Who Shall save Cross River?
By Eval Rexson
Ever since the civil crisis of 1965 – 70, nothing has pushed the peace of Nigerians to the precipice like insecurity especially the incessant violence carried out by dare devil Fulani herdsmen in some parts of Nigeria. In the past Fulani herdsmen were known to be a set peaceful Nomadic quietly raising livestock.
But recently they tend to have diverted their attention into the business of manslaugtering farmers, raping, stealing, razing houses and destroying the crops of innocent Nigerians. The recurring attacks of Fulani herdsmen has become a bone in the neck of Nigerians especially amongst Cross Riverians and indigenes of Benue State.
Fulani herdsmen since 2013 have been responsible for the death of over 3000 Nigerians.It is quite pathetic to realise that Some states have been on the blacklist of this evil drivers for a long time with states like Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Adamawa, Enugu and Cross River on the hit list.
Benue state is however reported to have encountered the highest number of attacks between February 2013 with the killing of over 200 persons in Agatu up till the recent killings in January 2018 in Guma and Logo Local Government Area. In Cross River Odukpani, Yala, Abi, Obudu, Ogoja have also been mercilessly attacked by the same herds men. Even though most of their evil activities are been under reported in Cross River, the state is presently in disarray and fear of further attacks by Fulani herdsmen especially at this time in which they would be given a final quit notice in Benue state.
On April 1, 2017, not less than 10 people were killed and over 3500 displaced in Obio Useire, Eniong Abatim, Odukpani Local Government Area. In November 2017, 5 persons were killed and over 150 fled their homes in Ugaga ,Yala Local Government Area. Also in Mbiabong Ito community of Itu south Clan Odukpani about 200 indigenes were chased away from their homes by this same herdsmen with so many women and children injured. Some indigenes of Igbo Ekureku, Adadama and Itigidi in Abi Local Government have also been complaining about destruction of their crops by some Fulani herdsmen although no life has yet been lost.
However it is important for security operatives to understand that this crimes can be aborted before it is been executed.
Nonetheless, It is also disheartening to realise that the attacks carried out by this dare devil herdsmen are well organised and orchestrated. A cross fire between them and some Nigerian security operatives is so unchallenging because Fulani herdsmen are equipped with so many sophisticated weapons.
Fulani herdsmen like other terrorist sect such as ISIS and Boko Haram have evolved strategic plans that keeps them ahead of Nigeria security operatives. This is noticeable in the time taken to steal, rape and vandalise life and properties before the arrival of security operatives. It is also important to applaud the Nigerian police for all their efforts to curb the menace even how they often come under attack by this herds men.
The Nigerian Police force have recently lost about 2 officers and many injured in Benue state just in the first 10 days of January 2018. I won’t be mixing words to say Fulani herdsmen are slowly and steadily emanating into a terrorist sect in Nigeria.
Recently, many Fulani herdsmen have been seen fleeing Benue state into some parts of Cross River. It is not news that Cross River like Benue state is blessed with so many grazing pastures in which this herds men sought for land and water to feed themselves and their livestock.
Reports from Governor Ortom’s visit to President Buhari indicates that despite the deployment of over 20,000 police men in Benue, the military mighy likely be the last option on the table of finding lasting solutions to rural banditry by Fulani herdsmen. We all trust the efficiency of the Nigerian army that force is always balanced up with an equal and counter force. It is glaring that the herdsmen are aware of this development and are seeking solace and hideout in Cross River.
It is about time for security to tighten up in Cross River in order to abort any plot of savaging the peace of cross riverians. Just as security measures are being taken to arrest the situation in Benue, cross River state should also be on the watch list of security operatives. Not only Cross River but also other surrounding states so as to ensure there is no transfer of operations by Fulani herds men from Benue to Cross River
Insomuch as cattle rustling is bad,the destruction of life’s and properties is not a better option for Fulani herdsmen to use as a reason of becoming rural bandits to bedevil Nigeria. As they flee Benue into Cross River, security operatives should do well to ensure there is no further uproar and violent crisis in Cross River especially by the rapid increase of Fulani herdsmen in Cross River State.
Eval Rexson can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org