How could we be having this senseless barbarism almost on daily basis at different parts of the country and the government seems not to recognize the magnitude of the threat posed by these invaders we keep labeling” Fulani herdsmen?” As already established, these armed terrorists don’t usually herd cattle to graze each time they go on almost all the rampages, so is it still cattle herding -related or something else? Is it not clear to our leaders that what we are witnessing across the country goes beyond farmers/herdsmen clashes for grazing rights?
Many communities in the North Central, South East, South West (Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti); South South and even minorities in the North East like Taraba have recently faced severe attacks perpetrated by the so called Fulani herdsmen. This herdsmen impunity did not start today though there seems to be a heightened audacity in the last one year and the impression already created by the government is that it has been playing for time for a solution that will allow the implementation of a Grazing Reserves Commission while innocent Nigerians are getting killed in their hundreds.
Walahi, most Nigerians must be terribly disappointed at the displayed incompetence of the DSS under its new leadership. There is no how a band of bandits moving in groups and with sophisticated weapons cannot be sited and curtailed before they carry out their dastardly act if the DSS is actually living up to its responsibility except we should assume they are part of the conspiracy against ordinary Nigerians in some sections of the country.
How do you explain that there was intelligence report about 48 hours ahead that about 500 armed “Fulani” herdsmen were preparing to attack Ukpabi, Nimbo communities in Enugu state and the Inspector General of Police did nothing, the Enugu state Commissioner of Police did nothing, the Army did nothing, the DSS did nothing and the people were ultimately slaughtered mercilessly? Haba! Can anybody explain why a dangerous attack that was leaked 48 hours before it happened was still allowed to occur? How did they (the armed attackers) come from Nassarawa or where to Enugu with their sophisticated weapons without being detected or somebody turned a blind eye on them?
Is it not conspicuously bad and offensive to the entire concept of national security that foreign and/or indigenous herdsmen, armed with sophisticated assault rifles and even sub-machine guns are freely roaming all over Nigeria massacring rural communities, while we have our national defense forces and immigration officials sitting helpless and always taken unawares or pretend to be taken unawares? Does that make sense to any right thinking Nigerian?
Truth be told, there is no denying the fact that there exist in this country today murderous groups that are well- trained, well-armed, well-financed to carry out mayhem across the country. They are camped in various parts of this country, from where they take -off to perpetrate their heinous acts. This erroneous tag of “Fulani herdsmen” is convenient for their sponsors. The authorities and security agencies are telling lies by feigning ignorance of this fact and this is fast generating serious suspicions that people in government are deliberately overlooking salient facts of this threat to our national security simply because it serves their personal interests/agenda.
The clear danger is that while the Federal Government has stressed and emphasis law enforcement, there are growing indications that the bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen may worsen nationwide. The situation on ground across the affected zones point to a likely flare up of further violence as in many parts of North Central and southern states, the level of hatred for the cattle herders has reached a boiling point and the government’s lackadaisical attitude should be blamed for this.
It has been said severally that the claim that most of these attackers are not Nigerian herdsmen is deceitful, diversionary and half-truth. We have a combination of both. The idea of massacring unsuspecting Nigerian communities and innocent citizens certainly has a domestic origin, if not why do they always claim their violence were tied to conflicts over grazing rights in people’s farms? If the attacks are done by foreigners, why are we moving towards using federal government’s resources to carve grazing reserves for non-nationals?
What we are witnessing is destructive invasion of farm lands by the Fulani herdsmen on the one hand, and the military style invasion of towns and villages by a well-organised and well- armed group working alongside the herdsmen, in which they murder, rape and terrorise whole communities. And the truth is that without the ability to see this clearly as it is, those who parade as our leaders cannot help any community in this spreading mayhem.
These marauders are far more interested in attacking communities, displacing people, instilling fear and subsequently occupying their villages. As reported, 12 out of 19 communities in Agatu, Benue state are now under so called Fulani Herdsmen occupation. Is this not worrying? So people should stop rushing into labeling them as cattle herders as they never came with cattle, cows, or goats. They come only with weapons to attack unsuspecting and innocent Nigerian communities raping and massacring women, children and even unarmed men.
Their recent spike in Kidnapping for ransom has nothing to do with cattle rearing or grazing rights, rather it typifies an alternative sourcing of funds for a gradual migration and occupation down south. This is the truth! Herdsmen have recently kidnapped various monarchs, Priests, political leaders, and scores of individuals for a price. The question we should ask ourselves is “what are they raising money for?”
If our government is convinced these people killing Nigerians across the country are really our Fulani herdsmen, the question then is: Who are the owners of the cattle that send these killer squads into various communities to cause mayhem? They should be held responsible for crimes committed by their hired herdsmen. I talk as a terribly worried and concerned Nigerian. God bless Nigeria!
Ifeanyi Izeze lives in Abuja and can be reached on: [email protected]; 234-8033043009