Some groups of Fulani herders have alleged that they are being persecuted and killed by some communities in Ebonyi State and the government remains reluctant and adamant despite repeated complaints.
Some of the herders, who are now relocating, confided in BBC Hausa service on Wednesday, saying that in 2020, at least 21 of their members were killed and their residences burnt and the police and the government are not willing to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“Not long ago, they came back and killed two of our cows. Following that, we have been receiving threats that they will come and burn our houses, after they did that to our brothers in another community.
“As a result of that, we are living in fear. Whenever we go out, our families are jittery of attack. That (is) the reason we are relocating. We are many, I can’t give (an) exact number of those relocating.
“In Ebonyi State in 2020, 21 herders were killed and we cannot account for the number of cows that have been killed and no attack goes unreported to the police and most of the deaths that occurred, its the police that use to retrieve the corpse.
“For the cows killed, the police will come and confirm the incident and videotape the scene,” the relocating herder said.
One of the leaders of the herders in the state also said in Ebonyi, herders are not safe. “We receive frequently, complaints of attacks from one location to another in Ebonyi. The attack on herders is everywhere in the state except Eko area where the Fulani and residents are living in peace.”
The herders also denied wrongdoing over alleged encroachment of farmlands, saying no herder is above the law, and such person caught doing so should be prosecuted.
Earlier, a video circulated on social media, showing Fulani herdsmen being evacuated from Ebonyi.
The video is allegedly raising tension and justifying the claims of the herders alleging killings and persecutions.
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In the footage, a man speaking in English is quoted as saying that the Fulani have been destroyed and their belongings are being confiscated and that they are required to evacuate because Fulani and Miyatti Allah are not loved in the state.
The police in Ebonyi State, has, however, debunked the claims that Fulani herdsmen are leaving the state, saying that only one herder and members of his families relocated to Tabara, where he was given a chieftaincy title.
The police spokesperson in Ebonyi, Odah Loveth, told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday that the promoter of the video has been arrested and that only one herder, Alhaji Adamu, left to Taraba with seven members of his families, not many herders as been circulated in some places.
“Anyone promoting anything more than this is an enemy of the state, because in Ebonyi State, there is an intermarriage between the Igbo ladies and the Fulani herdsmen and they are living in peace with one another,” the police spokesperson said.
“Also, nobody can rule out crime in any society, no any ethnic group is being targeted, even the police were not spared, crime had no boundary, the said 21 herders killed misrepresented the fact.
“There was a report of two persons killed at Isheke forest when some herders encroached farmlands and the farmers took the law into their hands and the police arrested the culprit and charged them to court.
“The suspects previously caught stealing and destroying herders’ hut, in (the) process killing a toddler, were same herders from another community. Thus, crime committed has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity. It can happen anywhere in the country and anyone can be a victim.
“The commissioner of police in Ebonyi has summoned the herders group for a meeting and has assured them the command’s continue protection of all residents in Ebonyi, irrespective of where one’s comes from,” the police spokesperson said.
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