One person has been reported killed and many others injured in a violent clash between farmers and herders in Birnin Kudu Local Government Area of Jigawa State.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Bala Senchi, on Wednesday, confirmed the attacked in an interview with Freedom Radio in Dutse.
He said the clash resulted from a dispute over land ownership between Fulani herdsmen and indigenous farmers around Iggi forest.
The state chairman of Miyatti Allah, the Fulani socio-cultural organisation, Sa’idu Gagarawa, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday morning that many people were also injured in the attack.
He said the trouble started four days ago when some unidentified persons attacked Iggi forest, a Fulani settlement. He said the attack left many women and children injured.
He said the incident further led to a reprisal attack in which one person was killed on Wednesday.
Mr Gagarawa said violence broke out in the area following several eviction notices and court summons given to the Fulanis in the area.
He said the action contravenes a peace agreement brokered by the Emir of Dutse, Nuhu Muhammad-Sunusi, between the two parties.
The Iggi forest is in Dutse Emirate and cuts across Kiyawa, Buji and Birnin Kudu local government areas.
How The Crisis Began
The Fulanis in Jigawa had at a point boycotted all market days in the state to protest their alleged persecution and seizure of their grazing land by government officials.
Mr Gagarawa accused government officials from the Ministry of Land and Ministry of Environment of colluding with local traditional rulers to evict Fulani herders from their settlement and selling the land to wealthy individuals.
“Some government officials sold off Iggi forest, which had been a Fulani settlement for years. The land was sold to wealthy individuals, including a serving senator,” Mr Gagarawa said.
He said that was what prompted the protest and boycott of markets by the Fulani in Jigawa by the herders.
He said the Fulani shifted all business transactions, including buying and selling of livestock, as well as hawking of Fura and Nono by Fulani women, to neighbouring Kano State.
Mr Gagarawa said during this year’s raining season, his office received over 50 written and verbal letters of complaints by herders across the state over issues ranging from illegal eviction notices, extortion and persecution by traditional rulers and some government officials.
He said he communicated the complaints to the relevant authorities but he did not receive a meaningful response.
He said some officials took advantage of the illiteracy of the herders in allegedly persecuting and duping them.
The Emir of Dutse, Nuhu Sunusi, in an emergency local security meeting on Thursday, pleaded with the herders to suspend their protest. He assured that the issues would be resolved.
Abba Umar, the emirate council spokesperson, said he could not speak about the meeting because he had not been briefed on the outcome.
The Secretary to the State Government on Monday announced the suspension of activities in Iggi forest to forestall total breakdown of law and order.