The very low-key response and reactions, over time, by Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari over the mindless killings of innocent men, women and children by Fulani Herdsmen in some States of the country, especially, Benue State, may give the signal that his government is playing host to, yet, another emerging terrorist group, and tolerating the on-going massacre in parts of the country.
Overlooking the deadly activities of Fulani herdsmen, named as one of the deadliest terror groups in the world amongst Boko Haram, Isis, Taliban and al-Shabaab, as they unleash terror on human lives, the past few years in the country, is a disturbing signal. If not quickly fixed, another national insecurity bubble may burst and uncontrollably spread across the country. Different versions of what the deadly actions of the Fulani herdsmen represent are already been canvassed.
After the daring attack by Fulani herdsmen on the camp of Mobile Policemen, Mopol-13, in Benue State, Monday, and killed two officers, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, said: “What is happening in Benue and other middle-belt States is more than a strive between herdsmen and local farmers, it has gotten to the level of terrorism and ethnic cleansing. FG must act now.”
Fayose’s statement signed by Lere Olayinka, Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media further said: “Just now, we heard news of the herdsmen attacking the camp of Mobile policemen, Mopol 13 in Benue, killing two officers by slitting their throats. Do you call people who could invade the camp of mobile policemen in a guerilla manner and overpower armed Mopol mere Fulani herdsmen?”
Global Terrorism Index 2015, stated that over 90 percent of attacks carried out by Fulani herdsmen are on private citizens, which accounted for 81 percent of deaths in the affected areas. The attacks were mainly by armed assaults, and killing an average of 11 people per attack. These figures have significantly escalated between 2015 and 2017. Yet, the group is treated with kids glob by Nigerian government.
Fayose said: “A group declared as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world as far back as 2015 cannot be handled with levity by the federal government as being done presently and the earlier President Buhari is made to realize that his main duty is protect the lives of all Nigerians, the better”.
Fayose added: “Most importantly, the silence of the people does not amount to their inability to defend themselves. And it should be known to the powers that be that everybody in Nigeria has rights to life. Taking lives cheaply and brazenly as being done by the herdsmen is the height of evil which no responsible government should allow. The federal government must have to take decisive steps to end this pogrom and stop playing to the gallery”.
After recent gruelsome killings of innocent people by Faluni herdsmen in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas in Benue State, followed by vast public outcry and protests by groups comprising women and youths in Benue State, President Buhari bowed to pressure, and Monday night, January 8, ordered Nigerian Inspector-General of Police, Ibarahim Idris to relocate to Benue State to restore law and order, according Police statement.
Police Public Relations Office, Jimoh Moshood, in the statement said: “In compliance with the Presidential directives, the IGP is moving into Benue state with additional Five (5) Units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) making a total of Ten (10) Units of PMF deployed in the State which is in addition to other Police formations on the ground in the State before the crisis”.
Moshood said: “More Units of the Police Special Forces, Counter Terrorism Units, and Conventional Policemen are already being deployed to the State as at this time today to comply in totality with the Presidential order The Force will not hesitate to deal decisively with trouble maker(s), any group(s) or individual for conduct likely to instigate the escalation of the crisis. The full weight of the law will be applied on anyone arrested for being responsible for the mayhem in the affected areas in the State”.
He added: “While once again, the Nigeria Police Force commiserate with Government and the people of Benue State over the loss of innocent lives, the Force implored them to cooperate with the Nigeria Police Force in this latest effort to restore lasting peace in the state”.
After meeting with President Buhari, Tuesday, Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, said he revealed to the president the location of the attackers of his people that have killed dozens over the last one week. He accused the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a group of Fulani cattle breeders in the country for the sequence of killing in the State.
Ortom’s words: “I had to brief him; he is also doing further investigation to know the next line of action. I believe that my request that the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, who had earlier threatened and I accused them directly, since June last year, I have been writing to the leadership of security agencies, that these people are a threat to our collective interest and they must be dealt with”.
He said: “They must be arrested and prosecuted because we cannot allow impunity to continue to thrive. And of course threat and no action has resulted in this killing and I think that Mr. President will also do the needful to ensure something is done.”
Ortom said the identities and locations of the attackers are well known. “We know where they are. As I talk to you they are in Tongua in Awe local government; that is where these people are camped and coming to attack people.”
Governor Ortom added: “And since we started the implementation of the state’s anti-open grazing law, there has been relative peace amongst farmers and herdsmen; they were doing well until this militia coming from this Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore came and attacked us”.
Ibrahim Idris, Nigerian Inspector-General of Police, Wednesday, arrived in Makurdi, Benue State capital, on presidential order, to take on the Fulani herdsmen on the recurring killings of innocent people in Benue State. Could this deployment of high level men, materials and resources, be the beginning of quelling Fulani herdsmen genocidal activities? It needs to be seen. The human carnage caused by Fulani herdsmen must stop.