According to the international the organization that ranks terrorism activities around the world in what it terms; Global Terrorism Index, the Fulani herdsmen have been ranked the fourth most deadly terrorist organization in the world after Boko Haram, ISIS, and al-sabab in that order.
The herdsmen had reportedly killed over 2,000 people and destroyed several settlements in their quest to take over lands for the grazing of their cattle. From Enugu, to Ondo, Benue to Plateau; and from Zamfara to Nasarawa, the herdsmen have left trails of deaths and destruction of properties worth millions of naira. In many local government areas in Benue State, the herdsmen have allegedly occupied communities’ lands after killing many inhabitants, burning their houses, while those who managed to survive their onslaught have to run away and are now classified as internally displaced persons (IDPs).
In a state like Benue, where the people pride themselves as the ‘Food Basket of the Nation’, the ctivities of the herdsmen have set agricultural production several years back and if not contained will contribute to the scarcity of food in the country by next harvest season as many farmers out of fear of being killed have stayed away from the farms.
In Kogi State, it has been reported that farmers now only go to farms in groups, as it is considered a big risk going to farm alone because the herdsmen allegedly view individual farmer as a soft target that they can kill with ease. Similar stories abound in Plateau State and much of the North Central Nigeria where farming is the main occupation of the people.
Similarly these herdsmen that also rape women, operate as cattle rustlers from Zamfara to Kaduna; Katsina to Kano; and from Niger to Kebbi states, where they have rustled thousands of cattle and left in their trails deaths and destruction of properties.
While all these nefarious activities are allegedly being perpetrated by herdsmen, the victims and Nigerians in general are bemused that no arrests or prosecutions of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are made by the security agents. There are even attempts by the Presidency to attribute the attacks to Libyans, and other non-Nigerians even when most victims was clear about their observations that it was the Fulani herdsmen that were killing their people and taking over their lands.
It is therefore time for government to rise up to its core responsibility which is the protection of lives and properties. Government exists for the protection of lives and properties and any government that failed in this responsibility has no basis to exist.
There are also allegations that the Boko Haram may be working together with the herdsmen to spread terror across the country. Given the fact that internationally, the killer herdsmen have been classified as a terrorist organization, it is time for the federal government to also classify them as such in Nigeria, so that the anti-terrorism act would be applied on them. The needless loss of lives and properties of Nigerians by herdsmen must stop. And only the federal government can stop the killers. It must do it fast before people resort to self-help.