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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Presidency unwilling to curb attacks by Fulani herders – Rights group

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Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Wednesday, knocked the Presidency over its unwillingness to curb the atrocities of vicious Fulani herders attacking indigenous farmers in the southern region of Nigeria.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, noted that the impression being created by the Presidency that there are farmers-herders clashes in the country was false as Fulani herdsmen are the ones attacking aboriginal dwellers and farmers in the North Central, South-West, South-East and the South-South.

The group also accused the Nigeria Police Force of working alongside the Presidency to sweep the case of notorious Fulani herder, Iskilu Wakilu, under the carpet.

Recall that Wakilu was arrested in March 2021 by men of the Oodua People Congress for allegedly terrorising, killing, kidnapping, raping and displacing innocent farmers in the Ibarapa and the Oke Ogun area of Oyo State. The Septuagenarian was arraigned at the Iyaganku Chief Magistrate Court in Oyo for conspiracy, murder, kidnapping and armed robbery and remanded at the Abolongo Correctional facility but over 13 months later, the case has been forgotten. HURIWA said most of the killer herdsmen arrested, detained on awaiting trial basis were allowed to break out of these prisons all across Nigeria through conspiratorial plots by some suspected top placed government officials and till date those who escaped are never re-arrested by choice.

HURIWA also recall the carnivorous killing of a returnee businessman and farmer in Oyo State, Fatai Aborode, by killer herdsmen who slaughtered him on his farmland for daring to stop them from grazing on his legally acquired acres of farmland.

The group said the outrageous attacks by herdsmen had contributed to the emergence of Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho but the Presidency through Garba Shehu, labelled him a “militant ethnic secessionist” and persecuted him for defending his people against herdsmen attacks.

The Presidency, in January 2021, also defended killer herdsmen and attacked Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, over his directive that herdsmen leave the state government forest reserves.

The killing of farmers and aboriginal villagers is not just limited to the South-West but stretch to the South-East and even the North Central with Benue State being one of the most hit in the last four years. Just days ago, herdsmen killed over 20 and injured many including farmers in the Kwande and Gwer West Local Government Areas of Benue. This incident is just one of the numerous onslaughts by herdsmen in Benue State who attempted to assassinate Governor Samuel Ortom for his outspokenness against their atrocious acts. The Presidency also won’t stop attacking Ortom for his defence of his people.

Suspected herdsmen also recently invaded the Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau State, killing over 80 people and abducting over 70. The attacks are scattered and near unending but the Presidency has shown no commitment to tackling the matter.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The protection of Fulani killer herdsmen by the Presidency is obvious and undeniable because the Commander-In-Chief is a Fulani man himself.

“It is cringeworthy that whilst these ferocious killer herders maul Southerners to death on their farmlands in the South, the Presidency keeps defending their atrocities claiming they can reside anywhere in the country including trespassing over others’ legitimate properties. When some Igbo youths came under the aegis of Eastern Security Network to check the killings of their parents and the wanton sexual violence against their sisters and mothers and wives, the FULANISED PRESIDENCY labelled them terrorists when infact the real terrorists licenced apparently by government of the day are the killer herdsmen who are treated as sacred cows.

“Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Andrew Kwasari, recently said Nigeria loses about $14 billion annually to the incessant conflicts between farmers and herders. This is too huge to be lost to incessant but avoidable attacks by killer herdsmen.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has also staunchly kicked against ban on open grazing by the 17 Southern governors whilst insisting that he wants Nigeria to return to the era of grazing routes! Such backwardness is ridiculous!

“Buhari must quit his ethnic pose and pronounce his kinsmen as the criminals that they are. Security agencies must also stop shielding criminals under the guise of tribal sentiments and stop trying to please those ‘Ogas at the top’ in Aso Villa. The killings are abominable and should stop forthwith. Importantly, President Muhammadu Buhari should prevent an imminent war by arresting all killers and terrorists and allow the law to take its full course irrespective of who these terrorists are be they Northerners or Southerners”.


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