- After recently claiming that the Fulani herdsmen causing havoc in parts of Nigeria are from neighbouring countries, northern governors decided to start registering them
- But the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) is accusing the governors of toying with the lives of Nigerians in favour of the herdsmen
The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has slammed the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) for proposing to open a register for immigrant Fulani herdsmen after saying these same set of people have been identified as aliens and threats to Nigeria’s internal security.
“This is underscored by our observations that the NGF had in times past stridently denied culpability of these killers, rising to their defence many a times,” ARG said in a statement to Legit.ng.
The statement signed by Kunle Famoriyo, the body’s publicity secretary, noted that herdsmen currently constitute a huge threat, not only to lives, but also to food security in south-western part of Nigeria, especially since the people in this zone are mostly smallholding farmers.
The group said these farmers have now been forced to live at the mercy of cows and conniving policemen.
“This has aggravated the sweeping poverty in Nigeria and has displaced many of our people. Nigeria’s socioeconomic indices is clear that farmers, not herdsmen, should get higher priority from government, being a higher employer of labour, higher contributor to tax, FOREX earning and GDP.
“ARG is therefore gravely concerned that state governors who swore to protect Nigeria’s constitution are the ones promoting alien interest. Or what logic is there in opening a register for agents of external aggression?
“It is shameful that the NGF could not even pretend and hide its readiness to sacrifice the rest of Nigeria for Fulani interest in its veiled reference to ‘national integration and cohesion’ as the solution to herdsmen menace.
“For example, Kaduna governor, Nasir El-rufai, arrogantly and cold-heartedly declared on Aljazeera recently that killer herdsmen must be accommodated because Nigeria is signatory to ECOWAS’s treaty on trans-humane pastoralist protocol. We wonder if ECOWAS treaties are only obligatory where it concerns Fulani interest as there are other treaties that Nigeria has ignored.
“Another example is the recent ban on car importation through land borders which Comptroller-General Hameed Ali said was done to stop influx of illegal arms.
“If this policy could be implemented swiftly, at great economic loss to stakeholders and despite a Senate order against it, why has nothing been done to disarm herdsmen who freely roam about with sophisticated weapons?” The ARG queried.
The statement said it is increasingly clear that Nigerian authorities will not address the menace of Fulani herdsmen as should be done in a sane country.
It added that the NGF’s latest proposal remains to be seen as a workable idea.
“This further shows that ethnocentric interest, rather than the rule of law, governs Nigeria,” the ARG said while reiterating that the only workable solutions are to outlaw open grazing, arrest and prosecute arms-bearing herdsmen, and promote ranching systems.
“Farmers are paying for land use, why should herdsmen not? Conversely, if herdsmen are justified to bear arms, why should farmers not do same?
“ARG therefore holds the view that should herdsmen continue to get higher priority, our farmers would be right to resort to self-defence because where injustice becomes a law, resistance becomes a duty,” it added.