Fulani herdsmen

A group in Delta State, South-South Nigeria, has asked herdsmen to immediately leave a community in the state because of deadly clashes with farmers.

The group, Urhobo Progressive Union, said the recent killings in Uwheru, Ughelli North of Delta State, would no longer be tolerated.

Fourteen people were feared killed in February when suspected armed herdsmen invaded Uwheru.

Newsmen reported that at least 86 farmers in Uwheru have been killed in herdsmen-related attacks in the past 12 years.

“The Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU) demands that these killer herdsmen immediately leave Uwheru Kingdom, and the entire Urhobo land,” the president of the group, Moses Taiga, said during a condolence visit to Uwheru on March 5.

Mr Taiga said no words could compensate the people of Uwheru for their losses.

“Words cannot fill the vacuum in your lives caused by the death of your loved ones that have turned you into widows, made you fatherless, orphans, and, possibly, left some without heirs,” Mr Taiga said.

“It is so heart-rending that these senseless massacre of defenceless citizens of the Urhobo Nation by suspected Fulani herdsmen took place without provocation, and while our sons were legitimately engaged on their farmlands, for food and day-to-day living. This is highly condemnable.

“Our ancestral lands, farms, forests and agricultural resources must be free from these hostile and vicious herdsmen.

“The continued presence of these killer herdsmen greatly hampers the productivity and profitability of our people and farmlands. The consequences of these on the peace, social cohesion, market stability, local economic survival and food security of the Urhobo Nation are negative and beyond comprehension,” he said.

The group called for a permanent military presence in Uwheru to prevent further killing and called for the Delta State Government and lawmakers to enact anti-grazing law in the state.

The group urged President Muhammadu Buhari to rise up to the challenge and stop the killings in the state.

“The Federal Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, must muster the moral, political and constitutional will in stopping the heinous activities of killer herdsmen in Urhoboland.

“The menace is a huge obstacle to the peace, unity and sovereignty of the Nigerian Nation. The Urhobo People are law-abiding, but our patience is fast waning. It is the duty of the Federal Government of Nigeria to protect the lives and properties of every citizen of this great Nation. Mr President must act now, lest anarchy reigns,” it said.

The Uwheru Kingdom in reaction to the killings had placed a ban on the sale and consumption of beef to protest attacks on their people by herders. Most of the beef consumed in Nigeria are from nomadic Fulani herdsmen.

The Uwheru Kingdom had also decided that the herdsmen should be expelled from the communities.

Nigeria is plagued by incessant deadly clashes between herders and farmers, which has spread from the country’s middle-belt region down to the south.

The 2019 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report said herders killed more Nigerians in 2018, compared to the number of deaths caused by Boko Haram in the country.

The GTI report ranked Nigeria, for the fifth consecutive time since 2015, as the third country with the worst impact from terrorism, globally.

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