Herdsmen, Police And 3 Million Protesters
Nigeria News takes a look at the protest by Civil Society Organisation against the activities of herdsmen in Adamawa State.
A coalition of faith-based and Civil Society Organizations staged a rally in Yola, Adamawa State to demand a total stop to herdsmen/farmers crises in the country.
The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take decisive action against the menace that is trying to divide the country along ethnic or religious lines.
All dressed in black, members of the coalition, initially converged on PZ roundabout to march to Government House, a distance of five kilometres to make their grievances known to Governor Muhammad Umaru Jibrilla but armed policemen dispersed them, saying the gathering would undermine the fragile peace of the state.
The group later reassembled at the NUJ state Secretariat just a stone throw to the governor’s residence, but even before getting there mobile policemen have barricaded the road leading to the Government House.
They, therefore, accused the police of manhandling them. This is the typical scenario of what Nigerians pass through whenever they are out to protest against any abnormal situation.
It is very easy for the police to stop them on the ground that the protesters have come to disrupt the peace of the nation.
The peace, which has eluded the citizens as herdsmen move from one part of the country to another killing and maiming children and women.
On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari announced his tour of Benue, Zamfara, Taraba and Rivers to sympathise with families who had lost their loved ones to various hoodlums attacks.
He was yet in Zamfara when another 26 Benue women and children were killed by the nomadic herdsmen. In January, the herders killed 73.
Scores were killed on Mambilla Plateau, Taraba State. Perhaps before the wave of murder would blow on Adamawa, the residents came out to protest against the herdsmen but were stopped by the police.
The protesters, a faith-based organization were seen as representing a religious group, which of course might lead to a religious clash if not quickly abated, the police had reasoned.
Most of the protesters, Christians said that many of those that were killed by herdsmen were Christians.
President Buhari said in Zamfara that any herdsman caught with arms should be arrested and prosecuted. The protesters told our correspondent that they had decided to organize the rally because the police had failed to protect them against the herders.
“We have identified scores of herders carrying AK47 and reported them to the police but nothing has been done to arrest them, one of the protesters, Aminat said.
She explained that the best way to express their grievances against the incursion of the herdsmen was the protest, which the police would not even allow to take place.
“We do not have guns to protect ourselves and we are not ready to go to war with the herdsmen. We have reported them to the police but it seems the police are protecting them,” another protester said.
He lamented that the residents were suffering as slaves in their own land and could not stand against any herder even when their farms were being destroyed.