Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust | Baroness Cox | Nov. 25, 2019
It has been five years since Nigeria’s Islamist Fulani herdsmen insurgency began. Thousands of civilians have been killed. Hundreds of Christian churches have been burned to rubble. Entire communities have been forced to abandon their homes and farmland.
Across northern and central-belt states, militant herdsmen continue to engage in an aggressive and strategic land-grabbing policy. They seek to replace diversity and difference with an Islamist ideology (similar to Boko Haram’s) which is imposed with violence on those who refuse to comply. It is – according to the Nigerian House of Representatives – genocide.
I have visited many of the worst affected areas and seen the tragedies of death and destruction in Bauchi, Kano and Plateau States. The scale of suffering is overwhelming – more than 1000 Christian deaths since January.
A lady from a neighbouring village said she slept in the bushes to avoid an attack.
She said: “Only me and my husband remain. Our home is destroyed. Nothing survived. We have to beg for food.”
In every village, the message from local people is the same: “Please, please help us! The Fulani are coming. We are not safe in our own homes.”
Yet time and again, the UK Government has ignored their cry for help.
It continues to insist the “situation” has little to do with religion or ideology. They refer to the insurgency as “ethnic riots”, “a consequence of population growth”, “land and water disputes” or “tit-for-tat clashes between farmers and herders”.
Such a characterisation is an insult to those who are suffering so much. The causes of violence are, of course, complex.