IMG 20221026 WA0036

Atleast 400 Northern Indigenous groups lament persistent terrorist attacks

By: Soliu Ayatullahi

No fewer than 400 indigenous communities in Central and Northern Nigeria, under the aegies of Conference of Autochthonous Ethnic Nationalities Community Development Associations (CONAECDA), have decried persistent terror attacks on member communities, adding that activities of Islamist terrorist groups such as ISWAP and Boko Haram, and renegade Fulani terror militias was unacceptable.

Addressing a press conference in Jos, Secretary General of CONAECDA, Suleiman Sukukum, described the genocidal activities by Fulani militias including crop destruction and killings, displacement and occupation of lands belonging to displaced communities as barbaric.

He called on the government to urgently address the crisis as it could destroy the fabric of the society, adding that the level of success recorded by the government in providing security for its citizens was poor.

Sukukum said, “While the government is expected to provide the needed leadership in addressing these problems, it is obvious that the level of success achieved is hampered by many factors. Our experience indicates a weakness in the level of engagement and sincerity of public officials in dealing with these issues; the role of corruption and the failure of our security system to use information in responding on time and adequately to various early warning signals.

“As stakeholders in the Nigerian society and leaders of the over 400 indigenous communities of Central and Northern Nigeria, we are key stakeholders in the Nigerian project and must play our part in addressing these national issues.”

In finding a way forward the group said, “From 12th August, 2021 and in line with international practice as is obtainable in Europe and the Americas where such conflicts once existed among farmers and herders; and with due recognition of the provisions of the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous people, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Nigerian Constitution, the Land Use Act, the Criminal Code and National Property laws, all communities and individuals shall begin the fencing of their property. This will include the planting of protective plants and other relevant barriers.

“We use this opportunity to notify all intending trespassers that they will be arrested and prosecuted according to existing laws, whenever and wherever they trespass into our private or public property. All livestock holders are required to barricade their animals to avoid trespassing.”

With regards to displaced communities, the CONAECDA said it was immediately commencing a project to secure, reconstruct and protect such communities, warning trespassers and occupiers of communities that it was coming after them to recover through every legitimate means.

On humanitarian crises, the group said, “Over 1.5 million are displaced in Benue State and over 700 women in Zuru-Kebbi State. Thousands of Houses have been destroyed with over 2,500 homes in Irigwe land alone between 2nd and 12th of August. Our girls are being trafficked because they are internally displaced. Our ability to farm, attend school and carry out our legitimate businesses is being denied by these terrorist activities. We are appealing to all Nigerians and the international community to provide these victims with help and to act on their behalf.”

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