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HURIWA says FG insensitive to killings

By Ernest Nzor, Abuja
11 August 2022   |   2:36 am
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, described as insensitive the refusal by the Federal Government to call the aggression and killings by herders what it is.

Buhari. Photo/facebook/Asorock

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, described as insensitive the refusal by the Federal Government to call the aggression and killings by herders what it is.

The group, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, stressed that the matter was not a conflict, urging the current administration to tame the insecurity in the land.

It said the nomadic Fulani herdsmen “are the aggressors and not the supine and peacefully accommodating host farmers.”

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had indicated in a memo to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development that the President Buhari administration would launch a ranching programme to address the ‘clashes’ between herders and farmers in Abia, Delta and Kwara states.

Reacting, Onwubiko said: “It is insensitive for the government to brand as ‘clashes’, the killings.

“There is a need to correct the misrepresentation of the killing of farmers in North Central and Southern Nigeria. The situation is not a conflict at all, but an ongoing carnage.

“For instance, herdsmen have killed over 4,000 farmers in South West alone in the last six years, according to statistics by the Agbekoya Farmers Association. The South-South and South East are not in any way immune from the onslaught of the herders, who have increased their presence in Southern Nigeria through commercial motorcycling and pastoralism.

Hundreds of farmers in the South-South and South East have been mauled, raped and kidnapped by the invaders.”

He continued: “A report funded by the United States Agency for International Development in 2019 said an estimated 7,000 Nigerians, including farmers, were killed by violent, AK-47-wielding pastoralists in the Middle Belt states of Benue and Nasarawa.

“About a thousand farmers have since been killed in the North Central from 2019 till date. In fact, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who has been one of the most vocal against herdsmen aggression, was once targeted for assassination on his farm in Benue.”

“The development has worsened the food crisis in the country, as hundreds of farmers in Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Ebonyi, Enugu, Oyo and other places known as the food baskets of the country have been killed by aggressive Fulani herders on the farm-grabbing mission.

“Yet, the Buhari government continues to turn a blind eye to the sacrilege. It has even gone ahead to introduce the controversial water bill to give more power to Fulani herders in the well-watered and lush southern part of the country.”