Herdsmen, Boko Haram, IPOB And The Question of Terrorism
Nigeria News take a look at the criminal activities of the herdsmen and why they have never been regarded as terrorist group.
Today, a sight of herdsmen signals danger. They are armed with dangerous weapons, including guns and knives as they move in numbers with their cattle across the country.
The nomadic Fulani herdsmen have been around over a long time, living peacefully with their host communities until recently that they have turned to Janjaweed, killing and sexually assaulting people.
They go as far as kidnapping and robbing people of their personal belongings across the country.
And despite their criminal activities, which of course had sent many innocent people to graves, the herdsmen had remained a strong factor in the political equation of the present administration.
The Federal Government’s idea of how to stem the criminal activities of the herdsmen is to legalise grazing so that the cattle will be freed to feed anywhere around the country.
As at now, the bill to make grazing a law is at the National Assembly, which means if it eventually scales through, no farmer will be able to exhibit any lordship over his land.
Even when local farmers cry for security against the invasion of the herdsmen on their farms, the government does not see it as terrorism, it is a crime and should be addressed as simple as that.
From Plateau to Kaduna; Ekiti to Edo; Osun to Oyo, herdsmen have killed many people more than the havoc the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB had wreaked on Nigeria in the last few months.
As a matter of fact, the criminality of herdsmen began before the dawn of Boko Haram insurgence.
Though herdsmen may have not wasted as many lives as Boko Haram had done, there is no indication that the government is doing anything to stop the brutality of the herdsmen on Nigerians.
It is true that the herdsmen do not hide under any organization like IPOB and Boko Haram to perpetrate evil, these set of people intimidate innocent Nigerians everyday.
According to the definition by Oxford English Dictionary, a terrorist is a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
Who knows if herdsmen are killing for political purpose? They have committed so much crime, yet the government has not taken drastic measure to stem their excesses.
On Thursday, the Federal Government came out to say that the herdsmen are mere criminals and not terrorists as many have thought.
Following the designation of IPOB as terrorist group by the Nigerian Army and consequent declaration by the High Court in Abuja, many Nigerians had demanded that herdsmen be pronounced as a terrorist organization.
The former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili had described President Muhammadu Buhari as a sectional leader over the deployment of soldiers in Abia State to stop the activities of IPOB.
To Ezekwesili, President Buhari had refused to take concrete action against Fulani herdsmen just because he is Fulani.
But to the Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, President Buhari is not a sectional leader and herdsmen cannot be tagged as terrorist group because they do not carve an area for themselves as territory like IPOB has done in southeast and Boko Haram in the northeast.
He said that though some herdsmen had been found to attack innocent people, they are criminals and government is handing their case according to the law of the land.