The Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Jigawa, Mr Sa’idu Gagarawa, at confirmed the incident to Channels Television.
He explained that the incident was a reprisal after two Fulanis were severely beaten by farmers from Dagalma community.
Gagarawa said, ”Two Fulani men were found soak in blood after being beaten by the farmers, and that is what prompted some Fulani youths to embark on a reprisal which resulted in the unfortunate death of one person.”
“The dispute on the grazing land assigned to the Fulanis for several years has been resolved by the community leaders only for the farmers to rekindle the issue now,” he claimed.
But a relative of the victim who pleaded for anonymity said the herders attacked the indigenes whenever they were on their way to their farms.
He said, ”Before we can reach our farms we have to cross a river and usually when we are on our way back home, they stop us and cease what we are bringing back home.
The area which is the home town of both Governor Darius Ishaku and the former Minister of Defense, General (rtd) Theophilus Y. Danjuma, has been notorious for various crimes ranging from kidnappings, communal clashes, to armed robbery.
The Police Public Relations Officer, David Misal, said the suspects are yet to be identified but more patrol teams have been deployed to the area for possible arrest.
Operatives of the Sokoto Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested Mallam Ibrahim Rijiya, the Chairman of Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Gummi Local Government Chapter.
Also arrested were the council storekeeper, Aminu Musa and Abdullahi Bashir.
The trio were arrested for their alleged involvement in the criminal diversion of three trailer loads of 1,800 bags of fertilizer, and a truck-load of farming herbicide belonging to rice farmers in Gummi.
Rijiya, who is also the District Head of Rijiya Gummi, Gummi LGA, Zamfara State, is also alleged to have diverted three trailers loaded with fertilizer and other supplies for their local farmers, and later sold each bag at the sum of N3,000 including other farm materials.
The EFCC had received a petition from representatives of seven different groups of rice farmers, alleging that sometimes in July 2018, the Federal Government approved and disbursed 12 trucks of fertilizer and herbicides, on loan to 83 cooperative groups in Gummi and that no member of the association fully collected all the items as approved by the government.
All efforts made by the Gummi Chapter of RIFAN to get the items back, proved abortive.
Investigation revealed that Rijiya conspired with Musa to divert and sell the three trailers of fertilizer and a truck load of herbicide to Bashir at the cost of N17.1million and shared the money among themselves.
The suspects confessed to their roles in the crime, while the three trailers of the fertilizer have been recovered from them. Efforts are in top-gear to recover the diverted herbicide.
In a statement on behalf of the President, the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu questioned the intentions of the NEF and the other so-called leaders in delving into issues with unsolicited, ill-intentioned advice.
“They have no one’s authority to make such pronouncements.
“The polarising role of the Northern Elders Forum and all those other groups dabbling into issues of security to score cheap political points has for long been a sore point in Nigeria’s body polity.
“They should not be allowed to mislead anyone, least of all the Fulani herders.
“The Buhari administration is fully devoted to finding a lasting solution to the herder-farmer clashes in different parts of Nigeria- one that would be acceptable to all the parties involved.”
The President, therefore, calls on all Nigerians to help keep the peace in the country.
Youths from various Benue communities including Zaki-Biam in Ukum local council, Otobi in Otukpo local government on Friday trooped out to protest against the planned Ruga Farm settlement in the state.
The youths claim that the planned Ruga settlement for herders violates Open Grazing Law in the state and will instigate violent clashes between farmers and herders in the state.
President, Benue Youth Congress, Orngu Angu during the protest argued that the proposed Ruga settlement is an anomaly and the youths in Benue State will not allow it.
“We are out marching on Benue streets this morning to protest the said plan of the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish Ruga settlement in Benue State.
“Benue State has recorded a lot of herdsmen crisis. When we heard the establishment of Ruga – for herdsmen to come and settle with us! We are out here this morning to say that we reject this.
“Our stand has remained on ranching. Benue State has a bill that says all herdsmen should ranch their cattle, anything short of that is an anomaly, and we Benue youths reject this,” Angu said.
In Otobi community where the proposed Ruga project signage has been erected, the community leaders and the youths have sent a protest letter to the state government. The letter was received by the Otukpo local government chairman, Mr George Alli.
Alli while receiving the letter said the message is well received and will be sent to the state government.
He also stated that it is the duty of the state government to give land out to people coming to settle in their state and claimed that the Ruga project signage was erected without approval from the state government.
“All lands belong to the state government, it is only the state government that has the right to give land to whoever it pleases. The locals are have trusted the state government with the lands.
“We maintain that Ruga settlement is a law against open grazing in Benue State. If anybody wants to ranch, they should go to the state government. The state government will show them where they should go for ranching. They cannot come and point where they want to ranch,” Alli said.
A community leader from Otobi community in Otukpo local council, Ocheme Simon warns against any attempt to forcibly take their land for Ruga project, according to him, this will breed violence.
Leaders from Ukum local government also joined their voices with the youths during the protest. They called for an end to the proposed ruga settlement.
They lamented that Benue State have suffered heavy casualty from herdsmen related crisis and they are not ready to cede their land for Ruga settlement.
A group of campaigners against open grazing of cattle in Benue State called the Movement Against Fulani Occupation (MAFO), has faulted a report by Amnesty International’s where it allegedly put the number of deaths in Benue State between 2016 and 2018, at 726.
According to the group, almost 10,000 farmers have been killed within the time frame, as against the figure mentioned by Amnesty International.
The legal adviser for the group, Mr Terence Vembe, at a press briefing on Saturday noted that over 3,900 persons were killed in Agatu alone, while scores of persons had been killed in Gwer West, Makurdi, Guma, Logo, Buruku and Kwande Local Government Areas.
“In view of the above and many other observations, MAFO wishes to state as follows: the casualty figure of 726 for Benue State, has been strategically downplayed in order to water down the impact of the crisis of Benue communities and present a different picture to the rest of the world, especially coming from a globally known organization like Amnesty International,” he said.
Vembe, therefore, called on Amnesty International to re-evaluate its report by conducting fresh investigations in the affected Benue communities.
The group also faulted comments credited to Senator George Akume, alleging that the Benue State government is responsible for the killings.
An international human rights group, Amnesty International (Amnesty) has released a new report which suggests that negligence on the part of the Nigerian government in the herders-farmers clashes across the nation, has led to the death of over 3000 Nigerians.
Amnesty International alleged in its new report that the deaths recorded could have been avoided or mitigated if the government was not lax about investigating communal clashes and bringing perpetrators to justice.
In a recent report, both the Nigerian government and the army were accused of contributory negligence.
Below are 6 major claims made by the rights agency.
Amnesty International says it has been monitoring the clashes and documenting its violent eruption since January 2016.
According to the group, the report was put together by research which included 10 field trips, visits to 56 villages in 5 states and interviewing about 262 persons. The group says it has analysed 230 documents and 566 audio-visuals.
2. Crisis Stems From Scarcity Of Resources
According to the report by Amnesty, the turbulence began between farmers and herders due to “scarcity of and competition for resources, mainly land, water, and pasture”.
3. Over 2000 Killed In 2018 Alone
In 2018 alone, over 2000 people have died from clashes between herders and farmers, says the report by Amnesty International. It noted that within the space of 3 years, at least 3,641 had taken place owing to this communal clashes.
4. Weapons of Assault
AK-47s, G3s, locally made guns, rocket launchers, and machetes were used in the clashes says the report by Amnesty. The report also listed the makers and manufacturing dates of ammunition casings found in the field.
5. Alleged Poor Government Response
While the report acknowledges that the Buhari-led government ensured the setting up of a committee headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Amnesty claimed that the government did not take extra initiatives to curb the menace.
The committee headed by the VP was tasked with visiting all communities affected by the crisis to better understand how to “ameliorate the sufferings of the people in those areas and resettle them,” however, the communique claimed that beyond issuing statements and addressing the attacks after they have happened, “not enough is being done by the Federal and State governments to bring those reasonably suspected of involvement in crimes to justice”.
Amnesty further claimed that despite calls to address the “widespread cycle of impunity, only a few measures have been taken to bring perpetrators to account”.
6. Failure of Security Operatives
The report also went on to assert that a couple of the attacks would have been avoided if the security operatives played their roles accordingly. It cited cases where operatives were withdrawn just before attacks took place.
There were also claims of police collecting money from villagers and still not arresting attackers.
Issues of human rights violations were also raised against security operatives with some major jibes taken at the Nigerian army.
However, both the Nigerian army and then the government have expressed complete disapproval of the latest report by Amnesty International.
The Nigerian army accused Amnesty International of working to destabilise the country.
In a statement on Monday by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, the military alleged that the human rights group has deviated from the core values, principles and objectives of the global organisation.
He said, “This is noted through the fabrication of fictitious allegations of alleged human rights abuses against the Nigerian security forces and clandestine sponsorship of dissident groups to protest, as well as unfounded allegations against the leadership of the Nigerian military.
“They have tried over the years using Boko Haram terrorists’ conflicts, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, some activists and now herders-farmers conflicts.”
In a similar vein, the Nigerian Government also accused Amnesty International of bias in its coverage of happenings in the country, especially as it relates to security matters.
The Presidency through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, decried the role of the organisation in the war against terrorism in the North East.
Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian Government of impunity in the way it has been handling killings of innocent citizens in parts of the country.
The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, made the allegation in her remarks at the launch of the report by the organisation on Monday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“The Nigerian government has displayed what can only be described as gross incompetence and has failed in its duty to protect the lives of its population and end the intensifying conflict between herders and farmers,” she was quoted as saying on the organisation’s website.
“The authorities’ lethargy has allowed impunity to flourish and the killings to spread to many parts of the country, inflicting greater suffering on communities who already live in constant fear of the next attack.”
She condemned the inaction of the government which she said has worsened the situation in the country.
According to the organisation, the government’s failure to investigate communal clashes and bring perpetrators to justice has fuelled “a bloody escalation” in the conflict between farmers and herders.
It said this resulted in at least 3,641 deaths in the past three years and the displacement of thousands more.
In the new report entitled, “Harvest of Death: Three Years of Bloody Clashes Between Farmers and Herders”, Amnesty International said 57 per cent of the 3,641 recorded deaths occurred in 2018.
It alleged that security forces were often positioned close to the attacks, which lasted hours and sometimes days, yet were slow to act.
The organisation also accused the security agencies of receiving prior warning of an imminent raid in some cases but did nothing to stop or prevent the killings.
“Our research shows that these attacks were well planned and coordinated, with the use of weapons like machine guns and AK-47 rifles,” Ojigho added.
“Yet, little has been done by the authorities in terms of prevention, arrests and prosecutions, even when information about the suspected perpetrators was available.”
Amnesty International explained that it started documenting clashes between farmers and herders from January 2016, stressing that researchers conducted 10 field trips to 56 villages in five states between August 2017 and September 2018.
The report, according to it, is based on 262 interviews with victims, eyewitnesses, community leaders, medical practitioners, religious leaders and government officials, including members of the security forces.
It, however, asked the Federal Government to ensure thorough, effective and impartial investigations and prosecution of any person, including members of security forces who perpetrated abuses or deliberately ignored attacks in some states.
The states listed in the report include Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Kaduna, Kogi, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara among others.
The organisation insisted that the findings of the investigations must be made public.
It also advised the government to urgently domesticate the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons into the national laws.
It recommended further that the full and effective implementation of the Convention must be ensured.
On the underlying causes of the crisis, it asked the government to ensure the farmers and herders enjoy their human rights, including rights to land, water and pasture, which were at the heart of the crisis.
“To manage and deal with communal tension, the Nigerian authorities must ensure that areas designated as grazing reserves, corridors and cattle routes are not encroached upon.
“This should include adopting a past system, where people were appointed and stationed at or close to the reserves to make it easy to monitor and manage these areas and prevent encroachment by farmers,” the report stated.
Amnesty International called for the provision of adequate relief such as protection, shelter, food, and healthcare for those displaced as a result of the crisis while the victims should be provided with adequate compensation
Among other recommendations, it said police personnel should be equipped and trained in modern policing techniques compatible with international human rights standards to effectively deal with the current challenges in the country.
It said individual commanders should be investigated and prosecuted for attacks in areas where troops under their command were stationed, especially where there was evidence that they failed to act to stop the attacks.
President Muhammadu Buhari believes the establishment of dairy farms will go a long way in curbing clashes between cattle herders and farmers in the country.
He said this when he received the outgoing Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark, Mr Torben Gettermann, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
According to the President, dairy farming “Will save the country from the almost perennial problem of clashes between herders and farmers, made worse by population explosion.”
He also commended the Kaduna State government and the Kingdom of Denmark for championing an initiative on dairy farming.
President Buhari observed that when the dairy farms are “economically viable, the cattle herders will see the need to stay in one place, as they will realise that productive considerations, rather than the number of heads of cattle, are more important.”
On his part, the Danish envoy, who spent four years in Nigeria, explained the concept of dairy farming further.
He said the plan was to have 1,000 families of herdsmen with 12,000 heads of cattle in a location, where they would have veterinary attention, schools for their children, and generally live as a small community.
Ambassador Gettermann added that a company from his country, Arla, was already available to buy the milk from the cattle farmers.
He stressed that the Danish government would bring investors through its Agriculture Counsellor in the country, while the Kaduna State government would provide initial infrastructure and funding.
The Danish envoy said, “Dairy farming is not exactly the same thing as ranching. It will yield better meat, and the Danish company will buy the milk from the farmers.
“A pilot project will start in Kaduna, and then move to other locations, as it becomes commercially viable,” he added.
Mr Gettermann is proceeding on retirement after 40 years in the service of his country.
The Presidency disclosed the meeting in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
A former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, believes the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers in many states of the Federation can be curbed by more scientific use of land.
Lamido, gave the advice during an exclusive interview on Channels Television’s special political programme, Roadmap 2019.
“For how long do we continue with this kind of culture – roaming around with animals as pastoralist, and using our physical energy (using hoe) to produce food for ourselves? It’s all about applying science and our common sense,” he said.
The former governor, who is now a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), noted that the root of the crisis was the increasing scarcity of land for the herders and the farmers.
He, however, called for the cooperation of all stakeholders to change the situation and tackle the conflict which has claimed many lives, especially in the Northern region of the country.
Lamido asked the Federal Government to take a cue from the United States and other developed countries where farmers and herders do not have any reason to clash over land usage.
“People have been dying for so many years; for how long do we keep on killing ourselves? What is the cause?” he questioned. “It’s simply because of contempt between the herders and the farmers for land.”
“The farmer thinks the more land he has the more he has, and the pastoralist thinks the more he moves around the more the cows will eat.”
Since the beginning of the year, scores of people have been killed and property destroyed as a result of the crisis, with Benue and Plateau being part of the most affected states.
For the full interview with former Governor Lamido, watch Roadmap 2019 on Monday at 9:00 pm on Channels Television.