Fulani invasions: Annihilation or Conquest

Posted: August 8, 2013 in BENUE, Uncategorized
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The Fulani herdsmen of the northern Nigeria have become a recurrent decimal in nationwide tabloids for their frequent violent escapades, attacking, killing, maiming and destroying properties worth millions in their wake – their victims, supposed host communities.Image Image

Most recently they were known to have sacked the Tiv villages in Guma local government of Benue, bordering Nassarawa state which resulted in the death of about 20 persons with over a hundred critically injured and the usual destruction of properties and farm lands that cost a fortune. This attack was presided by an earlier attack in Awe local government of Nassarawa state where they had already visited their mayhem in same quantum.

This bewildering information is supposed to cause some sort of ripples in the national discourse but unfortunately it has become a routine and common occurrence thus the laxity and familiarity to which the news is received.

These attacks which are not reserved to the Tiv tribe only have also been leashed on communities in the Eastern part of the country and the Idomas of Benue state were not left out in this violent attacks, leaving the same effects.

These attacks have been generally believed as a result of land tussles, since the Fulani are known nomads moving to wherever they believe to find fresh grass for their herds of cattle and sheep can forage upon thus there the is a usual North – South movement year round depending on what season of the year, while the Tivs and most of their victims are farmers whose livelihood also bothers largely on land where they cultivate.

The belief is that the fulanis usually allow their grazing cattle help themselves to whatever greenery they can find in which process, crops and farms are believed to fall victim to their hungry angering the farmer who obviously may take some brash action to save his means of livelihood, resulting in an encounter which expectedly ends in a war as the Fulani would not also take to loosing cattle as claimed.

Although the above analogy has since been the belief, even in higher quarters, there now seem to be other perspectives to this unending debacle springing from happenings surrounding these frequent clashes.

Drawing from the nature of attacks that have been carried out there is an assemblage that believes the attacks are not arbitrary or resultant of encounters with their hosts but a series of orchestrated attacks with baleful motives. Those who believe in this assumption see the nationwide attacks as a chain of actions drawn from the grand plan. Looking at the attacks in the middle belt in a holistic view they argue that it cannot be coincidental that they fulanis have decided to bedevil the north central region of the nation. Citing reasons, according to these proponents, the attacks   are planned to distabilise the region for either religious or political reasons.

They argue that the fulanis attacks are a campaign of some sort carrying along with the wars  a religion- Islam which they intend to establish after their conquest in the style of the danfodians of old. In a recent outburst, the Chairman, Benue state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Bishop Yimam Orkwar accused the fulanis whom he termed “jihadists” of being part of the dreaded Boko Haram sect which has been terrorising the nation.

Noting specifically that the Middle Belt has become a target for terrorists and pleaded with President Jonathan to extend military operations to dislodge and disarm “Fulani Jihadists” and their allies from Benue and Middle Belt states of Nigeria.

 “We condemn in strong terms the recent attacks and killings by Fulani Jihadists and their allies in six local governments areas in Benue state, including Gwer-West, Guma, Makurdi, Katsina-Ala, Kwande”, he said.

He also noted that, “In Benue state, Fulani Jihadists in seeming collaboration with Boko Haram and other foreign mercenaries are causing wanton destruction to lives and properties.”

Another group of believers in this analogy say the attacks are politically aimed at distabilising the region ahead of 2015 so as to unsettle it and make way for opposition politics to take hold by discrediting the leadership of the zone which is dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. This they assume is aimed at bulwarking Goodluck Jonathan’s success in the region which is loyal to him and seen as the link to the core north.

Apart from the religious and political reasons adduced for these attacks, there is the annihilation theorists who believe the incessant Fulani attacks are an attempt to annihilate their victims to conquer and take over such lands. According to them the fulanis who are believed to have exhausted grazing lands in the north have now decided to look elsewhere for food for their cattle and are further believed not to be content with their settler status in those places and thus have decided to launch a campaign of conquest in these lands to exterminate the original inhabitants of such a place and settle there.

Chief amongst such believers is the traditional ruler Gwer West Local government, an area that has been constantly attacked by these herdsmen, Chief Daniel Abomtse, the Ter Tyoshin.  According to him the fulanis are on an annihilation mission to extinguish the Tiv race; a plan he claims is in collaboration with neighbouring states. He has variously called on the federal government to come to his aid to stop the violence he claims is sponsored and supported by neighbouring communities who plan the annihilation.

“… as usual the Fulani marauders always have their roots from the neighbouring local governments in Nassarawa state especially Doma local government. Beginning from Akpanaja which can be accessed from NASME in North Bank which is within 16 kilometers of the greater Makurdi radius”, he lamented.

Chief Abomtse is not the only one going with the connivance assertion, the Benue state governor Hon. Gabriel Suswam had at a recent meeting with his Nassarawa state counterpart Dr. Tanko Almakura aimed at fashioning a way out of the crisis pointed accusing fingers at the Nassaarawa state government of harbouring the attackers who invade his state.

“This crisis has got to a point where those of us in Benue State believe that the Fulani perpetrating the violence in Benue communities are being harboured and camped in Nasarawa State, from where they strike Benue and then retreat into hiding.
“The truth is that we cannot pretend over these things, because the Fulani and their collaborators come from Nasarawa State and unleash attacks on Benue communities, yet we pretend that we do not see them or know anything about it,” Suswam bewailed.

Also suspecting some form of assistance is the President, Tiv Development Association, TIDA in Nasarawa state; Comrade Solomon Pevkyaa  who  blamed the Nassarawa state government over the incessant attacks on his kinsmen in the state by Fulani herdsmen.

The President who made the allegation while speaking with Journalists in Lafia, the state capital, also accused traditional rulers in the affected areas of harboring the attackers to execute their inhuman act.

He wondered why the traditional rulers who are the custodians of the people’s culture and tradition, saddled with the responsibility of maintaining peace and harmonious coexistence amongst their subjects could resort to initiating an ethnic cleansing agenda of a particular
tribal group.

According to him, ‘’I perceived an agenda known to some certain forces in the state who are enemies of peace and development. Reports have indicated that these people have negotiated with the Fulani herdsmen to wipe out the Tiv people in the state and take over their farm lands as grazing areas’’

The community leader observed that despite the heinous crime perpetrated against the Tiv community, government has been lukewarm over the unfortunate development, insisting that the state government has never taken genuine and sincere steps to end the hostilities.

He posited that it was an act of injustice for government inability to set up a commission of inquiry to look into the persistent killings of the Tiv people in the state by the “sponsored” mercenaries as was done to other ethnic groups involved in similar situation.

Meanwhile the Miyetti Allah the organisation of the cattle rearers, has on their part variously indicted leaders of the affected communities who it said pay lip service to the issue of clashes. According to their leader, Alh. Abdullahi Bodejo, elements from both sides were benefitting from the crisis and thus let it continue.

“… there are criminal elements among the leaders of Fulani cattle rearers and Tiv farmers, who are benefiting from the incessant hostilities between their people, we have always noticed this. Thees elements are the real perpetrators of the bloody crisis; they have been inciting crisis because they know what to benefit”, he said.

As the accusations continue flying, the issue persists and lives lost as well as property worth millions of Naira destroyed at every clash.

  1. Aliyu Gumel says:

    What is happening between Tiv and Fulani ? We all know that Tiv and Fulani are playmates even before independence. They respect each other and if anyone takes something of the other, he won’t talk, but now reverse is . case. I wish to advise to find a lasting solutions to these unwonted killings please and please


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