Press "Enter" to skip to content

Fulani Herdsmen: How they operate and possible solutions(1)

The most significant problem that African nations face is lack of leadership. Normally, leadership should be an intentional conscious effort to attend to the people’s needs and aspirations. However, in Africa, even though many of those that in position of leadership mean well, they lack the capacity to lead. Apart from lack of adequate preparation for leadership, one other notable factor among African leaders is the seemingly non-existent structures for research and information management. Hence, many well-meaning leaders often do not have the requisite information for a thorough appraisal and resolution of problems.

A clear example is the recent terrorist attack in Enugu State and the obvious ignorance of the state leadership on the modus operandi of the Fulani Herdsmen, which led to poor leadership decisions. For a long time, the Nigerian state has been under siege by Fulani terrorists operating under a predictable pattern of reconnaissance, attack and withdrawal, leading to many deaths and social dislocations. Since January 2016, there have been deaths of more than 1,000 Nigerians in the Middle Belt, the South-south, and Southeastern parts of the country from these coordinated attacks.  The Fulani herdsmen are credited with destabilising the city of Jos, a once tourist destination; and their history of mayhem extend beyond the borders of Nigeria. They are also the major actors/catalyst to recent conflicts in the Central African Republic. Armed with adequate information, one would have expected the governors in the Southeast, to come out with a strong condemnation of the Fulani herdsmen carnage and unify towards a common cause solution. On the contrary, events only showed confused state executives, who do not even understand the magnitude of the problem at hand.

In fairness, some of these governors followed the normal state security protocol in responding to this abnormality. Though we do not excuse the shabby response of these governors to the Fulani Herdsmen tragedy, we are inclined to give them a slack because to solve a problem, one needs to first understand it. The governors did not understand the problem. Most Nigerians and international bodies do not understand the Fulani herdsmen and we at CACLD did not initially. We therefore dispatched a fact finding team to the Southeast to unravel the intricacies and complexities of the Fulani terrorist group; a group rated as the fourth most dangerous by respected international conflict organisations (According to the Global Terrorism Index 2015 report; “Fulani militants” killed 1,229 people in 2014 — up from 63 in 2013, Making them the “fourth most deadly terrorist group”).

Our team visited “Ama Hausa and Garki” camps in both Enugu and Abia states. They also interviewed neighbours from the local communities. Both the Northerners and the local community volunteered valuable information. There seems to be a willingness and eagerness for the violence to end. Below are our findings:

1. Fulani herdsmen terrorists are Fulanis but mostly non-Nigerians: This may come as a surprise to most of us. About 10 percent of the terrorists are Nigerians and they live within the Hausa Fulani communities in the Southeast and South-south regions.

2. The Fulani Herdsmen terrorists do not own cattle: This is another revelation. Fulani herdsmen killers’ major job description is just to kill. Most are employed by cattle owners as “security men” strictly to protect the cattle.

3. The Ama-Hausas’ and Garkis’ harbour 80 percent of the Fulani herdsmen killers. This is a very important revelation. The Garkis are mostly Hausas and other minorities from the north, but within them are Fulani herdsmen killers. The northerners were able to show us these Fulani herdsmen “security personnel”. They are young, less religious and most use drugs and consume alcohol. A majority of these terrorists is from Chad, Niger, and other Fulani enclaves outside Nigeria. State. A small percentage of these Fulani youths are Nigerians born in the states where they reside. They are the ones vested with the responsibility of leading these Fulanis on their regular rampage; serving as compasses to the blood-hungry terrorists.

4. The Fulani herdsmen that accompany cattle from the North to the South per season do not own cattle. Most Nigerian Fulani are no longer migratory herdsmen, but are either Emirs, Sultans, heads of parastatals, oil barons, Imams, Christian Pastors, Governors, Federal Reps, and Senators. However, they still maintain their cultural ownership of cattle. These wealthy Nigerians increase their wealth astronomically through cattle rearing by using other poor cousins from outside Nigeria to rear these cattle. Instead of investing in ranches, they chose the cheaper alternative of having their kinsmen, take these cattle from the north to south seasonally; using the entire Nigerian space as their “grass kingdom”. These cattle, in turn, destroy farms in their path, rendering farmers economically bankrupt to further enrich the wealthy Fulani “remote herders”.

There are about five million Fulani in Nigeria making them one of the smallest ethnic groups in the country.
Of that minority, only about three million are Nigerians. The other two  million are  from outside Nigeria and are first generation immigrants.
These immigrant Fulani are mostly in charge of the cattle owned by the Bourgeois Fulani. Because the Nigeria Fulani have the highest income per capita in the Nigerian state, they import their poor brothers and sisters from outside to increase their population.

In Garki and Ama-Hausa settlements all over the country, a few Nigerian Fulanis coordinate the cattle business. Either these Fulani help manage family cattle or are just contracted middlemen on behalf of various millionaire cattle owners. Under these middlemen is a group of 20 to 40 Fulani boys within the ages of 20 and 35 whose job is to protect the cattle.
These are at the bottom of the Fulani Herdsmen ladder. Some of them do not even know speak English and are so poor they are paid little money for their job. These do not carry arms but only carry arrows and machetes.

(6)We learned from some of the Hausa elders about what constitutes a Fulani herdsmen attack. According to information, when there is a disagreement between host communities, or between herdsmen and farmers, the herdsmen accompanying the cattle will locate the nearest Fulani settlement and if there is none, they will locate the nearest Garki or Ama Hausa.

The Fulani cattle managers will notify their top Fulani herdsmen, which in this case, include governors (like El Rufai) and other top Fulani Bourgeoisie who own the cattle.  A decision will be made whether there should be an attack or not on the said village or host community. If an attack is sanctioned, modalities will be mapped out and a date will be chosen. Most times, Fulani herdsmen in the military and police are notified and everyone sends a representative. Neighbouring settlements sends out representatives and arms are distributed to the participants. The major participants are the 20 to 40 Fulani herdsmen who reside in the Garkis and Ama Hausas. These are the Fulani warriors whose job is to kill.
During an attack, every Fulani in the area will be involved. Fulani the military will ensure all commands under them stand down, while the top Fulani police officers will do the same. The road will be clear for the herdsmen to carry their attacks.

(Visited 72 times, 1 visits today)

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: