Gov Bello Indirectly Suggests ‘Fulani Herdsmen’ Behind Niger State Kidnappings

In what many may see as indirect attribution of kidnappings in Niger State to herdsmen, Governor Abubakar Bello has inadvertently suggested that herders were behind the recent abduction of 52 persons in parts of the state.

Recall that suspected bandits were said to have carried out the attacks on Government Science College Kagara and some communities in Shiroro Local Government Area. About 27 students were reportedly among those kidnapped.

But while speaking on the Shiroro and Kagara school kidnappings during a televised press briefing monitored by THE WHISTLER on Friday, Bello made emphasis on the plights of herdsmen and how their alleged negligence had complicated the country’s security challenges.

The governor digressed from the issue of banditry and lamented government’s alleged negligence of the education and welfare of the Fulanis’, whom he said make up “90 per cent of the nation’s herdsmen”.

Bello stressed that the government was allegedly paying more attention to farmers through introduction of different programmes, while herdsmen were left to solve their problems themselves.

“Sometimes we need to understand ourselves to find a solution, maybe they (herdsmen) also have problems. We need to talk to them to read their minds and to understand what their problems are so that we can address them.

“And the truth of the matter is that since independence, no one has paid attention to herdsmen and mostly Fulanis’ because not all herdsmen are Fulanis’ but at least 90 per cent are Fulanis.

“No one has paid attention to their education. All we do is that we see them on market days and all we do is laugh. They come from the forest to the market day, they do what they want to do and they go, nobody pays attention.

“We are about N200 million, more people are farming, we have paid more attention to farmers, all the programs, incentives to farmers – Zero to herders.

“They also help to increase our GDP and economy; they also can create jobs. So, the time has come to look at them and to capture them in the system, and that must be done for an everlasting peace,” he said.

The governor further said that it was against this backdrop that a meeting featuring traditional rulers, village heads, ward heads and head of herdsmen would be held in the state on Tuesday.

He said the state government and stakeholders would discuss the way forward in bringing lasting peace to the state.