More Rivers Of Blood On The River Benue: Part Two Of A Human Rights Fact-Finding Report Into On-Going Massacres By Fulani Herdsmen
This report is a continuation from part one of an interim report by a Rapid Response Fact-finding mission on the New Year’s Day massacre in Benue State Nigeria.
A. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY IN JANUARY 2018
According to data provided by Stefanos Foundation, in January 2018:
about 51 terrorist attacks across 14 states in Nigeria led to the deaths of over 349 persons by Islamist groups in Nigeria
of the 51 terrorist attacks, 9 attacks were perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists but 42 attacks out of 51 were perpetrated by Fulani militants and 1 was perpetrated by Islamic hoodlums
Out of the 349 persons killed, Boko Haram terrorists are responsible for the death of 80 persons and Fulani herdsmen are responsible for the death of over 269 persons.
The States affected by Boko Haram terrorist attacks are Adamawa and Borno
The states affected by Fulani terrorists attacks are Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Ondo, Adamawa, Taraba, Plateau, Edo, Nassarawa, Oyo, Ekiti, Delta and Ogun.
FATALITIES Boko Haram only accounted for 23% of fatalities while Killer Fulani Herdsmen we’re responsible for 77% of deaths – triple the number of deaths attributed to Boko Haram terrorism
ATROCITIES Boko Haram accounted for 17% of attacks while Killer Fulani Herdsmen were responsible for a whopping 82% – quadruple the number of terrorist attacks by Boko Haram
LOCATION Boko Haram Attacks occurred in only 2 states, i.e. 14% of the states attacked while Killer Fulani Herdsmen accounted for a dozen states i.e. 85%
GEOGRAPHY Boko Haram’s operational footprint in geographic spread across the country amounted to 5% of Nigeria’s 36 states while Killer Fulani Herdsmen operated in 33% of Nigeria; 1/3 of the country.
REGIONS Boko Haram operated in 2 states in the NE geopolitical zone but the Killer Fulani Herdsmen operated in – 3 states in North Central, 4 in South West, 1 in North West, 3 in North East and 1 in South South. Boko Haram operated in 1 of 6 zones but Killer Fulani Herdsmen operated in all but 1 of the 6 zones.
On the whole therefore, Killer Fulani Herdsmen were three times deadlier than Boko Haram and operated in 6 times more states than Boko Haram carrying out 4 times more attacks than Boko Haram. By all available, metrics, indices and indicators, Killer Fulani Herdsmen were a greater national security threat to the nation than Boko Haram – ironically the deadliest terror group in the world per Global Terrorism Index.
B. RANKING OF VIOLENT DEATHS IN NIGERIA’S STATES IN 2018 YTD (10 WEEKS)
According to data from Vanguard newspapers, 591 deaths occurred in the North-East, followed by North-Central, 270; North-West, 193; South-West, 136; and South-South, 131. At the bottom of the list is South-East, 30. It should be noted that these statistics are inclusive of non-terrorist violent deaths.
Borno State, 361;
Akwa Ibom, 16;
Cross River, 14.
The rest are Oyo, 12; Bauchi, 11; Yobe, 9; Edo, 9; Bayelsa, 7; Kwara, 6; FCT Abuja, 6; Niger, 5; Enugu, 4; Imo, 4; Ebonyi, 3; Katsina, 2; Ekiti, 2; Abia, 1; and Osun, 1. There were no reported violent deaths in Gombe and Sokoto.
DATA ANALYSIS SUMMARY:
Although Borno State in the north east ranked 1st for fatalities in the period under review due principally to the Boko Haram insurgency, numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 were primarily by Killer Fulani Herdsmen
The cumulative fatalities from #2-5 exceed the total for #1. Therefore if analyzing the cause of deaths rather than the locus of deaths, Killer Herdsmen were more of a causative factor in more locations than Boko Haram.
Of the top 10 states,Boko Haram operated in 2 while Killer Herdsmen operated in 7 (over 70% compared to 20%)
Of the top 15 State, Killer Herdsmen operated in 10, i.e. two-thirds.
C. STATISTICS OF ATTACKS IN BENUE STATE
Sustained attacks started as far back as 2011 and spread across 15 LGAs out of 23 meaning about 70% of the Local Government Areas in the state have been impacted.
Benue is geopolitically subdivided into three senatorial zones – Zones A, B and C have all been affected.
For a description of attacks, see https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2016/03/village-massacres-strain-nigeria-further-as-traditional-nomads-fight-modernisation/
D. IMPACT OF ATTACKS ON BENUE
Displacement caused by herdsmen attacks have automatically interfered with child education. This is aside the 149 schools destroyed in the attacks.
Trauma, depression, and psychosis,
Malaria and other water and air borne diseases,
Malnutrition and other vulnerabilities, HIV/AIDS and STIs are all in addition to direct scars, injuries and PTSD directly incurred from the attackers.
Depleted productive labour force thereby affecting the general output and GDP.
Food security is heavily threatened as 75% of the state engages in Agriculture. There’s a reported 40% drop in food production. Benue farms Yams, Cassava, Soy beans, Sweet Potato, Rice, Millet, Sesame, Beans, Maize, Guinea Corn, Mango, Oranges, Banana, Cashew, Pineapple, Bambara nuts, Shea nuts, Ground nuts, Pepper, Tomato, Onions, Okro, Spinach.
Destruction of property personal and public will take years and significant resources to rebuild.
Increased poverty leading to exchange of sex for food in host communities.
The attacks have disenfranchised members of the affected communities.
Non participation in the ongoing continuous voters registration due to displacement.
Destruction of social support structures.
Increase pregnancy, Human trafficking, drug abuse, death, prostitution
Federal Government sent some relief materials for the 169,922 people (60% children).
In addition, there are now over 10,000 Cameroonian refugees in Benue state displaced as a result of the ethno-political crises in Cameroon.
The number is increasing and there is a need to relocate them temporarily to a place where their immediate needs can be met till a more permanent solution is found for their situation.
The refugees also need food items, medical aid, educational support, livelihood support, adequate WASH support, to mention a few.
E. FEDERAL GOVT. RESPONSE
FGN sent 150 bags of rice, 200 bags of maize,1000 blankets, 1000 mosquito nets as well as oil, salt and tomatoes etc to the 170,000 IDPs.
IGP says the ranching law will not be implemented until ranches are built.
Police have arrested 4 of the killers in neighboring Nassarawa state even though the IGP had initially said the Benue Governor’s tip that the attackers operated from their was untrue. However the military and police operation has arrested more Benue indigenes for sundry offenses than the killers responsible for the massacres.
President Buhari grudgingly and belatedly visited Benue State on March 12 – a full 72 days after the New Year’s Day massacre. His 3 minute speech did not offer much and was seen as tokenism pursuant to his meeting later that day with the US Secretary of State. Indeed rather than comforting, it resembled a siege as intimidating security presence crippled public movement and activities in Makurdi.
Federal Government increased funding for herders from $200 million to $1 Billion. No commensurate provision was made for endangered Farmers.
FGN attempting to disarm private citizens and hunters without a concurrent effort to disarm the actual killers
FGN again tried to stop a mass burial in Benue for the latest victims killed in March.
President Buhari did not pay respects at the cemetery of the New Year’s Day Massacre unlike ex-president Obasanjo who visited days earlier.
President has directed all Governors during a Council meeting not to build houses on grazing routes
President said he was not aware that the Inspector General of Police did not redeploy to Benue in January as ordered