Agatu community in Benue State may not have been the first port of call for suspected Fulani herdsmen attack on respective communities across Nigeria. However, the community was repeatedly ‘bombarded’ in a manner that was barely short of being called a civil war or what the former Senate President, David Mark, described as a deliberate ‘genocide against my people’.
From attack on communities, the dreaded herdsmen, who allegedly attack the host communities for flimsy excuses, then took to kidnapping and imposing ransom on their victims’ families.
Their victims are across board including top politicians, big-name Nollywood stars, business top shots, wives of prominent persons including journalists. It appears the trend now is to burn whole community, destroy the economic mainstay of such area and ensure that hapless victims are left without any feasible means of livihood.
Former Finance Minister and AD/APP Presidential candidate in 1999 general election, Chief Olu Falae, tasted the bitter pills of the Fulani herdsmen all because he protested encroachment on is farmland and destruction of his crops.
David Mark narrowly escaped captured when his convoy was ambushed and spiritedly chased by suspected herders when he went on sympathy call on the ravaged Agatu community.
The carnage went unabated even as the Federal Government kept mute and at best offered feeble excuses for the dastardly acts of the herders.
Then came the Enugu state onslaught. Late April, the sleepy town of Ukpabi/Nimbo communities in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area came alive for the most ungodly reason. No fewer than 48 persons were slaughtered by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Ironically, they had informed the community in advanced that they would carry out reprisal attacks on the community for allegedly killing few cows.
Prior to this development, 77 Enugu persons including the elderly were arrested in their community but inexplicably transferred to Abia State where they were detained for 10 days in spite of a court order against their detention. They had courted the displeasure of the herders allegedly resisting their persistent invasion of their property, destruction of their farmlands, defiling their women, among other crimes.
Of course, the impunity with which the killing of the 48 persons was done drew no little public outcry even as the federal government remain passive and effeminate on the issue until Tuesday when Nigerians in Diaspora who apparently fed up with the rascality and impunity of the Fulani cattle breeders opted to bring the deliberate attack on other parts of Nigeria by a group of itinerant marauders with alleged connection with the Villa.
And so on Tuesday, Nigerians living in the United Kingdom staged a protest at the Westminster Parliament building in London condemning the trending wave of killings carried out by Fulani herdsmen.
According to them, the pious silence of the Presidency in the face of constant and wicked onslaught of Nigerians in Southern part particularly the persistent attack on South East region compelled them to embark on the protest to bring global attention to the sustained conflict.
According to Chidi Ughonu, the coordinator of the London Protest Against Fulani Herdsmen, the group had planned protests in the United States, Canada, and cities across Europe.
The protesters numbering in the hundreds carried Nigerian flags and placards with slogans reading “Buhari – Stop the Massacre” and “Stop Bloodthirsty Fulani Herdsmen Now.”
Friday Magazine learnt though several of the protesters were members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and persons of Igbo extraction, they were however joined in the protest by other Nigerians who are piqued with the deliberate nudging on by the federal government’s palpable silence.
The protesters lined up behind the Nigerian flag to protest the Fulani herdsmen killing apparently to forge a common front and lamented that the simmering domestic conflict was not being attended to by the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.
The increase in violence committed by the herdsmen has sparked outrage among Nigerians across the world, with protesters calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to take action against the attackers.
A day before the international protest, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, CBN, appealed to President Buhari to declare the rampaging Fulani herdsmen as terrorists and to treat them as such.
The Bishops, who paid a courtesy visit on the president, also asked him to seriously investigate the Agatu, Nimbo and many other killings done by the Fulani herdsmen in Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa, Ondo, Edo, Delta and elsewhere.
In the address delivered by the Chairman of the Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Reverend Ignatius Slogans, the Clerics warned that the killings of innocent Nigerians by rampaging cattle breeders could degenerate into internecine conflict and eventually nationwide.
“The Agatu killings, the Nimbo killings and many other killings in Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa, Ondo, Edo, Delta and elsewhere should be seriously investigated, with the perpetrators unmasked and decisively dealt with.
“Our people cannot continue to live in perpetual fear of attacks by fellow Nigerians with criminal intent. Happily, we understand that you have ordered some investigations into the Agatu and Nimbo killings.
“For a more permanent peace between herdsmen and farmers in our country, some streamlining is necessary for the good of the cattle rearers in the North and for the welfare of farmers in the South and elsewhere in Nigeria.
“Cattle ranches should be created in states known for cattle breeding, with adequate water and fodder provided and nurtured. Farmland for root crops and other plants should be protected for their specific products in states known for such. This will reduce or eliminate clashes stemming from trespassing,” the bishops said.
Perhaps, they were reacting to the comments of the Northern governors kicked against calling all Fulani herdsmen criminals insisting that perpetrators of crimes around the country could not be Fulani people.
Also, last weekend, the Ovie of Idjere, Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, Erhiekevwe I, ordered all Fulani herdsmen operating in his domain to vacate within nine days or face the wrath of his people.
The Idjere monarch said his kingdom decided to take the hard stance on the herdsmen because of persistent criminal acts carried against communities within in his domain by the itinerant Fulani cattle rearers. Specifically, he accused the herdsmen of destroying their farmlands, killing innocent persons and defiling their women, among other acts of criminality.
“Farming is my people’s mainstay. The Hausas/Fulani people rearing cattle here have created too many problems, including killing of innocent people. They also defile our women and destroy their crops while grazing. They must leave in nine days or face the wrath of my people who I will unleash on them.”
Speaking before Defence Headquarters Committee on Persistent Clashes between Herdsmen and Farmers in Nigeria, the Enugu State Government has opposed the creation of grazing reserves across the country following the invasion of Nimbo community in the state by suspected herdsmen.
In the document, the state government called for immediate disarmament of the herdsmen across the country and a proper screening by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to repatriate the aliens among them.
“There should be immediate disarmament of the herdsmen across the country, as they carry sophisticated weapons such as AK-47.
“Adequate measures should be taken to ensure proper policing of the country’s borders to check the influx of irregular aliens and security men equipped to face challenges,” it stated.
The state government called for a proper investigation into the circumstances that surrounded the invasion of the community where scores of residents were killed and compensations paid.
Only Wednesday, Governor Ayo Fayose declared that Ekiti people were fully prepared to take vengeance on nomadic cattle Fulani herdsmen if they dare destroy farmers’ crops any longer across the state.
Fayose spoke in Ibadan, Oyo State capital while fielding questions from journalists after delivering a lecture on the World Press Day at the state’s Secretariat of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has said that people of the state are fully prepared to take vengeance on nomadic cattle Fulani herdsmen if they dare destroy farmers’ crops any longer across the state. Fayose spoke today in Ibadan, Oyo State capital while fielding questions from journalists after delivering a lecture on the World Press Day at the state’s Secretariat of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Interestingly, it seems President Buhari was compelled to react to the persistent attack following international protest against the Fulani herders. He said that he has ordered all Nigerian security agencies to “deal decisively” with the attackers.
Also, the Nigerian Army addressed the press Wednesday in apparent response to the embarrassment the international protest may brought on the country and directed its men to deal decisively with alleged Fulani herdsmen.
Nonetheless, Emeka Uche thinks the sudden fury is rather belated because until the attention of the international community was drawn to the onslaught against other Nigerians the federal government and its security agencies had done nothing to halt the rampaging Fulani herdsmen.

READ ALSO  Night life at Bayan Gari, Bauchi