The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Jama’atul Nasir Islam, Sa’ad Abubakar lll, on Sunday, condemned the incessant attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen across the country and called on the relevant security agencies to fish out the perpetrators.
The perpetrators when apprehended, the Sultan said, must be made to face justice and to forestall a recurrence.
Abubakar, while condemning the attacks, which he described as unfortunate, however, cautioned some Nigerians and groups against packaging crimes in religious and ethnic garments.
“Crimes are abominable and whoever commits them is a criminal,” he said.
He called on security agencies to be proactive and utilise maximally intelligence reports in order to nip in the bud possible eruptions of security problems within and around communities.
The Secretary-General of the JNI, Dr. Khalid Abubakar-Aliyu, who issued a statement on behalf of the Sultan in Kaduna on Sunday, said the Sultan was pained over the attacks and the blame heaped on certain ethnic race and Islam.
He viewed the fallout of the serial attacks, particularly the taking up of arms against other citizens, as another trend of insecurity that portended grave danger to the Nigerian nation.
The monarch said Nigerians must not forget so soon the adverse effects of the Boko Haram menace that claimed the lives of thousands of innocent lives.
The Sultan said, “Jama’atu Nasril Islam received with great shock and deep concern the news of incessant killings and maiming of innocent lives and the destruction of public and private properties. Of particular concern is the brutal murder of people in Agatu, Benue State, Nnibo, Enugu State and some parts of Nasarawa State.
“It is indeed alarming that within few weeks, deadly attacks were reportedly unleashed while the perpetrators go un-arrested.
“We therefore call for a thorough investigation by appropriate agencies in order to fish out the evil perpetrators, bring them to justice and forestall recurrence.
“It is indeed absurd and most unfortunate that certain groups or people ascribed the incidence to ethnic and/or religious premise and to whimsically apportion blame in order to batter the gradual restoration of peace and security in Nigeria.
“We must thus be cautious of packaging crimes on religious and ethnic garments.”
Meanwhile, communities, under the aegis of Conference of Autocthonous Ethnic Communities Association, have appealed to the Federal Government to treat the constant Fulani herdsmen/farmers’ clashes as a national crisis and give it the adequate attention it deserves.
The communities also told the Federal Government to forget the idea of a grazing reserve as no ethnic community was ready to relinquish an inch of its land for that purpose.
In a communiqué at the end of its conference in Jos, the communities said the frequent clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers all over the country were sometimes complicated by the involvement of some bad eggs in the security agencies who were sometimes involved in the ongoing conflicts.
The communiqué, which was signed by the Secretary General, Mr. Solomon Sukukum, and made available to our correspondent in Jos on Sunday, said Fulani herdsmen tended to focus their attention on river valleys, highlands, mountain ranges, forests and hills. He said this has a great grave implication on the communities and the nation. He said the vast land belonging to autochthonous peoples, such as the Berom, Tiv in Taraba, northern banks of the River Benue, were later occupied by Fulani herdsmen after dislodging the native population.
According to him, the result is that such areas are now Fulani territories as natives are no longer allowed into the places.
The communiqué said, “Most of the attacks faced by our communities are not directly arising from farming or grazing activities. Most of the attacks are carried out with the prior knowledge and approval of the Hardo’s; with clear acknowledgement by Miyetti Allah that they are reprisal. There are clear indications that the conflicts are complicated by religion, ethnicity, crimes and politics.”
The communities called on the Federal Government to dislodge and relocate Fulani from all occupied areas belonging to the indigenous communities and to ensure the return of the rightful owners.
Also, the Nigerian Army has said it will explore all means to combat insurgency in the North-East and stop the incessant attacks by the herdsmen on the farmers in the Middle-Belt and the South.
The General Officer Commanding, 2 Division, Ibadan, Maj. Gen. Laz Ilo, stated this at the annual military training/competition hosted by the 32nd Artillery Brigade, Owena Barracks, Akure, the Ondo state capital, on Friday.
He said the issues of insurgency and Fulani herdsmen were being tackled headlong and the army would continue to tackle the menace until there is peace in the affected areas of the country.