Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Niger Evicts 200 Fulani Herdsmen Over Security Fears

fulani herdsmanAt least 200 Fulani herdsmen have been reported evicted from Niger State under tight security on the orders of the state government. They were taken back to Kaduna State weekend. It was learnt that the nomads arrived last week in Biri forest from Rijana in Kaduna State in search of green pasture for their cattle. But they were advised to vacate the area as it is a military shooting range.
A group of herdsmen, who went in search of a more conducive place, later settled for Gunu village in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger state.
But their sudden presence in the area frightened the people of Gunu, who described the large number of the herdsmen and their cattle as an invasion of their peaceful community by the Fulani.
The elders of Gunu took up the matter with the local government authority, the police and the Department of State Security (DSS).

The Fulani herdsmen of recent have been viewed with mutual suspicion following the wanton destruction of lives and property allegedly perpetrated by them in some parts of the country.
In an attempt to prevent the scenario in Benue and Taraba states and based on security advice, it was gathered that the Niger State government ordered the immediate eviction of the herdsmen. It provided trucks that evacuated them back to Kaduna State.

But the North Central zonal chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Alhaji Isma’ila Rebe, faulted the Niger government’s action, describing it as “a harsh directive on harmless herdsmen who were forced to relocate to the state after losing their grazing land in Rijana village of Kaduna State”.

Recounting how they migrated to Gunu, Rebe said: “They are from Rijana in Kaduna state. They relocated to Biri in Niger state after their grazing land in Rijana was sold to members of the public. They are harmless herdsmen”.
According to a security official, one of those who supervised the eviction of the herdsmen, the action was sanctioned by Governor Babangida Aliyu.

“The governor frowned at the sudden invasion of the state by the Fulani. Though he sympathised with them, he was left with no option, considering the insecurity in the country. The governor even advised them that if the need for movement in such number arose in future, they should always liaise with their association so that government would be adequately informed”, the source said.

But the Special Adviser on Nomadic matters to the governor, Malam Sadiq Abubakar, said contrary to speculation, only 40 herdsmen, all members of the same family, were evicted.
He said the government provided four trucks for their movement back to Kaduna, adding that the process was peaceful.

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