In what seems to be a nationwide slaughter mission, cattle rearers from the northern part of Nigeria have taken up the ugly crimes of looting and killing residents of the places they migrate to. It is not exactly clear what the idea behind this recent violence from Fulani herdsmen is all about.
Last week it was reported that a group suspected to be Fulani herdsmen recklessly stole from the locals of a community in Ibadan. Just yesterday, over 40 people were reported dead in Ukpabi, Nimbo, in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, Enugu State, the eastern region of Nigeria.
It is reported that the attack took place in the early hours of Monday morning. Over 100 armed Fulani herdsmen arrived in 2 buses and invaded the community. About 40 people have been reported dead from the attack. Others fled their homes; running to neighboring towns and communities to save their lives.
The number of casualties is still not certain. Several houses, vehicles, a church, domestic animals and farmlands were destroyed as well. A victim was reportedly burnt in a commuter bus. Witnesses say they were armed with sophisticated guns and machetes.
A while ago a xenophobic attack was unleashed on immigrants in Zambia because they are suspected to be ritual killers. In Nigeria is the reverse of the scenario. These Fulani Herdsmen without any form of fear or caution kill and loot fellow Nigerian citizens. It is unheard of that migrants for no worthy cause would displace the indigenous inhabitants of an area.
One thing that is for sure about the Fulani herdsmen is that they do not joke with their cattle. Are they willing to take lives for them? YES… As insensitive as that sounds they will go that far for their cows and livestock. But the question now is why they are on a killing spree across the country? What has warranted the violence they are unleashing in the society?
In the recent Enugu attack, the herdsmen justified their actions saying that some of their cattle were missing. On the other hand, the natives of the community say that the problem started from their refusal to permit cattle grazing on their farmlands.
In the last 6 months, there has been incessant kidnap and rape cases in Nsukka-Adani-Umulokpa axis in Enugu. Report says that the kidnapped victims were released after a ransom ranging from N500, 000- N5 million was paid. It was speculated that the Fulani herdsmen plotted to employ the assistance of some 500 mercenaries from Nasarawa to displace the people of the community.
Many have related this incident to the “hidden” agenda to Islamize the nation. This is because the affected areas of these Fulani men in the west and eastern Nigeria are all Christian communities. Perhaps this is a means to a ‘religious’ end. However, a combined team of police and military personnel have stepped into the community to restore sanity in the area.
In an emergency meeting summoned by the chairman of the Uzo-Uwani local council, Cornell Onwubuya, the Fulani leaders in Enugu confirmed that indeed there was a plot to invade the communities by “imported mercenaries” from Nasarawa. Registering his disappointment, Alhaji Haldo Saidu Baso, the state leader of the Fulani community who has lived in Enugu for over 3 decades pledges to reach out to the cattle owners from the north and issue them a note of warning.
“We will travel to Nasarawa State to talk to the cattle owners and stakeholders to warn the rustlers in Enugu State to stay away from trouble.”
The Eastern leaders and governors of Nigeria have categorized this as a national crisis. Thus registering their disappointment in the slow and no response from the federal government.
“We are very sad and very disappointed that all over the country, not just the South-East, these killings by Fulani herdsmen have continued unabated and nothing concrete is being done by the Federal Government.” – Ohaneze