The person representing Kogi East in the Senate, Atai Aidoko, has reported an onslaught by suspected ‘Fulani herdsmen’ which, he said, claimed 32 lives in two local governments in Kogi State to the Senate.
Mr. Aidoko said 20 people were killed in Dekina Local Government Area, 12 in Omala while another five were maimed in the two areas.
Mr. Aidoko, who has remained in the Senate despite being sacked by the court, said the killings were carried out by Fulani herdsmen on Wednesday. Premium Times had reported the Dekina attack on Wednesday.
“This is a violent attack on the people of Oganenugo in Dekina Local Government and Omala Local Government of Kogi state by Fulani herdsmen.
“The Senate notes that on Wednesday 14th March 2018, no fewer than 20 people were killed in a violent attack on the people of Dekina Local Government and 12 people gruesomely killed in Omala local government of Kogi state by Fulani herdsmen.
“The Senate is concerned that despite the widespread condemnation of the killings going on in other parts of the country, the perpetrators of this heinous crimes have not been arrested and persecuted by the Nigerian Police Force. This has led to the continuation of the killings in the country.
“The senate is worried that the incessant attack impedes all well-meaning efforts at peace building,” he said while presenting the motion.
However, Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, cautioned Mr. Aidoko Ali against tagging the killers ‘Fulani herdsmen.’
“I want to give a perspective just for the guidance of this Senate. Before we went to Zamfara the impression I had and possibly all of these of us on the team was that Fulanis were fighting the Hausas. Or to say in a different way that the farmers were fighting with the herders. It was totally different.
“Armed bandits were killing both farmers and Fulanis. We must not allow ourselves to play into the hands of these criminals if we continue to use certain names or nomenclatures, we may be getting some people to sympathise with criminals.
“I will advise that we henceforth look at this people as armed bandits and criminals, if we say Fulani, the most innocent Fulani man will start to think this is against him and he would sympathise with them and not cooperate with us. Armed bandits can be anybody whether is Fulani, Igbo.”
He added that Nigerian security operatives are overstretched hence, their incapability of securing vulnerable areas.
Dino Melaye, a senator from Kogi West, charged the federal and state governments to take swift action on the development.
“Kogi is in the news again for the very wrong reason. The responsibility for the protection of lives and properties is the primary prerogative of government at the state and federal level. Enough of the excuse that our security agencies are over stretched. When governors, president, senators took oath of office, we promised to defend the constitution and lives and properties of those who voted for us. There has been gross display and incompetence at the federal and state level. Let us for once call Mr. President.”
He also blamed the killings on Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello, who is his political foe.
He said an invitation by the governor that Fulani herdsmen “should come and reside in the state allowed the killers the freedom of movement”.
“What we have in Kogi is not news and we expected it when my own governor told the world that anywhere they chase Fulani man away, that Kogi state is open for them to come. He was the first to say that Kogi should be used as for colony. If today, we have these criminals capitalising on the verbal diarrhoea of an individual, then automatically we invited those crises.
“Finally, on these killings, Kogi State Government has not made any official statement. Killings of this magnitude, no statement, no sympathy, no visit to the site of the incidence, nothing. This type of insensitivity to the people of Kogi state is appalling.”
Adamu Aliero (Kebbi-PDP) moved that the resolutions of the security summit recently organised by the National Assembly be implemented.
Mr. Lawan said the report of the summit will be laid next week.
James Manager (Delta-PDP) urged the federal government to facilitate the arrest and prosecution of offenders in order to nip the killings in the bud.
The Senate thereafter resolved to ‘direct the President of the Federal Republic to direct the police and the military to move in to bring the situation under control.”
The Senate also called on the Inspector-General of Police and all security agencies to arrest the perpetuators while urging NEMA to send relief materials to displaced victims.
Many states across the nation have been hit by perennial herdsmen/farmers crises that have claimed many lives. The president recently embarked on visits to the troubled spots after weeks of condemnation by Nigerians.