A coalition of Nigerian women have accused top serving and retired military, police and para-military officers of fueling the killing of innocent citizens by herdsmen.
They said that the security chiefs’ involvement in cattle business was the major cause of the recurring killings by armed herdsmen across the country.
At a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, the women under the aegis of the International Action Network on Small Arms, IANSA, linked the worsening cases of killings by herdsmen to the involvement of serving and retired military, police and other security officers in cattle business.
The women made the assertion at a media conference they held in conjunction with NINGONET, a humanitarian development response initiative where they declared that the security officers hired Malians, Nigeriens and Chadians as herders.
According to the Authority, the women, “these foreign herders, not accustomed to the culture of Nigerian herders, are hostile to communities and because many of them are dislodged fighters in their respective countries, they are prone to bearing arms.”
Ms Mimidoo Achakpa, the network Coordinator of IANSA, Ms Josephine Habba, the national coordinator of NINGONET, and Tim Aniebonam, spokesman of NINGONET, who jointly addressed journalists, asked the federal and state governments to adopt proactive security measures across the federation.
The groups further alleged that the violent foreign herders had also been fingered in teaching their Nigerian counterparts how to carry arms, noting that the arms were being supplied by their employers (the security officers).
They said that prompt response to the pastoralists-farmers’ crisis must be addressed before it escalates and worsen the security situation in the country, especially as Nigeria prepares for the 2019 general elections.
In their recommendations, the women urged the Federal Government to stop serving military and police top brass from running cattle businesses. They, however, said that if the officers should own cattle, they must be subjected to full security profiling while their herdsmen must be subjected to security checks.
The groups also said that all security personnel involved in cattle business must be compelled to provide ranches for their cattle while such business must be registered.
They condemned Mansur Dan Ali, the minister of Defence for a statement which justified the killings of 73 people on New Year day in Benue State.
They appealed to the Federal Government to immediately deploy troops to hotspots of the farmers-herdsmen crisis to arrest further loss of life and property, and demanded the immediate resignation or sack of Dan Ali over his statement that justified the killings of 73 people on New Year day in Benue State.