As the south of Nigeria descends further into violence, the extent of the humanitarian crisis in Southern Nigeria has gone completely unnoticed by the international community. Indications emerged at the weekend that over 800,000 persons who were rendered homeless in Benue communities by armed herdsmen are still trapped in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps in the state.

National President of the Benue Alliance for Truth and Justice, BATJ, Mr. Peter Shande made the disclosure while briefing the press in Makurdi in reaction to the recent statement credited to Alhaji Salihu Mohammed, Chairman of Arewa Youths for Peace and Development. Several communities across the state have been destroyed by armed Fulani herdsmen and our people sacked from their ancestral homes. “They have rendered over 800,000 people homeless who now live in IDP camps. It was therefore provocative and an insult to the sensibilities of the people of Benue and Nigeria for the Bauchi governor to support Fulani herdsmen to be carrying AK47 assault rifles while herding their cattle. Our take also on the spurious demands by the Salihu led Arewa Youth group is that the Fulani menace has dominated the six years Governor Ortom has spent as the Governor of Benue State. It is unfortunate to say that he has buried more citizens killed by the Fulani than all the past administrations put together. The invasion by the Fulani herdsmen on Benue communities is more horrendous than the killings in Zaki Biam. This is a band of terrorists gang that has held Nigeria to ransom, raping, burning and killing citizens and none has been apprehended and prosecuted. To make matters worse, they are now armtwisting the federal government to grant them amnesty. For what?”

See below the latest summaries of incidents: 28 February 2021 – Due to the armed Fulani militia attacks on Benue State, more than 800 000 people are still placed in IDP camps. The Chairman of Arewa Youths for Peace and Development, Alhaji Salihu Mohammed, called for an unreserved apology from Governor Samuel Ortom for his statement about Governor Bala Mohammed being a terrorist. However, Mr Peter Shande, the National President of the Benue Alliance for Truth and Justice (BATJ), defended Governor Ortoms and stated he does not owe an apology as the armed Fulani militia has held residents of Benue state as victims of their carnage for too long. 23 May 2018 – Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, The Sultan of Sokoto, warned religious leaders and groups to prevent making statements that could mislead their followers to war. While hosting a Ramadan dinner, Abubakar cautioned this threat of war while addressing several heads of security agencies, Sokoto residents, journalists and religious leaders. Some Christian leaders stated that if Leah Sharibu were to die for Boko Harams actions, a religious war would take place. Abubakar reminds religious leaders that Leah Sharibu’s abduction was not done by Muslims conniving with Boko Haram, rather “terrorism has no connection to religion or ethnicity”. 26 June 2021 – The state council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), spoke out as a result of a recent threat of attack by armed Fulani militia aimed towards the Delta State. NUJ calls on the State government to enhance security throughout public places, as seen media houses, police facilities and public schools are considered soft targets for armed Fulani militia attacks in the state and other various parts of Nigeria. NUJ issued a communique advising all residents of Delta State to be security conscious and condemning all the murders of police officers and the destruction of their police facilities because if this trend continues it will raise a serious threat to innocent civilians lives and properties. Secondly, NUJ urges the state government to effectively implement camps for IDP’s that are placed at strategic locations to look after residents that are forced to leave their properties annually by the floods. Thirdly, the union contradicts the idea of establishing a PPP model for the newly established universities in the state, as it will lead to job loss for existing staff and will discourage easy access to tertiary education by qualified Deltans. Fourthly, Congress disapproves of public health care workers sharp practices and unprofessional conduct towards patients in these hospitals throughout the state and calls for these hostilities to end. Fifthly, the union expresses concern for a ‘rising wave of cultism’ in secondary schooling. It has been revealed that some teachers are supportive of the sales of hard drugs and this is a breeding ground for cultism to thrive in Nigeria’s society, thus urging parents and guardians to be vigilant. Additionally, the union calls for the government to upgrade state facilities, such as media houses, and finish all the uncompleted projects, such as the Omadino-Ughoton-Adagbrasa road project, the Ayakoromo Bridge project and several others. Finally, concerning traffic, the union calls for the installation and upkeep of traffic lights in strategic locations in the towns and major cities of Delta state, to ease traffic and allow for easier transportation. 27 June 2021 – Recent attacks on the South-West of Nigeria by armed Fulani militia have urged commanders of Amotekun Corps to strategically work with neighbouring states and deploy soldiers along the borders to protect residents from further attacks in the region. However, the underlying issue is that the Fulani militia is armed with weaponry far superior to that of the corps, making it increasingly difficult for the corps to effectively defend the state. Brigade-General Joe Komolafe, the Amotekun Corps Commander in Ekiti State, states that the outfit is ready for the security situation within the state and they are situated all over, nonetheless they need sophisticated weaponry and modern-day technology to effectively reduce and prevent crimes. Chief Adetunji Adeleye, Ondo State Amotekun Corps Commander, ensures the region and residents are collaborating effectively, as seen through public enlightenment increasing vigilance and the increase in quality information provided by members of the public. Similarly, farmers need to be compensated if the crops or farmland is destroyed by armed Fulani militia or their cattle, as this will greatly reduce the clashes. The need to be better equipped is slowly progressing, as recent recruitment of over 500 personnel were made and a donation to Amotekun Corps from the government of 20 vehicles. Thus, the ability to provide maximum security to residents and allow them to sleep peacefully at night is a top priority and neighbouring regions are making an effort to work together to achieve this goal. 29 June 2021 – Ogoni Elders Forum, Gbo Kabari Ogoni, is an elite organization based in Rivers State, consisting of Ogoni elders, called out to the government for help as armed Fulani militia forcefully took over their land. This is a threat to the residents peace and security as the Fulani militia overpower them with sophisticated weaponry, to the extent of attaching guns to the cattle. Vast areas of farmland are now occupied by the armed Fulani militia, recently in Ogoni communities of Seme Luekun, Baa Luekun, Dae, and Kpaa in Khana LGA and Eteo LGA of Rivers State.

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