Fact-finding mission from U.S. demands immediate military crackdown on killer herdsmen

Posted by News Express | 17 October 2017 | 2,398 times

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•Armed herdsmen

A Rapid Response Fact-Finding Mission (RRFFM) from the Diaspora that visited North Central Nigeria a fortnight ago to investigate the latest massacre by killer herdsmen has demanded immediate action by the Nigerian Government.

As part of its recommendations and observations, the mission also urged the government to direct attention on the terrorist activities of the foreign killer herdsmen and respond according to the intractable nature of their attacks.

“Available data from our fact-finding mission on the Agatu massacre in 2016 showed that in Benue State alone, there were over 40 herdsmen attacks in a three-year period averaging one a month.

“We urge the Nigerian government to declare a conflict-free zone as a food security survival imperative in the agricultural Middle Belt of Nigeria where farmers rendered IDPs in Benue and Plateau particularly have been unable to return to or recover their farmlands from the marauders and their cattle. It is an unconscionable travesty that farmers are now beggars waiting for handouts in camps.”

The Mission further urged the government to diligently prosecute the killer herdsmen responsible for these crimes against humanity, kidnapping and robbery which have become rampant along Jos road and Kaduna road respectively.

“We urge the government to restrict the ingress of foreign killer herdsmen (FKH) into the country. While the government's point is noted that relevant ECOWAS subregional protocols allow for visa-free transnational entry and exit, no responsible government should allow known killers to breach its borders at will to kill its citizens and threaten food security. Indeed if in a previous iteration as military dictator, General (Muhammadu) Buhari was able to suspend sub regional visa waiver protocols to send illegal aliens back for economic reasons, it should only be logical that FKH should be shut out as a potent threat to national security.”

The Mission also called on the government to provide medical attention to victims of these attacks, to fix the roads and ensure electricity and telephonic connectivity to these isolated agrarian communities, stressing that it appears ill-conceived for the Nigerian Army to be providing vaccinations in an atmosphere of distrust in the South East at the same time that the government is steering multilateral partners to service the north which they maintain is needier.

It urged the government to provide adequate troop coverage, equipment and air patrols over the Benue/Plateau region to scout for the FKH attackers.

“Again it is unclear how the deployment of the Airforce for operations in the South East is sensible given the zero casualties occasioned by IPOB compared to the numerous fatalities perpetrated by FKH. The Tactical Air Command in Makurdi and the Airforce Base in Jos should be empowered to undertake surveillance sorties to secure their citizens from the nomadic threat.

“We urge the government to consider the de-proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to allow for a return to the rule of law and the justice system for the redress of any alleged criminal conduct while opening dialogue for political resolutions of issues of marginalisation.”

The Mission observed that the characterisation of IPOB as a terrorist organisation without any known terrorist act, while acclaimed FKH ranked 4th on the global terror index are considered mere criminals is in fact a revalidation of the perceived injustice and double standards which the separatists are railing against.

It said the designation as a terror organisation has made it difficult for human rights workers and medics to provide assistance to victims of the military operation for fear of being adjudged “aiding and abetting” terrorists just as individuals and organisations were afraid to even approach the state government to take up the offer of assistance with medical expenses for fear of being arrested, and for which reason, victims are suffering in silence.

It said: “Refusal to allow an open discussion of their legitimate grievances can only serve to push them underground and engender a militant movement because those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change probable.

“Making IPOB a terrorist organization is ultimately deleterious to foreign investors and much needed FDI for economic recovery. Nigeria is currently home to two banned Islamist terror groups:

“Boko Haram, Ansaru and IPOB (a non-violent separatist group not considered terrorists abroad) and Foreign Killer Herdsmen (violent group considered terrorists abroad but not by Nigeria)

“This would amount to a total of at least four terror groups bringing Nigeria into the terror league of Aghanistan and Pakistan.”

The group also pointed out that it took the Nigerian government nine years from Boko Haram’s first terror attack to proscribe it as a terror group in 2012 while it took three days to proscribe IPOB even after the court trying IPOB leader Kanu held that it wasn’t a terror group.

“It would amount to undue interference in the legal process even as Kanu’s trial is set to resume on October 17 in Abuja. Given the military intervention and the terror designation, the government has practically upturned the trial under due process and cannot in good faith blame Kanu’s sureties for failure to show up for trial.

“The International Criminal Court should look into the FKH atrocities as part of its ongoing preliminary examination into crimes against humanity. The international community and the Nigerian government are enjoined to bring an end to these reprehensible massacres.”


 


Source: News Express

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