Who are the Fulani Herdsmen?
They are largely nomads who go through towns with their cattle. In Nigeria, the Fulani and the Hausa he northern states, with a population of well over 30 million. Notably, people of the Fulani tribe rarely ever use artificial birth control methods and, as a result of this, the tribe is very fertile, hence their vast population and their presence in almost every state across the country. The Herdsmen crisis remains a major issue in Nigeria and predates this Adminstration.
Recent attacks by the Fulani Herdsmen
Before now, the herdsmen have been known to wreak havoc in certain communities in Nigeria, but now. According to statistics provided by the Institute for Economics and Peace, 1,229 people were killed in 2014, up from 63 in 2013 and Benue State seems to be the hardest hit in recent times. Barely five days to the end of Governor Gabriel Suswam’s administration in May 2015, over 100 farmers and their family members were reportedly massacred in villages and refugee camps located in the Ukura, Per, Gafa and Tse-Gusa local government areas of the state.
Previous Adminstration Attempts in Resolving the Herdsmen Crisis
A Former lawmaker, Zainab Kure, sponsored a bill in the Senate. The bill titled the ‘Land Grazing Bill,’ is aimed at securing areas for Fulani Herdsmen across the federation and for the mapping out of grazing routes. Beyond that, the bill seeks to establish a National Grazing Reserves Establishment and Development Commission.
Timeline of Responses from President Buhari
March 19 2016
The president directed the Nigerian army to deploy troops to Agatu and take care of the flash points.
January 5 2017
The president directed the IGP who visited southern Kaduna to witness first hand the situation.
A squadron of mobile policemen were deployed to the flash points which was able quell the crisis.
The Nigerian army commenced the process of setting up two battalions in Southern kaduna, with one in Kafanchan.
The Nigerian army recovered arms and ammunition from the herdsmen and the villagers in Southern Kaduna.
The army also engaged the two warring parties in a holistic dialogue which produced peace in the environs.
April 5, 2017
F.G deploys 3,000 personnel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) Special Force known as “Agro-rangers” to protect farms and agricultural investments in the country.
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has also been charged, with the new Immigration Regulations 2017, to ensure proper registration/monitoring of all foreigners, including foreign herdsmen who come into the country.
Nigeria is a signatory to the ECOWAS Trans-human protocol which allows herdsmen from the region into the country, all the necessary precautions such as registration and possession of valid travel documents would be enforced by the NIS.
August 23, 2017
The president in a three – hour meeting with the service chiefs ordered them to rid the nation of the security threats confronting it and ensure the protection of lives and property of the citizens is giving prompt attention. He specifically ordered them to deal with threats posed to Nigeria’s corporate existence and its citizens by terrorism, herdsmen and kidnappers.
During the launch of a book by the Presidential Media Team, president Buhari retaliated his stance on insecurity when he posited ”I would at the same like to assure all Nigerians of my commitment to improve security,
on the current issue on herdsmen/farmers clashes, kidnapping and armed robberies within the confines of our limited resources, we are giving top priority to security”.
January 09, 2018
FG to organize a conference on herdsmen/farmers crisis.
January 11 2018
Federal Government to fund the creation for the cattle colonies while 16 states have declared interest in providing 5 hectares of land for this laudable policy.
Federal Government would soon hold a stakeholders’ forum with the herdsmen and other stakeholders on the implementation of the new policy.
January 14, 2018
President Buhari met with Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara over security challenges.
January 15, 2018
President Buhari met with leaders of thought in Benue State, led by Governor Samuel Ortom, at the Aso Villa.
IGP deploys additional Five Units of Police Mobile Force, Police Special Forces, Police Aerial Surveillance Helicopters and Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Teams to Benue State, places Commissioners of Police and Police Personnel in the State on Red-alert and Directs Twenty – Four Hours Crime Prevention and Visibility Patrols throughout the Country.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police Operations was dispatched by the IGP to Benue State to muster, coordinate and supervise the implementation of the new security strategies put in place by the Force to put an immediate end to the senseless killings and violence unleashed on innocent Nigerians by suspected herdsmen and other criminal elements in the two States.
Police Aerial Surveillance Helicopters, Five Units of Police Mobile Force; Police Special Forces have been deployed along with additional conventional Police Personnel, the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Police Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD) and Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Teams to Benue State.
In compliance with the Presidential directives, the IGP moved to Benue state with additional Five Units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) making a total of Ten Units of PMF deployed in the State which is in addition to other Police formations on the ground.
The Special Forces Brigade have been deployed to stem the menace between herdsmen and farmers across Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa States.
The IGP had a meeting with Governors and Stakeholders from both Benue and Nasarawa States.
Arrest of Suspects
92 Fulani Herdsmen have been arrested in Abuja by soldiers of the Guards Brigade of the Nigeria Army.
In Benue State, 8 suspected herdsmen were arrested at the scene of the killings and are currently being prosecuted, Six of them were remanded to Prison custody while the other two suspects arrested at a different scene of crime are being arraigned in court.
Troops of 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army stationed in Takum, Taraba State, have arrested nine well armed militia from Benue.
BMSG Research Unit