A Nigerian state governor has declared “war” against nomadic herdsmen, after another deadly attack in an escalating conflict killed two people.
“The killing of our people must stop,” Ayo Fayose, governor of the southwestern state of Ekiti said on Monday during a visit to the community affected.
“We must take all action to stop it. They have killed two. This Ekiti war must be fought with the totality of our spirit, strength.”
Fayose called on the crowd to “bring down” any cow grazing unnecessarily in any part of the state and local communities to “terminate the lives” of herdsmen that attacks them.
The governor’s comments go way beyond any of his counterparts also affected by the Fulani conflict, which has seen a spate of attacks this year against farmers in central and southeastern states.
President Muhammadu Buhari last month directed police and soldiers to “take all necessary action to stop the carnage” and has proposed the creation of grazing land to prevent further clashes.
But Fayose promised to send a bill to the state parliament to criminalise cattle grazing in the state after last Friday’s attack in Oke Ako, which also left five others critically injured.
The mainly Muslim Fulani herders and largely Christian farmers have clashed for decades over increasingly scarce land and resources, particularly in Nigeria’s religiously mixed central states.
But the violence has escalated in recent months and spread further south.
In February, hundreds of people were said to have been killed and about 1,000 homes destroyed in farming villages in the Agatu area of Benue state in a wave of attacks blamed on Fulani.