Due to the recent killings in the south eastern part of Nigeria, there are incessant calls for the removal of Fulani herdsmen from the area. To address the protests, Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, had a meeting with the members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), south east region, yesterday.
While speaking with the press afterwards, the minister reportedly asked the people to be patient and to trust the in the president, who is taking steps to stop the killings. Onu charged the Igbos, who he said are “known, globally, to be peace loving and abhorrers of violence,” to continue to accommodate the Fulani nomads.
According to him, the situation is not pleasing, however, “the federal government is desirous to achieve a peaceful, strong and united nation.” He also reportedly appealed to the youth to not take laws into their hands and to allow the appropriate law enforcement agencies to fish the suspects out. While it’s noble to advocate for a united nation, the government needs to be more realistic in its approach.
The herdsmen, who have been accused of mass killings, are of the Fulani extract and are very closely related to the Hausa people, in the northern region of Nigeria. Since the civil war, there have been underlying tensions between the Igbo and Hausa tribes. Now, it’s the Fulani people who have invaded Igbo territory, killing them en masse. Even though some leaders and security agents have warned the public against suggesting that the killings are ethnically or religiously motivated, if the government fails to fish the killers out and bring them to justice, there will be no amount of rationalisation enough to forestall an ethnic conflict.
Maybe instead of asking the Igbo people to be more accommodating, the Fulani herdsmen should be asked to vacate the communities, at least until the government has mapped out grazing areas as they proposed, initially.