A civil society group with focus on global peace, security and public safety, GOPLRI, has raised the alarm of possible invasion of parts of the country by suspected foreign militia herders, who have continued to kill, kidnap, rape, maim and carry out other forms of bestial activities.
The group’s alarm came on the heels of a trending video of abducted passengers of Niger State Transport Authority, (NSTA) where their abductors believed to be foreign Fulani militia displayed modern sophisticated arms around their victims.
Concerned over the high rate of the crimes across the country specifically attributed to the Fulani herders which has caused ethnic tensions, the coalition, which operates under the identity of Global Peace and Life Rescue Initiative (GOPLRI) feared that another civil war may be looming except something urgent was done by both authorities and stakeholders to stop the trend.
Recalling that the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai had on Monday, expressed fears over the bold attitude of perpetrators of crimes to confront troops and other trained security personnel, the group said the video of the bandits seen with the abducted bandits depicted a country which it noted, was being run by foreign invaders.
“A Civil war is looming in the country if nothing is done urgently. Nigerians must stop the blame game, irrespective of ethnic, political, and religious differences and solve this problem at once,” it said.
According to the group, the depraved nature of the armed militia herders gives an indication that they are not indigenous Fulani, who are known to have lived peacefully for ages with their host communities across the country.
They maintained that the foreign invaders have an agenda to loot, while instilling fear in their victims, with a view to actualising their objective.
While wondering where they derived the boldness and audacity to attack soldiers and other security operatives on patrol, ambush and other operations, the coalition called for vigilance, which it noted, is the price for freedom.
It called on regional security outfits to bury the thought of defeating these terrorists alone, saying they must work in close synergy with the military and other security agencies, to achieve the collective aim.
This was as it added that, as part of holistic measures to contain the rapacious activities of the violent herders, regional blocks, individuals and groups must bury their differences and close ranks, in recognition of the fact that what is happening is an attack on our collective being, and not on any particular ethnic group.
In a statement, Wednesday, by its Executive Director, Amb. Melvin Ejeh, the Global Peace Group charged both federal and state governments to pay more attention to the potential threat posed by these militiamen, saying the development had the potential of hurting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
The peace advocates regretted that the foreign herders were allowed freedom of action to carry out their blood-letting campaign in a country regarded as the “giant of Africa”, whereas smaller countries in the sub-region have been able to successfully ward them off, thereby guaranteeing their peoples security and public safety.
It was their contention that all hands must be on deck, to confront the extremist elements, who seek to divide us by promoting and projecting our ethnic and other differences.
“At no time in recent history has the need to close ethnic, religious, political and ideological differences, been as immediate and urgent as now”, the group said in the statement.
They urged the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) and sister security agencies to review their intelligence and operational mechanisms, in order to save the country from external attacks.
The statement reads: “We are alarmed by the level of attacks carried out on innocent citizens by extremists whom, investigations have revealed, are foreign herders, who have continued to take advantage of our porous borders to invade the country from all fronts.
“We insist that that only savage beings, who have no blood, linguistic, traditional and other connections with their victims, can carry out such heinous and vicious attacks on innocent people like these Invaders do.
“Otherwise, why would they kill in such bestial manner, rape women recklessly, destroy means of livelihoods, and instill fear in the hearts of innocent citizens of the country?
“To defeat these monsters, and reclaim our public space and sanity, we propose the following antidotes;
“All regional security outfits operating under whatever name, must endeavour to work closely with the military and other security organisations, knowing that one hand cannot tie a parcel;
“The military, police, immigration, customs, civil defence and other relevant law enforcement agencies must, for the sake of Nigeria, share intelligence and operational strategies, knowing full well that they are up against a common enemy.
“Ethnic, religious, cultural groups, as well as individuals must remember that there must be a country first, before such tendencies can blossom, and so hasten to suspend the fault lines, which are apparently being exploited to nurture and sustain the wicked agenda;
“Desist forthwith from profiling ethnic groups and tribes, knowing that criminal elements exist among all races; they are good and bad people in all human habitations;
“Both national and sub-national governments must intensify efforts at taming the growing ethnic tension across the country, as nations hardly win two-pronged battles”.
It said:”While the bulk stops on the desk of Mr President to address the security challenges using state apparatus and resources, all hands must be on board to solve the problem.”
According to GOPRI, “Every region must begin to engage its stakeholders and key youth actors to deescalate the tension.”
“These criminals herdsmen obviously from other countries with collaborators and accomplices from Nigeria are on an agenda to set us up against one another and put us to war, this evil agenda we must all resist. We must stand as one in this country to defeat this evil trend.
“Mr President must issue a clear directives to the new service chiefs and other security heads to move into all the forest and our major highway to flush out these criminal herdsmen before it’s late,”it said.
“Technology must be deployed now as it is obviously that these people are not the normal Fulani herders that we know”,adding:”They are foreign militia Fulani men invading our country.”
“They are brutal and have no consideration for anyone; they are after their loot. They kill, rape and rob people at will; whether Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Igbos or any other person. They have freedom of action in most parts of our country. They must be stopped now.”
“The regional security outfits alone cannot defeat them easily. They need to work closely with the military and security agencies
“We need to close ranks as a nation and make concerted efforts as a nation to stop these invaders before they destroy Nigeria.
“It’s not about any ethnic group but an invasion of our country The earlier we realize it and stop them the better before our country turns to a failed state,”GOPRI further said.
The group noted that as long as we remain divided, they will continue to perpetuate their crime with brutality.”
“These same Fulani militia groups cannot operate freely in other smaller countries in the sub region but find it easy to carry out their nefarious activities in Nigeria because they exploit our ethnic fault lines.
“The President needs to be told the truth; the situation is getting out of hand. enough of the sycophants that cover up serious issues to the detriment of the peace and unity of Nigeria.
“We really need our Armed Forces and security agencies to show more commitment in carrying out their duties. They should be able to do a lot more. Let the truth be told,”it said.
“We better act fast and decisively before we are all consumed,” it warned.