Bello Abdullahi Bodejo
Abdullahi Bodejo, President, Miyetti Allah

…as Fulani herdsmen conduct 654 attacks; kill 2,539

By OLUSESAN LAOYE

Nationwide backlash and condemnation have continued to trail the threat by the cattle breeders association, Miyetti Allah, to over the country with their militias groups. Most people were affronted by such threats insisting that the government was giving them protection to allow it to fester unchecked.

For the past two years now, the Miyetti Allah organisation which is mainly a Fulani formation has been heating the polity of Nigeria. Their actions have been causing disaffections among other tribes, while it has also created fear and heightened tensions across Nigeria.

The statement by the group followed the release of a new report on the activities of the herdsmen which painted graphic details of the ordeals of Nigerians all over the country, in which the president of the Miyetti Allah of Nigeria, Mallam Abdullah Bodejo, boasted that the Fulani owned Nigeria and are ready to plant their security outfits without permissions from any government in Nigeria at the same time, got  Nigerians angrier.

They have been behaving as if they are untouchable, and daring people who stand to challenge them. They attack villages, town and cities with impunity and at the end, get away with murder.

They boast that they control, the police, the Army and even the Presidency, without being called to order by those in authority. The assumption all over the country has been that nothing could happen to them.

At a stage, it appeared as if they have taken over the country with the ways they attack and kidnap people on the highways. They killed and rape their captives and as well made heavy demands as ransoms. It became so glaring that the herdsmen move about with heavy and sophisticated rifles, claiming that they use the Ak47 and other weaponry to defend themselves.

The issue of RUGA – Fulani settlements to be created in every Local government of Nigeria –  generated so much heat until other tribes and ethnic nationalities became agitated and vowed that the Fulani colonies would be over their dead bodies.

The controversies which it generated was on the verge of splitting Nigeria as other units of the country made their position known that rather than RUGA the Fulani colonies cited in their fathers’ land,  Nigeria would have to break and the zones would go back to their tents, as it was at the beginning of the Independence of Nigeria.

But when the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, which initially was unrepentant about the project that also intended to give the Fulani the entire waterways saw that the mood of the nation and people was towards total anarchy and disintegration, it backed down and that was what shot down the RUGA project. Even despite this, some pockets of Fulani still boast that  “it is RUGA or nothing as they have the right to leave in any part of Nigeria, which belongs to their forefathers.

The atrocities committed by the Fulani were so immense and the statistics proved that the herdsmen are the most dangerous terrorists in Nigeria, who have killed, raped and maimed, more people than even the Boko Haram and other militias in Nigeria. Even the latest report indicated that between 2017 and May 2, 2020, Fulani herdsmen conducted 654 attacks, and killed 2,539 in Nigeria.

The report titled, ‘Working Document — Fulani Militias’ Terror: Compilation of News (2017-2020),’ and sighted by Global Sentinel last week revealed the blood-curdling statistics of vicious attacks, deaths and kidnappings by the herdsmen. The author of the report José Luis Bazán, an independent researcher and analyst, based in Brussels, Belgium, said, “Nigerians are suffering widespread and systematic terrorist attacks by, mainly, Boko Haram, the ISIL-aligned Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP), Fulani militias and Ansaru.”

Bazán, however, pointed out: “The Global Terrorist Index 2019 published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, indicates that the primary driver of the increase in terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa was a rise in terrorist activity in Nigeria attributed to Fulani extremists: in 2018, Fulani extremists were responsible for the majority of terror-related deaths in Nigeria (1,158 fatalities), with an increase by 261 and 308 per cent respectively from the prior year.”

The report noted that most of the “Fulani attacks were armed assaults” (200 out of 297 attacks) against civilians (84 per cent of the attacks). A breakdown analysis of the document by indicates that in 2017, 99 attacks were resulting in the killing of 202 people while 12 were kidnapped. In 2018, the attacks intensified rising to 245 resulting in a bloodbath that caused 1,478 deaths.

The number of those kidnapped during that period rose to 29. Last year, 169 attacks, 524 killings, and three kidnappings were reported. So far, in 2020 as of May 2, according to the report, there were 141 attacks, 335 people killed and 137 kidnapped. But behind the figures, the document said the attacks, killings, and kidnappings were targeted at farmers who were “predominantly Christians.”

The report said, “Most of the victims are farmers (predominantly, Christians), but Fulani (predominantly, Muslim) have also attacked policemen, soldiers, etc.” It noted further, “In our view, we can’t remain blind to the reality of regular, systematic, targeted attacks carried out by a minority of Fulani groups that spread terror among (Christian) farmers to achieve their purposes, using AK47s, too.”

However, some of the Fulani elites were disgusted with Badejo, as they dissociated themselves from what they said was capable of causing anarchy and disintegration of Nigeria. Even the Presidency was so embarrassed that they prevailed on the Bodejo to recant, it was learnt.

What further triggered public anger was the way the Minister of Interior Ogbeni Aregbesola reacted to journalists questions on the porous Nigerian borders, being infiltrated by hoodlums from the neighbouring countries, especially herdsmen, who wreak havoc.

Ogbeni Aregbesola, to the amazement of Nigerians, claimed that there was nothing known to law against the movement of people across Nigeria’s territorial boundaries. He pointed out ”Let me be clear and remind us of the fact that our boundaries are artificial.”

He added, “There is nothing known to a law that can prevent cross border movements”. He said that despite this, his ministry is engaging critical stakeholders in border communities to identify elements that are dangerous to the security of the country on either side of the border. Nigerians who reacted to the Minister’s statement said it was clear that Nigeria has never been in control of her borders. They argued that it was a shame if indeed what the Minister said was true.

“If Nigeria can’t legally prevent inter border crossing, then are we even a country? How can a border be artificial? Does the Minister mean we have no verifiable geographical features that demarcate Nigeria? What the Minister is saying, in essence, is that anyone including foreign herdsmen legally can just walk across into Nigeria from anywhere.”

“And of course they have, to allegedly, kill, kidnap, rape and when done just stroll back across whenever they feel like. It seems the Herdsmen are not as illiterate as we taught, they have been aware of this and have been exploiting it even telling us but we never knew,” some people responded.

For instance, a Second Republic Federal legislator Dr Junaid Muhammed lambasted the president of the Maiyatti  Allah, saying that he was not speaking for the entire Fulani but a selected  few, adding, that his statement was reckless, and a called for anarchy and anti-democratic

He said: “I am a Fulani man but I don’t know him and he cannot speak for any Fulani man dead or alive. Because that man or whoever he is cannot claim to speak on my behalf. And frankly speaking, the Miyetti Allah’s of today, I don’t know how it started but the ones I see with their activities and statements is a very dangerous organisation”,

Also, Yoruba World Congress (YWC), led by Professor Banji Akintoye, raised the alarm that the sponsors of the Miyetti Allah are calling for war in Nigeria with the statement of its leader, Mr Bello Abdullahi Bodejo

The Director of Communications, YWC, the umbrella body of Yoruba descents all over the world, Mr Moses Jolayemi, in a statement said “we have waited patiently in the last few days for a retraction of the highly explosive and inflammatory statement; that he was misquoted, as its often the case when people in public positions see the implications of what they said at the heat of the moment.

“ Unfortunately, none of such has come.  Having made a similar pronouncement almost exactly one year ago, it is becoming clearer that the attack dog is indeed working on a carefully crafted script. His masters are determined and undaunted in their evil plot to plunge the country into war.

The Yoruba nation, according to Jolayemi, “will resist every attempt by a small, ignoble clique of feudal jingoists to foist themselves on the rest of the country or annex the South-west.”

“If other tribes so desire, they can allow their inheritance and indeed their ancestry to be obliterated by these elements who are clandestinely carrying out a carefully mapped ethnic cleansing agenda. But for the Yoruba, such ambition can only remain a mere phantasmagoria”.