A few months after the rise of a new security challenge in Nigeria perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen, President Muhammadu Buhari has finally ordered heads of security agencies to take all necessary actions to apprehend lawless herdsmen, according to his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“We are determined to secure all Nigerians and I have told the Inspector General (of police and other security agencies), in very strong terms, to deal decisively with the attackers”.
For some time now, tension has heightened in the southeastern part of Nigeria between the Fulani herdsmen and helpless, innocent farmers. It has also been reported that these herdsmen have been to places like Nimbo and Agwu, killing innocents while sleeping, setting their houses on fire and destroying farmland, while the victims they are attacking have no means to defend themselves. Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, explained why herdsmen and their cattle flood these regions, thereby resulting in conflicts with farmers. The minister demonstrated that land in the Aguta-Enugu path produces very nutritious grasses, making the area suitable for grazing. The factors that favour grazers and cows have led Fulani herdsmen to attack villages in Agatu and Enugu, killing villagers and razing their homes over the past three weeks. Reports show that up to 500 lives were lost in Aguta in the night raids perpetrated by AK47-wielding herdsmen.
These incessant, unwarranted killings and wanton destruction of property perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen in this part of the country have left many traumatized and dehumanized. This has also paved the way for many a jihadist attempt to forcefully Islamicize and subjugate the people in these states. It should also be noted that the attacks have been occurring since 2013, and the Fulani front has since been advancing with regular attacks year in year out. This has made many people think that all herdsmen are Fulani, and that this group of people should therefore be driven from all communities in eastern Nigeria. However, during the Northern Senators Forum Senator Abdullahi Adamu responded by saying,
“We note and appreciate the steps that the federal government has taken so far to contain the problems of herdsmen-farmers clashes and call on community leaders to be very careful when making statements on these ugly incidences.”
On the 5th of May, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bern Angwe, condemned the attacks and announced proactive measures to curb this ugly situation. He also urged the federal government to take proactive measures that will enhance more security in this zone, adding that the nation could not afford to grapple with the problem of hunger, as economic challenges are still a hard nut to crack.
Recently, Nigerian police removed the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Mr Nwodibo Ekechukwu, over the deadly attack on Ukpabi Nimbo by suspected Fulani herdsmen. The Registered Trustees of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project have called on the Economic Community of West African States court in Abuja to hold the Federal Government accountable for the continuous attacks by herdsmen. However, due to this growing menace, many people think that ranching will be a viable solution to the incessant crisis. This will be quite a challenge for President Buhari in his mission of promoting peace and stability in his country.
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