A few days ago, the Federal Government declared bandits as terrorists. This was contained in the government gazette which was signed on November 29, 2021, many days after the court had delivered judgment and ordered it to do so.
The gazette reads in part: “A notice is hereby given that the order of the federal high court Abuja, in suit number FHC/ABJ/C’S/1370/2021 dated 2021as per the scheduled to this notice the activities of Yan Bindiga group, Yan Ta’adda Group and other similar groups in Nigeria are declared to be terrorism and illegal in any part of Nigeria, especially in the Northwest and north-central regions of Nigeria and are proscribed, pursuant to section 1 and 2 of Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011.”
“Consequently, the general public is hereby warned that any person or group of persons participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the groups referred to in paragraph 1 of this notice will be violating the provision of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 and liable to prosecution.”
It was on the strength of the Federal Government pronouncement that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State also requested that the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and Fulani Nationality Movement groups be proscribed as terror groups as well. However, some people have faulted the Governor’s call, but does the Governor have a point?
It was reported in the news that Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore threatened Benue State there will be bloodbath if the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017 was not repealed. The National Vice President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association, Husaini Yusuf Bosso, had said more lives would be lost in Benue state should the Governor not rescind.
The threat came to pass. They resisted the law by attacking communities killing and destroying life and property of farmers.
In January 2018, 73 persons were killed in Guma, Logo, Katsina-Ala and Agatu local government areas. A mass burial was conducted for some of the corpses. That was not all. Hundreds of farmers have been killed including the killing of two catholic priests in Mbalom, in Gwer East Local Government Area.
The killings by Fulani herdsmen to date have not stopped. Farmers have been displaced with millions of them living in the Internally Displaced Persons Camp, IDP and unable to access their farmlands.
The attacks by Fulani herdsmen is not limited to Benue State alone. Plateau, Taraba, Ekiti, Osun, Delta and other states have been attacked with Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore speaking in favour of the attackers and claiming responsibility for the attacks just the same way Boko Haram would attack and claim responsibility.
For Fulani Nationality Movement, FUNAM, they had issued a communique in Kano on January 14, 2018, where they declared Jihad on Benue and other parts of Nigeria and called on Fulani across West Africa to prepare for Holy war in Nigeria. They had also claimed responsibility for some attacks in the country.
Recall that recently, an assassination attempt was made on Governor Samuel Ortom on his way back from the farm along Makurdi – Gboko road. Shortly after, FUNAM claimed responsibility and said there are not done yet, until the get the Governor.
It is worthy of note that the Global Terrorism Index classified Fulani Herdsmen as the 4th deadliest terror group in the world after ISIS, Boko Haram and Al-Shabab.
Therefore, going by the pronouncement in the Gazette where it says “… activities of Yan Bindiga group, Yan Ta’adda Group and other similar groups in Nigeria are declared to be terrorism.” It suffices to state that Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and FUNAM are such similar groups, which activities have constituted an act of terrorism. So why are they not being declared terror groups? Again, if IPOB which has not attacked communities or claimed responsibility for killings could be easily proscribed as a terror group, what makes proscribing Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and FUNAM which are vicious groups difficult?
So, with the activities of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and FUNAM, which have claimed responsibility of attacks just like Boko Haram and ISWAP, one can only but agree that Governor Ortom’s call that the activities of these two groups be proscribed as act of terrorism is apt and should be supported by Nigerians.
Benjamin Ngutsav writes from Agbeede, Konshisha Local Government Area, Benue State. firstname.lastname@example.org
Benjamin Ngutsav: Why Gov Ortom’s call to declare Miyetti Allah, FUNAM terrorist is right