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Thursday, May 05, 2016

HERDSMEN ATTACK: THE LAYMAN’S RESPONSE & THE HELMSMAN DECISION

Photo credit: The Citizen NG
Just this week, 13 people were killed in a fire accident and about 5 vehicles burnt at the Mowe, one of the neighbouring villages to Lagos, on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The fire accident was a result of a truck who attempted not to crash into a herd of cattle crossing the ever busy express road. Hours later when the evacuation has been done, a car caused a spark that ignited the fire which consumed lives and many cars. This is one of the endless wastage associated with the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle.

The herdsmen typically Fulani are emotionally attached to their cattle. They nurture these cattle with all that is within their care. They cover hundreds of miles with their cattle leading them to graze from one part of the country to another. Despite these complaints of the destruction of many farms, the menace of the herdsmen and their cattle became a reoccurring decimal in Nigeria.However, many families consume beef in large quantity daily which remains a major source of protein in our country.

As reported by Naij.com, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has defended herdsmen over the alleged attack on farmers across the country, saying they did so in self-defence. The leader of the group, Senator Dagiri Alkali said herdsmen moved into new territories across the country because members of the Boko Haram sect attacked them in the North-East and other parts of the country and stole millions of cows from them.

Nigerians have reacted to these happenings and some people advocated for grazing reserves within the country. This has been opposed by the National Assembly. According to Pulse NG, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said this after a meeting of the South East governors and stakeholders said there is no request on the creation of grazing reserves either in the Senate or House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, people took the laws into their hands. There was a reprisal attack by suspected gunmen that 20 people and 83 cows in Nasarawa State. The gunmen assumed to have crossed over from Benue State. Nasarawa and Benue governments have to step into the incessant clashes between the Fulani and the Agatu.

In order to forestall other further killings and unwanton waste of lives, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in Cross River State led by Rev Lawrence Ekwok and Secretary, Apostle Frank Umo, issued a communique also strongly condemned the attack and killing of people in the middle belt and southern parts of Nigeria by the Fulani herdsmen. The group called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to as a matter of urgent national interest, arrest and prosecute all gun-carrying Fulani herdsmen.

After the outcry by Nigerians on the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari to these killings, he ordered the Chief of Defence Staff and Inspector General of Police to crack down on rampaging herdsmen, who have been attacking many villages and killing hundreds of people across the country. President Buhari President Buhari’s order came on the heels of the latest attack on Ukpabi Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.

In a swift response to the orders of the President, the Chief of Defence Staff, (CDS) General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, told Fulani leaders that following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive, the military and other security agencies would fish out perpetrators and punish them accordingly.

The CDS, represented by Defence Headquarters’ Director of Administration, Maj- Gen. Fatai Alli, told leaders of Meyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association at a meeting in Abuja, that the military will not tolerate any form of violence from any group that takes up arms against another.

Every party on the various divides have spoken but political analysts are scared of it been another form of insurgence in the country since Boko Haram is currently coming to an end. There is a need to build a habitable environment for the citizenry. The development of the country cannot continue to be stalled by violence. We must all settle down for development 12 months after President Muhammadu Buhari became the President of Nigeria.


References: The Punch, Vanguard, The Daily Post
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