The Fulbe Global Development and Rights Initiative has called for urgent intervention of Federal and State Governments to help victims of incessant pastoralists massacre in parts of the country.
It was reacting to the killing of their members in Bali and Birmin Gari Local Government Areas of Taraba and Kaduna States.
Musa Umar, the President General of FGDRI, made the appeal in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.
Umar noted that the media was flooded with images of innocent Fulbe pastoralists butchered and maimed in Taraba and Kaduna States.
He said: “The FGDRI is distressed by these rampant pogroms, especially the most recent ones that took place at Bali in Taraba and Bimin Gwari in Kaduna states.
“In Bali local council unsuspecting pastoralists were lured into a deceptive meeting by an armed vigilante group, but ended up being defenselessly attacked and mercilessly massacred by these criminals masquerading as community vigilante group.
“According to reports, 12 pastoralists were shot dead and many sustained life threatening injuries by these AK47-wielding armed criminals.
“We call on the Federal and State Governments to urgently come to the aid of the victims. This is in view of the fact that their cattle and only source of livelihood were rustled by same marauding criminals.”
While decrying the incidents, Umar said that the terror occurred barely four days after two pastoralists were forcefully snatched from the police and lynched in Bimin Gwari.
The president, who observed that the current killings were not isolated incidents, described them as only examples of years of sustained pattern of elimination, annihilation and ethnic cleansing of Fulbe herding communities in various states of the federation.
He said: “It is our conviction that herders are mostly peaceful, self-respecting Nigerians that contribute more than a quarter of the country’s GDP derive from agriculture.
“We are convinced that this country cannot survive a Rwandan experience, which is already knocking at our doors, as Fulbe have been continuously stereotyped as criminals and now being killed at will without recourse to humanity and the authorities ensuring justice.”
Umar said the initiative, being a socio-cultural think-tank that seeks to formulate and manage the strategic interests of Fulbe and their neighbours in Nigeria, West Africa and beyond, condemned these heinous crimes.
According to him, these have become an aberration to the peaceful coexistence of this nation.
He said: “We unequivocally call on the concerned governments and law enforcement agencies to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice in order to serve as deterrence to others.
“FGDRI is grateful for the swift response of the security agencies in apprehending four suspects connected with the crime in Taraba state and to the Kaduna State Government for proactive measures in addressing the issue.”
Umar recalled that over 1,000 Fulbe pastoralists were massacred in Mambilla, Taraba State in 2017, while hundreds of women and children were butchered in 2018 in Numan, Adamawa State, all without punitive measures taken by the authorities.
According to him, this is in addition to the daily state-sanctioned atrocities against herders in Benue and continued maiming of Fulbe in Zamfara and other northwestern states.
The FGDRI president described the attacks as a gloomy picture of genocide against the Fulbe in Nigeria.