From Taraba State to Benue, Kogi, Edo, Oyo, others, and now Enugu, the killing spree by the Fulani herdsmen has continued unabated, leading to the loss of many lives, properties and farmlands. The recent killings in Taraba and Enugu are quite a gory to behold. What on earth would warrant such dastardly act by the Fulanis?
Enugu massacre is just one out of many horrendous cases perpetuated by the Fulani herdsmen. This incessant killing is now fully replicated across the whole country. Fulani people are known to be easy going and friendly (though they do not joke with their cattle), but a situation where extreme hatred is exhibited towards their host communities is a serious misnomer with the likelihood of more violence if this problem is left unsolved.
Even though one cannot completely exonerate the villagers or the host communities, it is however inhuman for the Fulanis to kill people malevolently simply because they are aggrieved or otherwise. Report has it that about 50 people were confirmed dead and add up to over 100 people who were victims of this attack in which houses were torched, a Church destroyed, farmlands destroyed and human beings brutalized like animals.
This is really a disturbing trend after several mediation and peace talks with the herdsmen to embrace peace. Unfortunately, the various negotiations held in the past have not yielded a positive result. And to make matters worse, the attitude of the herdsmen is absolutely awkward. However, to be circumspect, the villagers or the host communities may be culpable too. Out of anger or displeasure with their unwelcome visitors (herdsmen), they might resort to hostile tendencies which may have ignited the whole attack. Such tendencies should be moderate and well-coordinated so as to prevent this type of unfortunate killings that occurred. Reprisal attack and counter-reprisal attack are the new phrases to better explain the dimension of this crisis.
But, how the herdsmen get their weapons is, however, a source of concern. The use of AK-47 and other sophisticated guns to terrorize farm owners or host communities by this group of brigands is a far cry from what is normal. There is no normality in the way and manner this issue has continued to play out. Who are the sponsors of these herdsmen? Where do they get their weapons? Are these people real herdsmen or terrorists, or hired assassins or a group of hoodlums as we were made to believe by the police? The situation at hand is very dicey in that, the fragile unity or coexistence of Nigeria is threatened by the incessant barbaric activities of these herdsmen. Apart from overrunning people’s farm in the name of cattle grazing, they also indulge in criminal activities like kidnapping, armed robbery, raping of young girls and other heinous activities that is synonymous with criminals.
In the meanwhile, it is however difficult to ascertain or describe the true identity of these herdsmen whether they are real or simply criminals hiding under the name ‘herdsmen.’ Recent reports about Fulani herdsmen in Kogi State uncovers that most of the criminal activities carried out in the state are by the Fulanis imported to the state, or who migrated from other states. According to this report, these people are not part of the original herdsmen resident in Kogi State. They migrated from other states to carry out their criminal activities in which the original Fulanis themselves have fallen victims of their acts. Whatever the case is, what is evident is that, Fulani herdsmen are responsible for the spate of killings across the country.
The solution to this crisis is for the Federal Government in all sense of necessity and responsibility wade in to proffer a permanent solution before it escalates beyond the control of everybody. The Implication of this constant attack by the Fulani herdsmen on their host communities may result to a serious sectarian violence if President Muhammadu Buhari is not swift to solving this crisis all at once. In the absence of a systemic plan on how to solve this crisis, a full-scale violence is imminent.