ministry of Lands has gone unanswered.”
“Also it would be helpful if Senator Orji Uzor Kalu can confirm for the world that such land for free scheme also exist in Sokoto State for the benefit of Easterners.”
Former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido has traced the growing hatred and dislike of Fulani in Nigeria today to the frustration of Nigerians in the hands of the administration of President Mohammad Buhari. Lamido, a fellow Fulani like President Buhari, regretted that Nigerians perceives the Fulani race from the perceptive and horizon of the failure of the present administration, with the result that they respond negatively to everything associated with the tribe. Speaking to journalists in his office in Kano,yesterday, Lamido described this transfer of rash aggression as unfair to the tribe, which he observed are largely peace- loving and friendly to others. “ I expect Bola Tinubu, Rotimi Ameachi, and the likes of Ngigi to come out and frankly speak in protection of the Fulani because they are behind the election of Buhari. But their criminal silence in the face of this horrible attacks on Fulani after benefiting jointly in the government led by a Fulani figure head is worrisome and a betrayal of trust to the President and his kinsmen” Lamido, who lamented the present inter- ethnic crisis in the South –West between Yoruba and Fulani argued that insecurity is prevalent in the whole of Nigeria. “Go to Zamfara, go to Gombe, go to Yobe, go Maiduguri. Are Northerners safe in their own region? Whether you are in the East, in the North, and in the West, it is the entity called Nigeria which is insecure” he stated. The People Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain implored the numerous nationalities and tribes in Nigeria to restore trust and belief in one another and peace would descend on country immediately.
Press release by the Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) –
#ENDSARs: We condemn attempts by Southerners, Middle Belt to break the country
The Fulani Nationality Movement, (FUNAM) takes full responsibility for the attack by fire meted out to protesters in Abuja today
By tomorrow, the operation will continue. We hereby order all our cells across the country to mobilise for a battle we have all waited for since the past years
The #ENDSARs protest is a smokescreen to toppled the government of the day so as to imposed a government representing the interests of the South and Middle Belt.
We warn that these orchestrated campaigns are designed and conceived by Southern politicians to scuttle a democratically elected government
FUNAM takes full responsibility for the attack on the vehicles in Abuja We shall continue with a nationwide assault in the most vicious manner against the protesters whose devilish game is to destabilise the country and force restructuring on the country against the wish of the majority of the people.
The few months ahead will be terrific.We shall spare no soul, men women and even the children of the infidel.
Why President Mohammadu Buhari has not met the expectations of millions of Nigerians including millions of Fulani people, there is no justification to violently overthrow this government.
We shall meet them violence for violence and wit for wit.
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