SEVERAL northern Nigerian socio-economic groups have vowed to resist the ongoing attacks and killings in their region by Fulani cattle herdsmen having come to the realisation that the violence is threatening their economies.
Over recent years, Fulani herdsmen have been terrorising northern Nigeria, attacking villages when people complain about how their livestock destroy their farms. Their unabated orgy of killing has led to a coalition of 400 indigenous groups spread across 15 northern states called the Conference of Autonomous Ethnic Nationalities and Community Development Associations (Conaecda), to state that they will not confront the herdsmen.
Suleman Sukukum, the coalition’s general secretary, pointed out that northern Nigeria had suffered the worst forms of criminality in the hands of herdsmen including kidnapping for ransom. Speaking on Jos, he said other crimes the herdsmen were involved in included trading in human flesh and parts, slave trafficking including child trafficking, sex slavery, banditry and cattle rustling, with the government doing little or nothing to stop them.
Mr Sukukum added: “Millions are displaced with over 1.5m in Benue State alone, while thousands of women were raped with over 700 victims in Kebbi State alone. Thousands of houses have been destroyed with over 2,500 homes in Irigweland alone ruined between August 2 and 12.
Our girls are being trafficked because they are internally displaced and 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 issue and the role of corruption and the failure of our security system to use information or intelligence 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 has decided to immediately commence a project to secure, reconstruct and protects 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.”