In the light of the recent bloodbath in Benue State by suspected Fulani Herdsmen, the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) has slammed Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, for previously downplaying the herdsmen crisis.
Mohammed, it would be recalled, had previously said the prowling herdsmen were a lesser threat than the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“I think acts of terrorism should not be confused with terrorist acts,” the minister had told BBC in response to why the Nigerian Government was yet to declare the herdsmen as terrorists.
But reacting to the recent killing of over 50 people in Benue by the herdsmen, the OPC described the comment previously made by the minister as “an uncanny statement”.
The Yoruba nationalist organization further said instead of using the earmarked $1 billion insurgency fund to fight Boko Haram, the Muhammadu Buhari administration should rather utilise the fund to fight the Fulani Herdsmen which has been “internationally reputed as the fourth deadliest terrorist organisation in the world”.
OPC’s President, Frederick Fasehun, said in Lagos, “In the wake of this ugly genocides came the shameless and insensitive pronouncement by the government’s spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, on no less a medium than the BBC, that the Fulani herdsmen were a lesser threat than the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
“It was an uncanny statement. For the government to have this unperturbed attitude to Fulani herdsmen, internationally reputed as the fourth deadliest terrorist organisation in the world, amounts to ignoring a dangerous viper on the bed. Ranking after Boko Haram, ISIL and El-Shabaab on the Global Terrorism Index, armed Fulani militias today constitute the real threat to national unity, with their rapacious evil campaigns throughout the length and breadth of this country.
“As far as OPC was concerned, clearly, the pastoral nomadic lifestyle of the Fulani herdsmen was no longer fashionable and sustainable, and they should be compelled to embrace modern ranching as obtained worldwide.
“This cannot continue. Killers must be brought to book and made to feel the full weight of the law. Nobody has a monopoly of violence; and in the face of threats to their very survival, people will eventually resort to self-help, a move that can tear this country apart and turn Nigeria into a free-for-all killing field. The military and other security forces must tackle the menace of Fulani militias by declaring a security emergency, disarming Fulani herdsmen and bringing Fulani killers to justice.”