From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The recent escalation of attacks on Nigerian villagers suspected to be the handiwork of Fulani Herdsmen is false because the attackers are Cattle- Rustlers and not innocent Fulani Herdsmen. A Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Nature Trust International (NTI) has affirmed.
A statement by the NGO’s Executive Chairman, Professor Mohammed Al-Amin said: “it is necessary to make this patriotic call to Nigerians to be able to distinguish these criminals from the law abiding Fulani herders, the current generalized opinion about the perpetrators of these raids as the entire Fulani tribesmen are dangerous.”
“While engaging relevant authorities for an integrated solutions to the environmental problems facing, especially the Sudan and Sahel Savannas, we persistently, over these years warned the authorities of impending crises due to the drying of lake chad on one hand and the unhealthy competition over the scarce and fragile natural resources between Fulani Cattle rearers and sedentary farmers In Nigeria.
“Historically, the act of Cattle rustling is quit ancient and global, with the first suspected raids conducted over seven thousand years ago. It existed in Nigeria at a very insignificant dimension for several decades.
“However, the aftermath of the 2011 Arab spring contributed to its. Exponential rise consequent upon the huge amount of weapons that were let loose in the hands of non state actors that got it widely circulated in Africa south of the sahara”, the statement reads.
The group alleged that “a substantial amount of these weapons were transported by criminals into Nigeria from Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania through the Transboundary pastoral routes between the Republic of Niger and Nigeria. It eventually got to the hands of criminal gangs of Cattle Rustlers.”
The NGO also averred that the amount of such weapons in their possession is more than the capacity of any single law enforcement agency, let alone the ordinary sticks of the Fulanis.