Mgr. Joseph Danlami Bagobiri, Bishop of Kafanchan, in the state of Kaduna denounces the fact that “in the last three months, attacks carried out by the Fulani Herdsmen Terrorist (FHT) have increased in more than half of the territory of the southern State of Kaduna”.
“In the West, this group is almost unheard of, continues Mgr. Bagobiri, “but has been responsible since September for fires in 53 villages, the death of 808 people, for wounding 57 others, and the destruction of 1,422 houses and 16 churches”.
The Bishop recalls that in the last seven years, more than 12,000 Christians were killed and 2,000 churches destroyed because of terrorism in Nigeria. These crimes have been mainly committed by the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram. Mgr. Bagobiri notes that Boko Haram is not the only group that spreads terror in Nigeria, emphasising the role of Fulani herdsmen in recent years.
The Fulani are a nomadic ethnic group who have been protagonists of recurrent conflicts with farmers in the area. However, in recent times, the attacks are of a completely different kind compared to the old clashes between farmers and herders. The herders use “sophisticated weapons that did not exist before, such as AK-47”, says Mgr. Bagobiri.
In the same way, Archbishop Kaigama, who is also the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) expressed his concern about the alarming crisis situations of criminal herdsmen attacking farmers in almost all the parts of the country.
“We worry a lot about these crisis situations, which have terrible consequences in our country. One of these are the issue of criminal herdsmen attacking others, especially farmers. This is very unsettling and it seems to have no end, as it continues to raise its ugly head in different parts of our country and yet not much is being seen to be done”.
While admitting that “animal husbandry, just like farming, is a very important aspect of our economy, especially in the face of dwindling revenue from oil”, the prelate however noted that “the rearing of cattle and other animals must not lead to constant friction, forceful occupation of land or needless deaths.”