Tag Archives: Fulani herders

Nigeria – communal violence with Fulani breaks out in Taraba state

Premium Times

Violence erupts in Taraba community, three feared killed



Fresh communal clash has broken out in Gembu, Nguroje and other parts of Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State.

The violence is suspected to be between the Kakas and Fulani ethnic groups.

Locals say that the crisis erupted Sunday morning after some youth took to the streets destroying property and smashing vehicles.

“As I am talking to you, violence has erupted, they are attacking us, and some were killed,” a resident said asking to remain anonymous for security reasons.

The resident said he saw three corpses. PREMIUM TIMES has not been able to independently verify the casualty.

Efforts to reach the police spokesperson in the state, David Misal, have been unsuccessful as he did not pick or return calls.

However, a security source in the area confirmed the violence.

“As I am talking to you, curfew has been imposed following this crisis that ensued between the Kakas and Fulani.

“The casualty is yet to be ascertained,” the source said.

Since Saturday, there has been uneasy calm in and around Nguroje town, as security personnel of the State Security Service moved in to arrest some suspects.

The people arrested are said to be suspects known to have been engineering unrest the area.

Nguroje is the hometown to many prominent politicians including former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Babangida Nguroje; former Deputy Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Bashir Abba; and a serving senator, Abubakar Yusuf.

Nigeria – House of Representatives calls for military and police unit to stop attacks by armed pastoralists



Reps demand military squad to stop killer herdsmen

House of Representatives

John Ameh, Abuja

The House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to set up a joint military-police task force to confront “rampaging” herdsmen, who are killing and maiming victims in various parts of the country.

In Etsako Federal Constituency of Edo State and particularly in Auchi-Warake; Fugar-Ekperi and Okpella-Uluoke committees, the House said the herdsmen terrorising inhabitants were “suspected Boko Haram” insurgents, who must be tamed urgently.

The House specifically named Benue State, among other states in the federation it said needed government intervention to rehabilitate destroyed villages and prevent more people from being massacred by the herdsmen.

The House passed two separate resolutions on the menace of herdsmen on Wednesday alone, to underscore the seriousness of the threats their activities posed to national security.

The resolutions came just 24 hours after the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, chaired a four-hour closed-door meeting of members with service chiefs on rising cases of kidnapping in the country.

On Wednesday, a member of the All Progressives Congress from Benue State, Mr. Teseer Mark-Gbillah, moved a motion on the “Need for Intervention in the Incessant Killing, Destruction of Property and Displacement of Communities by Rampaging Herdsmen.”

The motion, which highlighted the plight of victims in “Benue and other states,” called for support for affected communities.

Mark-Gbillah recalled that herdsmen had killed at least 5,000 Nigerians between 2015 and 2017, making them the fourth most dangerous killer group after “Boko Haram, ISIS and Al-Qaeda.”

In passing the resolution, the lawmakers appealed for urgent support for victims of herdsmen from the government and international donor agencies.

The resolution was passed in a unanimous voice vote.

The second motion on “Need to Arrest and Prosecute Suspected Boko Haram Members Parading as Herdsmen in Etsako Federal Constituency,” was moved by Mr. Johnson Egwakhide-Oghuma.

He lamented that many communities in the constituency were under siege by the herdsmen, who killed villagers and invaded farms and homes at will.

In passing a resolution on the motion, the House directed the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to set up a joint task force to combat the herdsmen.

It also asked the Department of State Services to step up intelligence operations in a bid to “prevent the scoundrels from further inflicting harm on the people.”

Copyright PUNCH.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.


Nigeria – army launches operation in Bauchi, Kano and Plateau to end ethnic violence


ABUJA The Nigerian army on Wednesday launched a month-long operation to reduce violence in the centre of the country, as ethnically charged fighting pressures a government already tackling Boko Haram in the northeast and militants in the oil-rich south.

Hundreds are thought to have died in clashes that often carry religious overtones in deeply divided Nigeria, with Muslim herders facing off against Christian farmers in a country almost evenly split between the two faiths.

Precise figures for deaths are hard to come by, but the incidents threaten a political backlash for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, himself a Muslim.

“The operation is aimed at addressing the issue of insecurity in southern Kaduna state and parts of Kano, Plateau and Bauchi states,” said the military in a statement.

The army will also offer humanitarian aid to the region including medical support, it said.

Buhari, a former military ruler, had vowed to restore order in Africa’s most populous nation when he came to power in May 2015.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Additional reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Nigeria – the Ile-Ife crisis shows a recurring ethnic problem for the country



Azuka Onwuka

The ethnic crisis that erupted in Ile-Ife, Osun State recently between the indigenes and the Hausa-Fulani community showed that there is a recurring problem that needs to be solved in Nigeria.

Many reports had it that the crisis started following a problem between a Hausa man and an Ife woman. The man was said to have molested the woman, leading to the intervention of her husband. From there, an ethnic crisis erupted with houses burnt and people killed.

Based on precedents, if the matter that caused the Ile-Ife crisis had occurred between a Yoruba man and a Yoruba woman, it would not have caused a crisis. If it had also occurred between a Hausa man and a Hausa woman, it would have ended in words and no loss of life. It would have been the same result if it was between two Efik people or Tiv people.

We can even stretch it a little and still get no crisis. If the misunderstanding had occurred between an Igbo man and a Yoruba woman, it would not have degenerated into bloodshed and vandalism. If it had happened between an Urhobo man and a Yoruba man, it would still have not resulted in deaths and destruction.

For decades Nigeria has believed that the best way to stop ethnic clashes is to sweep them under the carpet. The nation believes that citizens should not even discuss such matters. The nation believes that not talking about it will make it disappear and everything will be beautiful. But it continues to occur and claim lives, which the nation seems not to value.

After 103 years of amalgamation and 56 years of independence, one would have expected that Nigerians would have become well-integrated and interwoven as one people that tolerate and respect one another, but the reverse is the case. Things that would not have caused a problem between two ethnic groups 50 years ago cause mayhem today. Every ethnic group believes that the other wants to dominate it, and there is always this attitude of: “You can do that nonsense on your land but you can’t try it here on our land!”

Expectedly, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, acted like the ostrich by dismissing the ethnic dimension to the crisis and blaming it on miscreants and those who constitute themselves into a nuisance. He said: “It is very clear that this issue is not about crisis between the Hausa community and Yoruba community in Ile-Ife. The Hausa community has been living in Ile-Ife for close to 200 years. I understand the first settlers arrived there in 1820. This is about the fourth or fifth generation of the community and they have never experienced this kind of thing until now.

“So, it is not about ethnic issue. It is about a couple or bunch of people who constitute themselves to a nuisance to carry out this dastardly act and quite a number of them escaped from the community.”

There is a large community of non-Nigerians in different parts of Nigeria: Indians, Chinese, Koreans, Pakistanis, South Africans, Lebanese, Ghanaians, Liberians, Americans, Britons, etc. Some of these foreign nationals treat Nigerians that work for them in a despicable manner, with many Nigerians losing their lives through them. Has someone bothered to ask why these so-called miscreants never attack the foreigners, no matter the provocation?

The answer is simple. The first is that Nigerians respect and protect the foreigners in their midst. The second reason is that these foreigners are not seen as direct rivals in terms of political power, ethnic power and religious power. The third reason is that Nigerians know that if foreigners are attacked, their nations will not fold their arms over such an issue. But when the attack is between two Nigerian ethnic groups, nothing concrete will come out of it. Even the government will be the first to sweep it under the carpet, believing that it is dousing tension.

The Nigerian state has simply refused to have a clear-cut policy on ethnicity issues. When it suits those in power, ethnicity matters, but when it does not suit them, ethnicity does not matter. No sincere steps have been taken to turn our ethnic diversity into an advantage rather than a disadvantage.

Over the years, the Nigerian state has systematically accentuated the ethnic divide by its policies of divide and rule. It has treated equals unequally and unequals equally, thereby perpetrating injustice, creating dissatisfaction and promoting anger among the ethnic groups.

Thirdly, the Nigerian state has allowed her citizens killed for many decades by their fellow citizens without taking any concrete action to punish offenders and make it clear that such will not be condoned. So, whenever the least misunderstanding arises between the ethnic groups, especially between the north and the south, each side is eager to unleash bottled-up emotions on the other.

How has Rwanda tried to heal the wounds of the 1994 genocide and ensure there is no recurrence?  The number one thing Rwanda did was to ensure that justice was served and that there was reconciliation. Top people who incited the Hutus against the Tutsis were tried and sentenced. For the common folks who carried out the acts, the British Guardian report of April 3, 2014 (to mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide) said: “The majority (who were mostly living in rural areas, among those they killed) confessed and pleaded their case at special village courts called gacacas. With strong encouragement from the government, survivors across the country then accepted the perpetrators back into their communities.”

Rwanda also consciously embarked on national integration and orientation.  The Guardian put it this way: “Born in the years since the genocide, children are educated in schools that are strongly encouraged to desist from using potentially divisive labels. Pupils are discouraged from identifying themselves as Hutu or Tutsi and are instead asked to focus on building the future of a common Rwanda. To this end, in 2001, the government unveiled a new flag and national anthem.”

Describing how Rwanda fostered a sense of shared identity, Deustche Welle of April 4, 2015, published to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the genocide, wrote: “In the last decades, Rwandans have come a long way on the arduous road to reconciliation. One of the first things the new government did was to eliminate the reference to ethnicity in identification documents. From then on, the country’s inhabitants were all ‘Rwandans.’

“The practice of doing regular community work, which was grounded in the Rwandan tradition of ‘umuganda,’ was reintroduced not only as part of the effort to rebuild the country but as a way to foster a community spirit. Once a month, Rwandans are called upon to perform communal tasks such as building a house for the needy, laying a road or sweeping a square.”

In spite of its landlocked status and the terrible dent the genocide made on the nation, Rwanda has left its past behind and has become an exemplary African nation in the areas of peace, stability, literacy rate, women’s rights, good economy, etc.

Compare this to what obtains in Nigeria. Every form filled in Nigeria has spaces for “state of origin” and “religion”. If Nigeria were a nation that places any importance on data collection, one would conclude that these pieces of information are needed for the sake of creating accurate data base for national planning. But they are needed simply for the sake of labelling individuals in order to determine who should be given a job or a service.

Nations consciously create policies that promote national cohesion, peace and stability. The Nigerian state divides its citizens, discriminates against them and watches them repeatedly killed over frivolities without bringing perpetrators to justice. The result is the repeated crises we keep on having.

— Twitter @BranAzuka

Copyright PUNCH.  

Nigeria – why are Igbos prone to attacks

Vanguard (Nigeria)

DECEMBER 21, 20162:12 AMIN

*Says real herdsmen don’t kill ENUGU—The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has disclosed that the Igbo are subject to attacks in crisis periods because they are visible entrepreneurs located in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria. Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar IV, visits Enugu The Sultan also said real herdsmen, who own cows, don’t kill but only criminals that parade as herdsmen kill. He, therefore, challenged security agents to find out sources of sophisticated arms being used by criminals in the guise of herdsmen.

The Sultan spoke at a grand reception organized in his honour at Nsukka, yesterday, where he was welcomed back 39 years after he lived in the university town as a young soldier. Sultan said: “I want to say that nobody in the North aims to kill any Igbo because he is an Igboman. They are killed because they are the industrious ones found everywhere and in every village but nobody plans or sends people to kill the Igbo.

“The closest man to my late father, Beke, was an Igboman and when he died, he was buried in the palace. We are all equal before God Almighty and the two major religions preach peace and love in their holy books. Real herdsmen don’t kill “No herdsman that has cattle kills. It is the criminals that do not own cattle that kill. They are mere criminals and more criminalities are committed even outside the country. They go around pretending to be herdsmen. “Where do they get the AK-47 rifles that they use in killing? That’s the question I’ve asked and we don’t have answers yet. We need to find out what the issues are.”

The Sultan, who noted that returning to Nsukka was a home coming for him, said he started his adult life in Nsukka, adding that justice is a panacea for peaceful coexistence. He said: “For a leader to be loved by his people, he has to do the right thing. Development is what Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is doing in Enugu State. I said I must be in Nsukka because I started my adult life in Nsukka and made friends. “I had the best meeting with the Christian religious leaders in Enugu and we told ourselves the truth. Rev. Fr. Mbaka exposed the ignorance that had existed between us. We discussed herdsmen issues and we told ourselves the truth and that is the essence of dialogue. “We have seen massive transformation from Opi to Nsukka that when you get to the road, you would think it is leading to a big town.”

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/12/igbo-prone-attacks/

Nigeria remains world’s third “most terrorized” nation

Premium Times

Boko Haram new

Nigeria is still ranked third among the countries in the world that have been worst hit by terror attacks, according to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report.

The GTI monitored and measured the impacts of terrorism in 163 countries, covering 99.7 per cent of the world’s population.

Nigeria had occupied the same position in last year’s ranking, and was ranked fourth in 2014. For 2016, Nigeria ranked behind Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and India are ranked fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth respectively, while Egypt and Libya are in the ninth and 10th position, in the latest ranking.

The report, released on Wednesday by the Institute for Economics and Peace, however indicates a 34 per cent decline in the number of people killed by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, in 2015 in Nigeria.

The total number of people killed by Boko Haram in 2015 was 4,095, down from the 6,136 in 2014, said the report which attributed the decline to the operation of the Nigerian military and the Joint Task Force in the north-east of the country.

According to the report, Nigeria also had a reduction in the number of people killed by Fulani militants (herdsmen). “There were 630 fewer deaths by these militias in 2015, a decrease of 50 per cent,” the report said.

This, according to the report, contributed to the overall 10 per cent drop in the number of deaths caused by terrorism globally.

In fact, the report says Iraq and Nigeria had the largest reduction on deaths from terrorism from 2014 to 2015.

The gains made against Boko Haram by the Nigerian military, however became the pains of the country’s neighbours – Niger and Cameroon – as the terrorist group spilled over and created more deaths in the two countries than previously recorded.

“Niger recorded a devastating year with 11 terrorism deaths in 2014 rising to 649 in 2015. This is the largest proportional increase of any country and is due to the expansion of Boko Haram,” the report said.

Niger is now 16th in the latest ranking, compared to the 51st position it occupied in last year. The deteriorating terrorism attacks in Cameroon also moved it from 20th position it was in 2015 to 14th   in 2016.

ISIL, the Islamic militant group in Iraq, has now overtaken Boko Haram as the deadliest terrorist group in 2015, the report said.

The report said, “Despite the decrease in deaths from terrorism, Nigeria still experienced a high rate of violent deaths.

“In addition to terrorism victims, there were at least 4,422 battle-related deaths from the conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian Government in 2015, down from 8,233 in 2014.”

The report said on the average, Boko Haram killed 11 people per attack in Nigeria, and that the attacks were mainly targeted at civilians.

“Four out of five deaths from terrorism in Nigeria are civilians,” it said. “This is one of the highest targeting of civilians anywhere in the world.

“Whilst the majority of fatalities were caused by armed assaults with firearms and knives, there has been an increase in the use of bombings and explosions, a tactic Boko Haram has been increasingly using after receiving explosives training from al-Shabaab.

“In 2013, Boko Haram conducted 35 bombings which killed 107 people. In 2015 there were 156 bombings that killed 1,638. Nearly two thirds of the bombings in 2015 were suicide bombings, which on average killed ten people per attack,” the report said.

Out of 20 most fatal terrorist attacks in the world in 2015, according to the report, four occurred on the Nigerian soil, with Boko Haram being responsible for three.

Fulani militants were responsible for one – where 95 people were killed in a single attack on March 15, 2015.

According to the report, the worst terrorist attack in Nigeria occurred on September 13, 2015 when Boko Haram killed 160 villagers in Kukuwa-Gari village by gunfire or drowning. A total of 174 people were killed in the attack, the report said.

The report put the global economic impact of terrorism at US$89.6 billion in 2015.

Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to developing economies such as Nigeria is directly affected by terrorist attacks, it said.

“Unlike ISIL, Boko Haram does not have a sophisticated financing structure,” says the report. “The primary revenue source for Boko Haram is kidnapping, ransom and extortion.”

The group is also said to rely on bank robberies, illegal mining, external donations, and drugs for its income which is said to be up to $25 million, annually.

The report put the total number of people killed in Nigeria by Boko Haram at 17,097 since 2000.

The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has obviously achieved some successes in its war against terrorism, but the Boko Haram sect hasn’t been defeated yet, as repeatedly claimed by the Nigerian authorities.

The report explains the methodology used in developing the terrorism index.

“The GTI ranks 163 countries based on four indicators weighted over five years.

“The GTI score for a country in a given year is a based on a unique scoring system to account for the relative impact of incidents in the year. The four factors counted in each country’s yearly score, are:

  • Total number of terrorist incidents in a given year
  • Total number of fatalities caused by terrorists in a given year
  • Total number of injuries caused by terrorists in a given year
  • A measure of the total property damage from terrorist incidents in a given year.

Nigeria – Buhari sends task force to Zamfara to stop cattle rustling


A Funali herdsman escorts his cattle with a gun on his shoulder

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a special military task force to combat cattle rustlers in the north-western state of Zamfara.

The armed gangs are based in a forest, from where they raid nearby villages.

Defence Minister Mansur Dan Ali told the BBC that about 1,000 troops would be deployed immediately, with more would joining later.

Hundreds of people have been killed in villages in and around Zamfara in the last three years.

President Buhari has faced criticism for not focusing earlier on what is being described as the country’s third security crisis, behind the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east and the growing militant attacks on oils pipelines in the southern Niger Delta region.

There are fears that fighters from Islamist militant group Boko Haram may have joined the gangs in Zamfara.

Map showing Zamfara state, Nigeria

A large swathe of forest spreading from Zamfara to neighbouring states is now referred to as the “New Sambisa”, after the forest where Boko Hararm militants are holed up in the north-eastern Borno state, reports BBC Hausa’s Aliyo Tanko.

Thousands have been forced to flee their homes following the violence in Zamfara and surrounding states of Katsina, Kaduna, Niger and Kano.

Residents of the affected areas have accused the local authorities of failing to defend them.