*Carpets ICC For Inability To Acts Despite Petitions
BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The civil rights group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in Southern Kaduna in order to stop the ongoing organised genocide ripping across the area.
Responding to response by the Presidency on what the killings persist, HURIWA lamented that the failure of the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police to bring the perpetrators to justice and carpeted the International Criminal Court in the Hague for equally failing to act on the mater despite numerous petitions sent to it on the matter in the past five years.
According to the press statement signed by the National Coordinator of the group, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the Director of Media Affairs, Miss. Zainab Yusuf.,
“In Nigeria, violent attacks by Armed Fulani herders from northern Nigeria against sedentary agrarian community for their landed assets in the central and southern zones have escalated in recent years and are spreading southward, threatening the country’s security and stability.
“ Indeed these armed marauders are the greatest threats to national security of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and unfortunately the government of the day has continuously provided the needed motivation and encouragement to these armed terrorists based on their Ethno-religious affiliations to the top officials of the Federal Government of Nigeria headed by President Muhammadu Buhari. The media office of the President has become the official media spin doctors of these killer herders who kill at will and are never arrested neither has the central government done the needful to DECLARE ARMED FULANI HERDSMEN AS A TERRORIST GROUP but the same government was too quick to wrongly declare the unarmed civilians under the auspices of the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria as terrorists groups only because they are demanding self-determination and freedom for their unjustly incarcerated national leader Sheikh El-Zakzaky. This is a shameful show of hypocrisy and indeed the most inexplicable political hypocrisy of the 21st century World.
“With a daily occurrence, these killings of farmers and innocent civilians in their homes, including the burning down of their homes and Churches, are becoming as potentially dangerous as the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east. Yet, to date, response to the terrorism of the armed Fulani herdsmen at both the federal and state levels has been poor.
“Our team, with the single agenda of building a formidable and economically strong united Nigeria is worried that Nigeria stands the risk of witnessing massive reprisal killings because of the bloody violence unleashed on farming communities all over Nigeria without the Federal Government doing anything under the law to arrest, prosecute and punish the armed Fulani herdsmen and their sponsors in and out of government circles.
“Hence, our complete and independent initiative as a prominent civil rights group with no political affiliations, looking at the Presidency’s statement on the recent attack in southern Kaduna questions and the readiness of this government to protect the lives and properties of innocent citizens, which is the primary duty of any sincere government. To put it mildly, the attempt by the President to explain away the killings by armed Fulani herdsmen of villagers in Southern Kaduna State as reprisals is the most reprehensible and primitive approach to a grave threats to our national security. Nigeria is on fire and all that we hear from the central government are empty rhetoric and sophistry that sounds like tales by moonlight.”
Accusing Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of speaking from both sides of the mouth, HURIWA described the recent killing of about 21 villagers in Kaura and Kachia by armed Fulani herdsmen was traumatizing.
According to the statement, “More worrisome is that the Presidency is handling the matter with kid gloves evident from the statement by the Spokesperson of the President; Mr. Garba Shehu wherein he explained the incessant killings in southern Kaduna state of Nigeria.
“Garba Shehu in the statement and speaking on behalf of the Presidency said that the problem of insecurity in the southern Kaduna is more complicated than many people are willing to imagine. We ask: “please what are these complications? Is it that these Armed Fulani murderers enjoy unofficial immunity or those behind them are untouchable? The Presidency should come out clear and tell us.
“If Southern Kaduna enjoys comprehensive security deployments made up of the Army, Special Forces of both the Army and the air force, surveillance aircraft by the Air force and mobile police units that are on a 24-hour basis to forestall criminality and keep peace as claimed by the Presidency, how come an alarming spate of armed violence and terrorism are over widening in space? Or are they just an occupation force preying on the people rather than protecting them?
“Last month, the Kaura L.G.A Youths had told the World that there were armed Fulani herdsmen camping on top of Kagoro hills but both the Kaduna State Governor and his commissioner for internal security disputed this claim. Where were these security deployments?
“Aside the Southern Kaduna, which has been volatile, serial attacks by these Armed Fulani bandits masquerading as herdsmen abound. This year alone between January to now, we have recorded violent attacks from them and all the Presidency could do is to advice the local authorities to radically improve their intelligence capabilities so that security agencies will be alerted in a timely manner to enable them forestall any planned attacks. What happened when the Youths in Kaura alerted the state government? How about practical steps to address the issue through bringing the perpetrators to book?
“Between January and July this year in Kaduna State, there have been over 63 attacks and kidnapping incidents, in which over 107 people have been killed, around 49 injured, and over 66 men, women and girls abducted for ransom. In addition, over 111 houses have been burnt, 32 entire villages destroyed and 20, 000 persons displaced. These attacks have continued to happen despite the Special Forces in place as claimed by the Presidency.
“Apart from Kaduna State and for the purpose of emphasis, other states have not been left out in these serial attacks by Armed Fulani herdsmen. The evil activities are taking place in all parts of the South East; Abia, Imo, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi and other regions. The people have been crying especially in the face of the emphasis the Federal Government places on Agriculture. None of the herdsmen have been arrested and tried by the law enforcement agencies. Yet the evil acts continue unabated,” the group said.
Calling on the Federal Government to do all within its powers to end the ongoing bloodshed, the statement notes with concern: “The Global Terrorism Index in 2015 classified Armed Fulani Herdsmen as Fulani Militants and ranked as the fourth deadliest in the world and the biased policy of President Muhammadu in appeasing the killer armed Fulani herdsmen is the single most dangerous public relations damage being done to the Nigerian Fulani community because the violent activities of the few who are being backed by some influential power wielders in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is making other multi Ethnic and Religious groups in Nigeria to perceive the Fulani indigenous Nigerians as war mongers and mass killers.
“We restate that the best solution to this building up of toxic perception about the Fulani ethnicity is for the current administration to declare armed Fulani herdsmen as terrorists so the anti-terrorism law is applied fully to deal decisively with the killer Fulani herdsmen who have clearly declared war on Nigeria and Nigerians including even the peace loving Fulani like those killed by armed Fulani herdsmen in a part of Bauchi State not too long ago.”
Calling on President Muhammadu Buhari and the affected state governments need to work together, HURIWA urged the president “in the strongest possible term to declare a state of emergency in Kaduna State so that soldiers and armed security forces can continuously comb the forest and hills to decimate and degrade the armed Fulani herdsmen camping in those places.”