The Fulani have accused the Nigerian military of extrajudicial killing of their people in various parts of the country in the guise of hunting down criminals.
Speaking under the umbrella of their socio-cultural organisation, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), the Fulani cited the alleged killing of six of their people by soldiers recently in Saminaka town of Lere local government area of Kaduna state as a case in point.
The MACBAN leadership also threatened to sue the Nigerian military to seek redress for the brutal killings, intimidation, harassment and infringement on the rights of its members.
In a statement signed by its National Secretary, Baba Usman Ngelzarma and issued to in Kaduna at the weekend, the group said ‘enough is enough’ for the level of injustice meted on the Fulani.
“MACBAN has petitioned security agencies and the state government on the continuous harassment and killing of our members. It is ideal to investigate before dispensation of justice because there is no law in the whole world that says or gives room for prosecution without trial.
“Even though one in question is a criminal, the law permits that he should be tried or given fair hearing before prosecution. Especially where the person is not guilty of any offense.
“The authority (sic) should investigate because they use traditional leaders of villages to infringe on people’s rights. If anyone commits any offence or you are suspicious of someone in your domain, nothing stops you from contacting the leadership of the Miyyeti Allah and Ardo who were inaugurated by the traditional rulers to serve as intermediary and representatives of the Fulanis.
“But you carry laws into your hands by killing the person without reaching his leaders to ascertain if he is a bona fide member. We demand that the military authorities, as a matter of urgency, identify soldiers responsible for this gruesome killing of our member”, Ngelzarma emphasised.
The group demanded the payment of compensation to the said victims’ families by the military without which it affirmed that it would head for court for redress.
MACBAN gave out the names of the six Fulani allegedly killed by soldiers in Lere as Samaila Muhammadu, Isa Sule, Saleh Hassan, Mati Usman.
The other two, he said, were killed on the 21st of May, 2014 at about 1500 hours, after being arrested while returning from their grazing point in Southern Nigeria, to their place of origin in Jigawa state.
Efforts to get reaction of the spokesman of the One Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Colonel Usman Abdul, on the allegations proved abortive as he neither answered calls to his cell phone nor replied to a text message to it by our correspondent.