On the night of July 9, 2018, the border communities of Adamawa and Taraba states came under yet another devastating attack by rampaging Fulani herdsmen in which more than 50 Nigerians were killed and scores of houses and barns pillaged or burnt while hundreds were displaced. The peculiar feature of those attacks is that they were serial invasions. According to members of the communities, the Monday night’s attack was the fourth in two weeks and that more than 100 persons were killed with in the period. The Adamawa State Government, apparently powerless to stop the invasions, has expressed dismay about the incidents and the consequent displacements. The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ahmad Sajoh, condemned the attacks on Numan communities and promised the displaced persons that help was on the way.
The attacks were reportedly carried out by those described as ‘Fulani militiamen’ who targeted farming communities around Gojefa, Bujum Yashi, Bujum Waya, Sabonlayi, and Bujum Kasuwa villages in Numan Local Government Area of AdamawaState. Other affected communities were Anguwan Bishop Yotti, Todung, Budon, Bunzum and Bamga Dutse villages in Taraba State. The Traditional ruler of Demsa chiefdom, Alhamdu Teneke, disclosed that most communities in the area have abandoned farming, a development that might lead to famine in the near future.
The member representing Numan in the Adamawa State House of Assembly, Sodomti Tayedi, stated that no week passed without an attack by the Fulani militia. He also corroborated the ruler of the Demsa chiefdom. “We are hopeless and helpless; economic activities here have stopped. This is a farming season and if we cannot go to the farm, then poverty and starvation are what is left,” he said. He recalled that the attacks began in November last year and have persisted till date.
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The Adamawa/Taraba attacks were not even acknowledged by the Federal Government which has the constitutional duty of preventing or repulsing them. They were not even ‘honoured’ with the regular ritual of a Federal promise to find the killers, arrest and prosecute them. Although those promises have been made for the umpteenth time and equally broken for the umpteenth time, failure to even make them in this instant demonstrates that the government has realised that it has lost credibility when it comes to the issue of the ravages of herdsmen. It has become all too clear to Nigerians that the government has neither the will nor the desire to confront the problem, for reasons that are difficult for most Nigerians to understand. President Muhammadu Buhari’s chosen solution is to pray. And Nigerians do a lot of praying; but the President should check out the natural result of praying without work.
The Federal Government is living in denial that we are in a state of insecurity of the extreme kind. Very soon we would confront violence-induced famine resulting from the inability of Nigerian farmers to have a sense of security in their farms. It is trite to state that there can be no development without a state of peace. The killings must be brought to the barest minimum if we cannot entirely extirpate them. But what kind of country tolerates the slaughter of its citizens day in day out? Nigerians know it can be stopped. They also know we have the wherewithal to do so. Their frustration is that they see no effort, no attempt on the part of the government. Nigerians are served platitudes about peaceful co-existence, conspiracy theories and manifest inventions about opposition politicians using the killings to discredit the Buhari government. They are offered more promises and imaginary plans to end the killings. Yet after thousands have been killed in hundreds of incidents, no one has been taken to court for prosecution. No one has been penalised. That is impunity; and impunity fuels greater violence and encourages lawlessness. Nigerians live in a state of fear where millions of citizens are afraid to venture into their farms. The government appears indifferent to the fact that it is failing in its primary duty, which is the security and welfare of citizens.