A coalition made up of 400 indigenous ethnic groups across 15 northern states in Nigeria, has vowed to do everything to recover communities and lands seized by Fulani herdsmen in series of attacks in central and north-east regions of the country.
The group, under the aegies of Conference of Authoctonous Ethnic Nationalities Communities Development Associations, at a press conference on Thursday in Jos, Plateau State, said they decided to take the bull by the horns as their various state governments and security agencies have failed to protect them.
There are fears that such moves may trigger violent clashes if the herdsmen referred to put up resistance.
In a statement made available to Ripples Nigeria on Friday, Secretary General of the group, Suleman Sukukum, said the region had “suffered the worst forms of criminality in the hands of herdsmen including kidnapping for ransom, trade in human flesh and parts, human slave trafficking including child trafficking, and sex slavery; banditry and cattle rustling with the government doing little or nothing to stop them.”
In the statement, the group said they have had enough of killings, bloodshed and the wanton destruction of their properties and have decided to do all it takes to put a stop to it.
“We want to use this occasion to notify all trespassers and occupiers of our communities that we are coming after them and shall recover through every legitimate means, our communities and lands.
“Millions are displaced with over 1.5 million in Benue State alone. Thousands of Women are raped with over 700 women in Kebbi State alone;
“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 schools and carry out our legitimate businesses is being denied by these terrorist activities.
“Our experience indicate 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 or Intel in responding on time and adequately to various early warning signals is appalling.
“We have also observed with certainty that some public figures, while embarrassed by the security and humanitarian situation, prefer to white-wash or deny the extent and impact of the crisis rather than act decisively in addressing the relevant issues.
“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.
“The CONAECDA conference had decided to immediately commence a project to secure, reconstruct and protect such communities,” the statement said.
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