Herdsmen or Arms-men, How Safe Are Nigerians? By Obayomi Abiola Benjamin

Some few days ago, the residents of Uzo Uwani local government area of Enugu State, Nigeria woke up to the sights of dead men and women scattered all over the place. Those lifeless bodies had been killed in their sleep by the Fulani Herdsmen, as reported in the morning by those fortunate ones who had escaped the onslaught. Traditionally and historically, the Fulani herdsmen are Fulani men who are predominantly herders and pastoralists, and are often seen parading their cattle in search of grazing pasture. The Fula people or Fulani or Ful?e are one of the largest ethno linguistic groups in Africa, numbering more than 40 million people in total. They form one of the most widely dispersed and culturally diverse of the peoples of Africa. They are bound together by the common language of Fulfulde, as well as by some basic elements of Fulbe culture, such as the pulaaku, a code of conduct common to all Fulani groups. Cattle, goat and sheep trading are their primary source of income and occupation. Their wealth and riches are often measured by the size of their cattle, being the most treasured animal they herd.

From the happenings lately, it appears that the Fulani herdsmen have taken up some other new trade. Their murderous adventure and kidnappings recently have gone unnoticed, which has left many Nigerians wondering when this would end. Innocent farmers have mostly been recorded to be their victims. The unending tussle between Nigerian farmers and Fulani herdsmen have been ravaging over the years with no end in sight. The brawl usually begins when the former invade community farmland with their cattle and let them graze unrestricted both on cultivated and uncultivated land thereby destroying valuable food and cash crops which are the source of livelihood of the host communities. When the communities try to resist them and request their exit, the Fulani herdsmen become violent and attack the community. There mode of operation usually is to attack farming communities at the time they are mostly vulnerable such as midnight, kill both women and children and maim others; burning houses and looting properties.

The Fulani herdsmen have been reputed to be the fourth deadliest group in the world. This rating alone is enough to set Nigeria security agencies on their toes. To better worsen the situation is the fact that the Fulani herdsmen are in operation in almost every nook and cranny of the country. Unlike the Boko haram sects whose sphere of operation was limited to the North eastern parts of the country alone, these herdsmen are everywhere in the North, South, East and West of the nation. For instance, these herdsmen of the Fulani descent have been linked with the recent violence in Agatu community, a local government in Benue state, the kidnapping of a foremost Yoruba statesman Chief Olu Falae in his home state of Ondo in the South western part of Nigeria, the attack on the residents of Angai and Ndole villages in Gashak Local council area of Taraba state where those escaped the attack fled to neighboring communities in the Republic of Cameroun. Enugu and Imo states respectively were also not left out in the spread of the Fulani herdsmen killing spree, and the incessant Plateau state crises have also been linked to these herdsmen unruly and uncontrollable behavior.

How safe then are those Nigerians in the different farming communities spread across the length and breadth of Nigeria? At this point, there is no dispute about the fact that the situation is becoming a giant monster of some sort. The situation is becoming worse by the day and it appears the government is not responding well with the utmost urgency that the situation demands. How many more Nigerians are going to die before the government takes the necessary steps? A Fulani herdsman with loaded gun, a machete and staff in his hands to direct his cattle is no doubt going to descend on any opposition without any compassion. President Muhammadu Buhari must do something very drastic to arrest this situation before it becomes a total menace like the boko haram sect. As much as agriculture is good, and the government at every level is encouraging it, it can however not be practiced under a tense situation and an unfavorable clime like it is happening right now with the farming communities and the herdsmen in Nigeria.

In some other countries of the world, cattle farmers do not move their animals around in search of grazing fields and water as it done here in Nigeria, and there has not been any record that those countries ran out of meat consumption at any point in time or they are short of meat consumption and therefore need to import meats from other nations of the world. It then means that there is something working for them in this regard that our leaders can learn from and put in place here to permanently end these incessant conflicts between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria. For instance, there are pastoral leases in full operation in New Zealand and Australia that designates the extent of state or government owned lands that pastoral farmers can graze. What these countries do is to have large grazing reserves for cattle farmers and those farmers are not expected at any point or the other to graze outside of these reserves. The President’s resolve to put this place will go a long way in ensuring some form of peace between the farming communities and Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria.

Apart from the fact that the government should earmark a grazing reserve, the government should also ensure that the activities of these herdsmen are highly regulated and adequately monitored. This they can do by maintaining a register of all those who are herdsmen in different parts of Nigeria, and those who intends to go into such businesses, whether they are Nigerians or foreigners. By so doing, the government can keep a tab on different activities of herdsmen across the country, their movements and who causes what conflicts in any community at every point in time. It cannot be totally incorrect that some of these herdsmen may have migrated from neighboring countries of Chad and the likes, but proper registration would help out in this area. Some form of orientation could also be given to these herdsmen informing them of the disadvantages of destroying food and cash crops. This could be done through the National Orientation Agency and in collaboration with the state governments and all these herdsmen various associations.

Thank you for reading.

Obayomi Abiola Benjamin @abibeo_oba

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Buhari Urges World Leaders To Dismantle Safe Havens For Proceeds Of Corruption

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the international community to urgently redouble its efforts to strengthen mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption.

Addressing world leaders at the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, President Buhari also urged his counterparts to do more to return stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.

Observing that corruption, cross-border financial crimes, cyber crimes and human trafficking are major challenges of the 21st century which the international community must work collectively to overcome, the Nigeria leader reaffirmed his administration’s determination to frontally confront the twin evils of corruption and illicit financial outflows.

“By any consideration, corruption and cross-border financial crimes are impediments to development, economic growth, and the realization of the well-being of citizens across the globe,” he said, expressing Nigeria’s willingness to partner with international agencies and individual countries on a bilateral basis to confront crimes and corruption.

“In particular, I call upon the global community to urgently redouble efforts towards strengthening the mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption and ensuring the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin,” the President said.

President Buhari also proposed the adoption of peace as a seventh essential element of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted last Friday by world leaders in New York.

“The Secretary-General has grouped the SDGs into what he calls six “essential elements” namely: Dignity, Prosperity, Justice, Partnership, Planet and People,” he recalled.

“As a prerequisite to these and as we look at history and remember the terrible events that gave rise to the birth of the United Nations in 1945, I would like to propose a seventh: PEACE.

He asserted that peace  is close to the hearts of Nigerians, as the nation is in the front line in the war on terror. Boko Haram’s war against the people of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon may not attract as much worldwide attention as the wars in the Middle East, he said, but the suffering is just as great and the human cost equally high.

“This is a war between progress and chaos; between democracy and the rule of law. Boko Haram celebrates violence against the weak and the innocent and deplorably, they hide behind their perverted interpretation of Islam. Boko Haram is as far away from Islam as anyone can think of,” President Buhari declared.

The President assured the global community that his administration was doing all within its powers to quickly overcome the challenge of terrorism and insecurity.

“The new Nigerian Government which I have the honour to head, moved with dispatch to put in a bold and robust strategy to defeat Boko Haram. Nigeria and her neighbours Cameroon, Chad and Niger plus Benin are working together to face this common threat within the regional framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

“We have established a multinational joint task force to confront, degrade and defeat Boko Haram. We have driven them away from many of their strongholds, killed or captured many of their operatives or commanders and freed several hundreds of hostages,” President Buhari told the General Assembly.

The President reassured the international community that rescuing the Chibok girls remains one of the major objectives of his administration.

“We are working round the clock to ensure their safety and eventual reunion with their families. The girls are constantly on our minds and in our plans,” he said.

President Buhari also condemned the new and dangerous dimension which human trafficking has assumed in the world, saying that Africans are grieved to see hundreds of their able bodied men and women dying in the desert or drowning in the Mediterranean.

“We condemn in the strongest terms these people traffickers and will support any measures to apprehend and bring them to justice,” the President said.

He also noted that the world was witnessing a dreadful increase in conflicts fuelled by the availability of small arms and light weapons, and called on the international community   to work towards the effective  implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty to ensure that these weapons can only be legally transferred.

Reminding the global assembly that peaceful co-existence and self-determination were among the key principles that led to the establishment of the United Nations, President Buhari called for the urgent resolution of the question of self-determination for the people of Palestine and Western Sahara.

“The international community has come to pin its hopes on resolving the Palestinian issue through the two – states solution which recognizes the legitimate right of each state to exist in peace and security,” the President said.

“The world has no more excuses or reasons to delay the implementation of the long list of Security Council resolutions on this question. Neither do we have the moral right to deny any people their freedom or condemn them indefinitely to occupation and blockade.”

 

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Buhari Has No Right To Promise Jonathan, Others They Are Safe With The Loot By Peregrino Brimah

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If Boko Haram Must Kill Me For Nigeria To Be Safe, Let Them, Emir Sanusi Tells CNN [VIDEO]

Speaking to Christine Amanpour on CNN on Wednesday, Emir of Kano, Sanusi II, the former Governor of Central Bank said:

“Yes, General Buhari is right on the level of corruption in the country and we need to address this sufficiently. We have not helped the situation by living in denial (that the situation does not exist). I don’t want to dwell on this because of the time that we are and we are close to an election.”

Emir Sanusi maintained that $20bn was missing from the account of the NNPC, which was not remitted to the federation account. He said,

“This has not been addressed adequately and from the account of the corporation, about $20bn was not remitted to the federation account. We need to address this.” Adding when asked if there will be real change after the election, that the kerosene subsidy billions theft he raised remains a big issue that needs to be addressed. Nigeria’s minister of oil, Diezani Alison Madueke known as the oil goddess is recognized for stealing these nations billions in the kerosene subsidy fraud and other scams.

Emir Sanusi said whichever government wins must deal with the economic drain at the oil sector. Sanusi said the government must focus on people’s welfare; this will reduce crime and corruption.

Watch Video

 

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