Stop the carnage or prepare for war, indigenous peoples in the north warn Fulani hersdmen
Every situation has a time lag, the end of the unabated Fulani hersdmen’s carnage on the indigenous peoples of Nigeria might be coming to an end judging by a recent threat by a coalition of 400 northern groups, which warned that they would take back their lands forcefully occupied by Fulani herdsmen.
The coalition under the aegies of Conference of Authoctonous Ethnic Nationalities Communities Development Associations (CONAECDA) on Thursday vowed to put an end to wanton killings and all forms of criminalities in the North.
It warned it would repel further attacks and killings in their region by murderous herdsmen.
The organisation is a coalition of 400 indigenous groups spread across 15 Northern states.
In a press conference in Jos, capital of Plateau state, on Thursday, the Secretary-General of the group, Suleman Sukukum, noted that the region had suffered the worst forms of criminality in the hands of herdsmen including kidnapping for ransom, trade in human flesh and parts, human trafficking, sex slavery, banditry and cattle rustling with the government doing little or nothing to put an end to it.
He said, “Millions are displaced with over 1.5 million in Benue State alone. Thousands of women are raped with over 700 women in Kebbi State alone; thousands of houses have been destroyed with over 2,500 homes in Irigwe land alone between 2nd and 12th of August.
“Our girls are being trafficked because they are internally displaced. Our ability to farm, attend school and carry out our legitimate businesses is being denied by these terrorist activities.
“Our experience indicates a weakness in the level of engagement and sincerity of public officials in dealing with these issues; the role of corruption and the failure of our security system to use information or Intel in responding on time and adequately to various early warning signals.
“We have also observed with certainty that some public figures, while embarrassed by the security and humanitarian situation, prefer to white-wash or deny the extent and impact of the crisis rather than act decisively in addressing the relevant issues.
“As stakeholders in the Nigerian society and leaders of the over 400 indigenous communities of Central and Northern Nigeria, we are key stakeholders in the Nigerian Project and must play our part in addressing these national issues.
“The CONAECDA conference had decided to immediately commence a project to secure, reconstruct and protect such communities. We, therefore, use this occasion to notify all trespassers and occupiers of our communities that we are coming after them and shall recover through every legitimate means our communities and lands.”
It will be recalled that the Emir of Muri in Taraba state, Abbas Tafida, also recently gave a month ultimatum to Fulani hersdmen in his domain to vacate the forests or see the wrath of his people citing similar atrocities being committed by the hersdmen believably bent on seizing indigenous peoples’ lands as they are not originally Nigerians.
Tafida said, ““Our Fulani herdsmen in the forests, you came into this state and we accepted you, why then will you be coming to towns and villages to kidnap residents, even up to the extent of raping our women?
“Because of this unending menace, every Fulani herdsman in this state have been given thirty days ultimatum to vacate the forests.
“We are tired of having sleepless nights and the hunger alone in the land is enormous and we will not allow it to continue.”
In the West, in the East, people are now rising up to fight the menace of the herders, perhaps their cup is becoming full.