Boko Haram has been named a deadly terror group in the world and Nigeria has spent billions of dollars to eliminate this sect. No amount of money and human intelligence has been able to destroy this group, but a positive effort has been made over the years to reduce the power and number of these terrorists.
However, there is an untouchable terrorist that Nigeria has refused to call a terrorist; the Fulani Herdsmen. In 201, the global terrorism index listed the Nigerian Fulani militants as fourth deadliest terror group in world. Yet, Nigeria is has been weak to call these fierce men terrorists.
The death rate increases yearly from the attacks of the herdsmen who kill people in their comfort zones. They are talking this fight to the villages and disappearing like ghosts after a deadly hit. They main operate in the middle belt of Nigeria, opposed to the north which is dominated by Boko Haram.
Why has Nigeria not designated these marauding Fulani herdsmen as terrorists? The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed told BBC’s Focus on Africa in 2017 that the herdsmen’s “acts of criminality should not be confused with terrorism acts.”
SB Morgen Intelligence in its report on security in the country in 2016 said pastoral conflicts were the deadliest threats Nigeria faced in 2016 – cattle rustlers and Fulani herdsmen accounted for 470 and 1,425 fatalities respectively. Cattle rustlers were responsible for 7 per cent of the attacks and Fulani herdsmen 29 per cent. However, an average of 39 victims were recorded in each cattle rustling attack while Fulani herdsmen attacks have an average of 30.
Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, says these herdsmen are not terrorists, “There is a difference between a criminal activity and a terrorist activity. Yes, some Fulani herdsmen are a criminal gang and they are being dealt with according to the law…’
The Nigeria Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011, defines terrorism: “An attack upon a person’s life which may cause serious bodily harm or death; destruction to a government or public facility, a transport system, an infrastructure facility, including an information system, a fixed platform located on the continental shelf, a public place or private property, likely to endanger human life or result in major economic loss.”
If this is what Nigerians believe, why is the government silent about calling these men terrorists? Is it difficult to curb this menace? Yes! There are proffer solutions to this problem yet, it has been difficult to implement.
Every month, it is uncommon to hear that there was no attack by the Fulani militants. Whatever name that we give this people, it still has not changed the heart of the government to do something any soon. Terrorism is terrorism! When you take an innocent man’s life, you are considered a murderer, and when you attack a village and destroy lives and properties, what name do we give you.
It may be a long distance to ending the menace called Fulani herdsmen. However, the good news is that revolution happens when we least expect them. It is only time that will tell how long these herdsmen will last.