By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos—The umbrella body of indigenous tribes in the Middle Belt, Conference of Autochthonous Ethnic Communities Development Associations, CONAECDA has claimed that “most of the attacks carried out by Fulani herdsmen are done with the prior knowledge and approval of the Hardo (Fulani chiefs) in the areas as well as with support by Miyetti Allah Cow Breeders’ Association of Nigeria, MACBAN.”
In a statement issued in Jos and signed by the group’s Secretary General, Suleiman Sukukum, the body lamented that “despite the large scale massacre of innocent villagers, kidnappings, cattle rustling and armed robberies carried by these criminals who identify themselves as Fulani herdsmen, the government and their organizations have insisted that the solution to the conflicts is the creation of grazing reserves; and labeling our communities as intolerant and unaccommodating.”
The Secretary General noted that it was worrisome that “the attackers tend to focus their attention on river valleys, highlands and mountain ranges, forests and hills with grave implication to the security of native communities and the nation.
”Vast lands belonging to Autochthonous peoples such as the Berom, Tiv in Taraba, Northern Banks of the river Benue are now occupied by Fulani herdsmen after dislodging the native populations. Such areas are now Fulani territories and natives are not allowed into such areas.”
“Government officers seem to be divided or lack clear understanding of the issues, while politicians out of their desire to be politically correct shy away from the realities of the dangers confronting this nation, a national crisis of unimaginable proportions is brewing and is complicated by the involvement of some bad eggs in the security agencies who are sometimes involved in the ongoing conflicts. The solution to the problem is not the creation of Fulani territories on our land but using every legitimate means to ensure our right to indigenous lands is protected in line with the relevant United Nations resolutions.”.