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Herdsmen, Boko Haram endanger Nigeria, say Soyinka, Ohanaeze


herdsmen• Urge swift, firm action against attackers, backers
• Arewa leaders rule out ethno-religious motives
• 16,000 cattle rearers killed, says Fulani group

Nigeria is heading towards the precipice if insecurity, reflected in the activities of Boko Haram and herdsmen, is not caged, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko, South East senators and some major groups in the country warned yesterday.

The groups included Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Enugu State chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN).

However, Arewa Consultative Forum and a Fulani group urged caution on the part of critics of the herders’ actions, the latter saying that about 16,000 cattlemen have been killed in conflicts with farmers and others.

The apex Igbo socio-cultural Organisation condemned the attack on some communities in Enugu State by suspected herdsmen and urged the Federal Government to urgently address the problem to avoid a situation where ethnic militias will emerge to ensure safety in their environments.
The organization also dismissed the proposed Grazing Bill as anti-federalism and unconstitutional.

The President-General Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr. Gary Nnachi Enwo- Igariwey, noted in Abuja that the incessant attack on communities by heavily armed herdsmen all over Nigeria threatened national unity and peaceful co-existence as they can destablise the country by a synchronised action if they so decide.

He stressed: “Why is it that the herdsmen are so heavily armed, who is arming them and where are they from? It is time to have proper identification of herdsmen so that they can be tracked. The security challenge is enormous, how do we now know when it is herdsmen and when it is not Boko Haram spillovers from their dislodged bases because the style of attack in some of these communities is the same style of attack by Boko Haram? They sack villages and withdraw. The Federal Government should pay attention to these actions. Government should investigate and find out those behind these killings and bring them to book.”

But the Arewa leaders have asked Nigerians to resist attributing ethnic and religious connotations to the various crises.

They unanimously condemned the attack by some herdsmen on the Ukpabi Nimbo Community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, as “most unfortunate and barbaric.”

They ACF, in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim, said “criminals hiding under whatever guise and committing heinous crimes against innocent people and the state should be treated as such and in accordance with the law.”

ACF called on Nigerians “to be more patient and show understanding with one another, especially now that President Buhari is determined and committed to the war on insurgency and corruption”.
According to the Nobel laureate, the Federal Government’s quest to diversify the economy through culture and tourism is endangered by insecurity.

The literary giant spoke yesterday in Abuja at the National Summit on Culture and Tourism in his capacity as the chairman of the first plenary session with a presentation entitled, ‘‘The killing culture of the neo-nomadic.’’

Soyinka, represented by the Director, Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU), Osogbo, Osun State, Dr. Wale Adeniran, located insecurity as “principal enemy” of the quest.

He noted that “culture is closely intertwined with tourism – the former, in fact, often drives the latter,” stressing that “the destination uppermost in the minds of most tourists we know is  – Culture.” Soyinka insisted that both share friends and – enemies.

He went on: “Of the principal enemies, seeing that we find ourselves within the precincts of governance, I intend to engage your attention in this brief address to just one: Insecurity. That inability of any vacationist to let go completely, relax, submit oneself completely to the offerings of a new environment – the sounds, sights, smells, textures and taste. Of Culture itself, in and or out of the touristic intent, there is no ambiguity in the mind of its enemies. They make no bones about their detestation – call them Taliban, Daesh or Isis, al Shabbab or Boko Haram. Their hatred is pathological and impassioned to a degree that goes beyond the pale, beyond insanity and sadly beyond cure. The duty of governance towards such retrogressive outbreaks remains unambiguous.”

Locating a link between the heinous crimes which Boko Haram has perpetrated against Nigeria and Nigerians and incessant attacks by the herdsmen, Soyinka said: “After Boko Haram, what next?  In fact, at this moment, Boko Haram has no ‘after’ since it is by no means ended, no matter what technical expressions such as ‘militarily degraded’ mean.

“But let us assume indeed that we are already in the past of Boko Haram. It is now clear that the succession is already decided, the ‘vacated’ space is already conceded, and that the new territorial aspirants are already securely positioned. The entire nation appears to be theirs without a struggle, and the continuity of an established Nigerian necropolis north to south and east to west is being consolidated.

“Some necropoles are actually architecturally fascinating. They attract visitors from distant places, but those are works of veneration, artistry and dedication. They are visual feasts, among whose structures the visitors actually picnic, leave flowers and symbolic gifts to hovering ancestors. Latin America is full of them. The Nigerian widening necropoles leave only the taste of bile in the mouth, the corrosion of hate, stench and rage.

“When I read a short while ago, the Presidential assurance to this nation that the current homicidal escalation between the cattle prowlers and farming communities would soon be over, I felt mortified.

“He had the solution, he said. Cattle ranches were being set up, and in another 18 months, rustlings, destruction of livelihood and killings from herdsmen would be ‘a thing of the past’.  Eighteen months, he assured the nation. I believe his Minister of Agriculture echoed that later, but with a less dispiriting time schema. Neither, however, could be considered a message of solace and reassurance for the ordinary Nigerian farmer and the lengthening cast of victims, much less to an intending tourist to the Forest Retreat of Tinana in the Rivers, the Ikogosi Springs or the moslem architectural heritage of the ancient city of Kano. In any case, the external tourists have less hazardous options.”

Soyinka also decried the devastation that insecurity has wreaked on “internal tourism.”

His words: “However there is also internal tourism, to be considered a premium asset – both economically and in spirit of nation building and personal edification. This was an exercise I indulged in in the early sixties as by-product of other  engagements, such as research. A lot however was simply under curiosity. I can modestly claim to be among the top twenty-five percent internally traveled Nigerians, acquainted with the smells, textures and tastes of their geographical habitation. I wish the late Segun Olusola were around to testify to the sudden bouts of tourist explorations we made in his Volkswagen Beetle in the pre-war sixties. But now, would the young adventurous set out to visit the mystery caves of Anambra and its alleged curative pools from mere interest? They would think twice about it.”

The social activist decried the inability of government to articulate a coherent policy to tackle the menace, saying: “ It is not merely arbitrary violence that reigns across the nation but total, undisputed impunity.

“Impunity evolves and becomes integrated in conduct when crime occurs and no legal, logical and moral response is offered. I have yet to hear this government articulate a firm policy of non-tolerance for the serial massacres have become the nation’s identification stamp.

“I have not heard an order given that any cattle herders caught with sophisticated firearms be instantly disarmed, arrested, placed on trial, and his cattle confiscated. The nation is treated to an eighteen-month optimistic plan which, to make matters worse, smacks of abject appeasement and encouragement of violence on innocents.

“ Let me repeat, and of course I only ask to be corrected if wrong: I have yet to encounter a terse, rigorous, soldierly and uncompromising language from this leadership, one that threatens a response to this unconscionable blood-letting that would make even Boko Haram repudiate its founding clerics.”

He recalled attempt made “to utilize the Open Forum platform of the Centre for Culture and International Understanding, Oshogbo, to launch a national debate on the topic – ‘Sacred Cows or Sacred Rights.’ The signs were already clear and the rampage of impunity was already manifesting a cultic intensity of alarming proportions. For reasons which are too distasteful to go into here, the forum did not take place. We were already agreed that General Buhari be invited to give a keynote address, based on his long experience in such matters as former head of state, and as a cattle rearer himself who might be be able to penetrate the mentality of this ‘post-Boko Haram pestilence’.

“ That challenge remains open, but should now involve this gathering, which surely includes tourist and educational agencies. They should join hands with human rights organisations, the Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and local Vigilance associations etc. It is a gauntlet thrown down to be picked up, and urgently, by any of the affected or troubled sectors of society, or indeed any capable and interested party at this conference. The CBCIU is prepared to collaborate.”

As a hunter of note, Soyinka laced his remarks with personal encounters with herdsmen during his hunting expeditions.

He said: “I had observed a change of quality in forest encounters with cattle herdsmen over the years. These changes had become sufficiently alarming for me to arrange meetings with a few governors and, later, with the late National Security Adviser General Azazi.

“At the time, we thought that they were Boko Haram, infiltrating into the south under guise of cattle herding. That was then, and of course that surmise has never been firmly proven or disproved.

“Recently however, I returned from a trip outside the country about to find that my home ground had been invaded, and a brand-new “Appian way” sliced through my sanctuary. That ‘motorable’ path was made by the hoofed invaders. Both the improvised entry and exit are now blocked, but interested journalists are invited to visit. In over two decades of living in that ecological preserve, no such intrusion had ever occurred. I have no idea whether they were Fulani or Futa Jalon herdsmen but, they were cattle herders, and they had cut a crude swathe through my private grounds. I made enquiries and sent alerts around, including through the Baale of our neighborhood village. There has been no repeat, and hopefully it will remain the first and last of such invasion. What it portends however is for all thinking citizens to reflect upon, and take concerted measures against.”

Describing herdsmen as humanity’s earliest known tourists, Soyinka added: “They must be taught however that there is a culture of settlement, and learn to seek accommodation with settled hosts wherever encountered.

“The leadership of any society cannot stand idly and offer solutions that implicitly deem the massacres of innocents mere incidents on the way to that learning school. For every crime, there is a punishment, for every violation, there must be restitution. The nomads of the world cannot place themselves above the law of settled humanity. “

Mimiko challenges religious leaders over herdsmen’s attacks

Dr. Mimiko who a raised fresh alarm over the incessant killings of innocent Nigerians and wanton destruction of property by herdsmen, charged religious leaders to pray more for the country.

The governor while addressing  members of the state’s executive of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), during a  courtesy visit to him in his office warned that, if the heinous crimes against humanity being committed by the herdsmen were not checked, Nigeria would be moving towards a precipice.

He noted that religious leaders must as a matter of urgency and national importance rally round and pray fervently for the unity, peace and development of the country, which at the moment is confronted with challenges.

Against  the allegation by  the  Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) that his administration  diverted the bailout funds meant for state workers’ salaries, Mimiko told the religious leaders that a letter had been written to the agency to correct the claim.

As against the commission’s claim that only N7.9 billion was paid to workers out of the N9.4 billion bailout given to the state, Mimiko affirmed that his administration  added N50 million to the federal lifeline to pay salaries in the period.

He also denied that this administration had spent local councils’ allocations, saying that instead 10% of the state government’s IGR was being remitted to the councils every month.

State chairman of CAN, Rev. John Ayo Oladapo, lauded the governor’s pragmatic leadership in the last seven years, saying that his good works would speak for him after his tenure.

Since 1999, over 16,000 Fulani herdsmen killed, says Fulani group

A splinter group of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), called Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN), through its National Secretary, Alhaji Sale Bayari, spoke to journalists in Jos yesterday on the incessant conflicts.

He claimed: “For the past 15 years, the herdsmen have been crying and they have been losing people, they have been losing human lives, women and children. We have the records. We have the inventory. Within the period of 20 years, we have lost about 16,000 herdsmen in Nigeria from 1999 to date. We have the names, we have the details.

“Just like we said during Niki Toby Commission that we had the names of our people who were killed and that if at the end of the day we bring the list, people would be shocked. As at that time, the cries were that there was genocide against Berom in Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos South. By the time we brought names verifiable names of victims including men, women and children, young and infants, the entire state was shocked. Ninety percent of people killed and submitted to the commission were Fulani and not Berom.”

According to him, if there is a national judicial commission of inquiry, and the herdsmen decide to bring out their victims, a lot of the people who are screaming today will go to jail, “some may even be sentenced to death if they are taken to court because it would be found that they precipitated or were responsible for what had happened. The unfortunate thing is that the Fulani man is like the Jew because he suffers one common thing with the Jew, they are always in the minority.”

“Therefore, like the Jews do, when the Palestinian will kill one, they will 100 Palestinians in return may be to serve as a deterrent, may be to have an aggregate of the population, the minority and the majority. If you are to do an aggregate of this thing, maybe it will be one Jew to 100 Palestinians or maybe 50 Palestineans to one Jew. So, if you kill one Jew they will say until they kill 50 Palestinians they wouldn’t have taken revenge,” Bayari said.

“What happens is that if you kill one Fulani person, when he realises that he does nothing, he will always be found to be one and be killed until you cannot find one on the surface of the earth. For the killing of that one, you will see him behaving as if it is 100 that have been killed. May be he is doing that as a deterrent.“

He further affirmed that the Fulani man was not the first aggressor: “I have been with Fulani people, I am their product, I have gone to school to a reasonable level. I have not lost touch with them; I have identified with their cause, especially their lawful cause.”

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  • omoagbala60

    What is wrong with a nation of cattles roamed by cattles?

    • vic


  • Osanebi Osakuni

    Nigerians are now realizing the severe injury they have inflicted on the nation with the ‘change’ project. No one needs to be told that Buhari is behind all these blood lettings by his kinsmen. It is not possible for anyone to be roaming the streets with sophisticated military weapons without challenge in a dispensation we are told that fighting insecurity is the cardinal program of this government. We shall either live with it or defeat Buhari and his kinsmen. It is also very interesting to note how the ‘wailing wailers’ group has swollen to the extent of admitting the likes of Prof Soyinka. Welcome prof but you are no longer trustworthy.

    • Square

      As your name implies; “OSA”. your brain is small. what is Buhari’s connections on these killings. So you mean Buhari has set these nomad to kill his own kinsmen in northeast also. are you deaf these fulanis also kill in Nasarawa, Yobe etc.
      If you need to be educated on this issue, contact me or any learned person on this issue. Open your brain, stop this campaign of disintegration.

      • Anny

        They kill minority settlers who are not hausa/fulani and they claim the place immediately. People are bound to make all sorts of conclusions rightly or wrongly and they give their reasons which are sound because deaths are the greatest issues that show who a leader is. So if a leader is lethargic in some cases he should give convincing reasons why people’s reasoning is wrong. Are you a boko haram?

        • Square

          Dear Anny,
          I do not need to remind you of the METASIN neither do I need to lecture you of the friction between the Ebiras and Igalas in Kogi State between 2009 – 2013. Does it means the Fulanis wanted to take over the community in Enugu?
          The fact remain that primitive culture of people must be eradicated. This live of moving in the city centres with bows and arrows, swords and “dagas” must not be permitted anymore.
          Critique the live of the Fulanis, you will notice those cows do not belong to them. It is feudal system in the Fulani empire where cows come down from the highest in hierarchy to the lowest i.e the nomads.
          Summarily, no leader would want Nigeria to disintegrate during his own time. I am completely sure if my AWO was alive and preside over Nigeria, he would not want the country to disintegrate during his own time. So also GREAT ZIK, OJUKWU etc. Stop this campaign of DISINTEGRATION

          • Chigozie

            Square: it is not a campaign of disintegration. It is just that we find ourselves hiding from the truth. Study modern states and you will understand: Nigeria finds itself as an experiment of Lord Luggard. And the Hausa/Fulani till tomorrow tells everyone and writes it boldly on national dailies and magazines that the Nigerian State was graciously handed over to them by the british and is the estate of their great grand father given to them to use and manage as they like. And that, they claim they have been doing and intend to continue doing so. have u asked, why is impossible for the different components of the entity called NIgeria barred from sitting and discussing how to co-habit. HIPOCRISY ALL THROUGH. ONE NIGERIA MEANS PROTECTION OF THE SO CALLED NORTHERN NIGERIA. I’m not a tribalist but growth of a nation is achieved through openness and truthfulness. period

      • Osanebi Osakuni

        First Osa means mighty. You replied as someone in pain because of the through definition of Buhari. If indeed, the Fulani is killing themselves then the WORD of God has started coming to pass. The Northern leaders started the project of making Nigeria ungovernable by sponsoring the bombing of Churches along with Worshipers in 2011 particularly from Kano. Unknown to them, the Church is the body of Christ. Whoever challenges the Church challenges God but God doesn’t lose to man. HE said in the Bible: ‘I will turn your enemies (HIS worshipers in the Church) against themselves’. Further it is written: ‘…for their habitation must be made desolate’. The Bible also said: ‘ Though Heaven and Earth may pass away, non of these words shall go unfulfilled’. My views are not mine. Gods has done it against Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan where they still killing themselves after starting from the Church. Buhari and his blood letting kinsmen can never escape the wrought of God. Their defeat is unavoidably near.

      • Chigozie

        @ Square pls we should call a spade a spade and not a farming implement. The Fulani/hausa grp knows the targeted people they set out to exterminate – none Fulanis but they are following the agelong instructions of their great ground father – utsman Dan Fodio. Whether in Jos, Nassarawa, South East or South South the same people are responsible for the barbaric activities – THE FULANIS. cattle rearing is a private business and must be treated as such. It is unacceptable to destroy other peoples businesses like farm lands and farm produce by the rampaging nomads.

      • daniez

        plz sir firstly i will tell you,be respectful to others, don’t be too arrogant on your words to people sir,if you don’t know, let me bring to your notice that pmb decleared hundreds of cattle as his asset and it is being reard by the same fulani, maybe those rearing pmb’s cows came from mars and doesn’t carry ak47. but if you are a genius as you claim, you surppose to ask who is arming this fulanis and after all their attrocities none of them has been arrested they continue their blood shed from one state to the other and our security agents shy away from doing any arrest and the most funny thing our law makers doesn’t take any meaningful measure to stop futher massacre.if you are wise enough think about it very well.

  • KWOY

    What the ACF did was to”deny” the involvement of the Fulani; every other thing, including the pretended condemnation, is just secondary. But it is not really important, because no miracle in the universe can make the Igbo & the Hausa race cohabit. The past 100 years of forced cohabitation by a west that only profits from conflicts in colonies have been a bloody nightmare for the Igbo & I believe the purpose it will ultimately serve is to serve as a pointer to what should not be.

    • Iskacountryman

      let eboes migrate to cameroon then…

  • vic



  • KWOY

    A few extra words for the Igbo: You know well the reason the forces within Nigeria and outside it have conspired to keep you out of power for all time. So, your liberation lies in your hands – not from the north, west or from London. You must use your wonderful brain to build a local nuclear bomb. You can brew chemical gases that will save you from ACF & their agents of death! Begin to think!!!

    • Iskacountryman

      do not get an eboe man thinking…or he would scam his brother eboe…

  • Anny

    The cattle are tired of trecking, and you do not know what is good for your animals? Plan your business so that you do not come into conflict with other people’s businesses and the law!!!!!

    • Iskacountryman


  • Marcus Ijele

    ” They make no bones about their detestation – call them Taliban, Daesh or Isis, al Shabbab or Boko Haram.”
    One ugly common thing among these group is their religeous back ground. Even the Fulani Herds men fall into the same religeous background–which is Islam. It is so funny Arewa saying no one should see the issue as religeously inclined. Too bad they suggested patient while people are dying.

    • Iskacountryman

      why are always in a hurry?…cant you die patiently?

  • ade

    Simply tell the Fulani Herdsmen(FHM) to rear their cattle not, on other peoples lands or farms! What they are doing is called TRESPASSING, which is directly against the law. They can be restricted to North East of Nigeria since the Boko Haram people appears to have been cleared away. The FHM have also made driving and walking in some township streets hazardous from the presence of the cows and their dung(faeces) littering the environment.

  • John Paul

    Nigeria has serious security challenges that have been building up incrementally for decades now

    Before the beginning of the Fourth Republic – other than the Otokoto case – no one heard about kidnapping anywhere in Nigeria. But now kidnapping, armed robbery, political violence, alongside rampaging herdsmen, is becoming a reality that we must refuse to accept in Nigeria

    Our elected officials have to get serious about these security challenges. Having a senator in Abuja when crime is running amok in Nigeria is a compete waste of time

    Instead of the Nigerian Senate to have appropriated about N36 million for each of our 108 senators, to purchase a Toyota Land Cruiser for themselves, should our senators not have used this same money to hire 10 additional police officers, in each of our 108 senatorial zones, for 10 years, at the cost of N30,000 per police officer

    Do we even need the senate.

    Nigeria’s over-bloated legislature is becoming too expensive for us to maintain, especially in light of our very serious security challenges. Even if we have to retain our presidential system of Government, we should start thinking about scrapping the senate just as the Kenyans are thinking of doing, because they believe that the senate is a completely useless institution

    Most countries on this planet are not burdened by a bicameral legislature. They even have a parliamentary system: UK, Canada, Israel, France, Germany, Australia, etc

    If we scrap the the Nigeria Senate, the over N30 million that each Nigerian Senator is making in salary and allowances, per annum, can pay for 83 additional police officers, for each of the 108 senatorial zones in Nigeria.

    Most Nigerians will choose 83 more, athletic, police officers for their senatorial zone, as opposed to one obese and overpaid senator

    Let us scrap the Senate and hire more law enforcement officers, or start a Municipal Police System, to secure ourselves, as opposed to the masses fighting each other, while each of our senators consume the resources that can be used to provide security for our women, children, old people and men

  • Mizch

    If the South Easterners are serious, let them BAN the sale, the buying and eating of cows and its beef for at least three months. Let them be in mourning. Let them declare Cursed and Abominable any cows that are seen within their territory.

    • Iskacountryman

      eboes love ngwo ngwo beyond reason…we would offer discount…try something else…

  • Mizch

    SEE THIS TRIBAL SENSE OF JUSTICE: “What happens is that if you kill one Fulani person, when he realises that he does nothing, he will always be found to be one and be killed until you cannot find one on the surface of the earth. For the killing of that one, you will see him behaving as if it is 100 that have been killed. May be he is doing that as a deterrent.“

  • Let me get this straight. Some fulani nomads passing through another man’s land in other parts of the country that they do not own, choose to fight and kill the owners of the land just so their cattle can feed on the grass, then afterwards sell the same cows to the same people they have fought as beef, milk and so on? This is yet another manifestation of what’s wrong with the country. There are cows in other parts of the world. They are farmed and traded without resorting to these barbaric behaviors. In any case, what right have the Fulani nomads over lands in Enugu, Osun and others? In better developed climes, they should be paying the farmers whose land and crops they have destroyed, but that would have made too much sense in Nigeria.
    Is it too much to ask the owners of the land to defend themselves? It is not enough that the politicians are having a field day, gorging on our collective patrimony, must some itinerant herdsmen be allowed to put salt on a festering wound? But, wait a minute. The last guy who killed a Fulani man got death sentence in return. Whither Nigeria?