Prince Tony Momoh, former Minister of Information, said on Tuesday that insurgents and terrorists were hiding behind the crisis between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the country to cause violence.
Momoh, one of the national leaders of the ruling APC, said the issue of frequent clashes was not new to Nigeria but that the latest dimension it had assumed showed that some people were hiding behind it to cause division in the country.
While saying those behind the latest crisis may be Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, or Libya returnees, he also advised Nigerians to desist from politicising or adding religious undertones to the issue.
“These people have been there for many years.
“They go to the farms with their cattle, eat up the produce on the farm and then there is a problem between the farmers and the herdsmen.
“Sometimes, they settle and sometimes they fight.
“But what is happening now is worse than Fulani/farmers problem.”
However, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, founder of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), said the latest attacks by the herdsmen in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, and Adamawa states were a genocidal and organised ethnic cleansing by the herdsmen against owners of the land.
Fasehun, who accused the Federal Government of indifference towards the attacks by the herdsmen, also lambasted Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, over a statement attributed to him that Fulani herdsmen were a lesser threat to Nigeria’s unity than the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
While urging the security agencies in the country to declare a security emergency, he also said the root cause of the attacks should be unravelled and those culpable brought to justice.
He said: “As many have observed, there appears to be a case of organised ethnic cleansing against Northern minorities and other Nigerian tribes by rampaging Fulani herdsmen and some other militia groups in the North.
“In the wake of this ugly genocides, came the shameless and insensitive pronouncement by the government’s Spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, on no less a medium than the BBC, that the Fulani herdsmen were a lesser threat than the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). It was an uncanny statement.
“For the government to have this unperturbed attitude to Fulani herdsmen, internationally reputed as the fourth deadliest terrorist organisation in the world, amounts to ignoring a dangerous viper on the bed.
“Ranking after Boko Haram, ISIS and El-Shabaab on the Global Terrorism Index, armed Fulani militias today constitute the real threat to national unity, with their rapacious evil campaigns throughout the length and breadth of this country.”