The federal government on Tuesday reiterated its claim that violent herdsmen fingered for recent killings in farming communities in Benue, Plateau, Enugu and some other states, are not Nigerians.
The attackers, regularly reported as Fulani herdsmen, come from outside the country and operate in a way similar to that terrorist group, Boko Haram, according to the minister of state for Agriculture, Sen Heineken Lokpobiri.
Vanguard reports that the minister made the assertion while speaking on Tuesday at the public hearing on perennial clashes between herdsmen and farmers organised by the Senate Joint Committees on Agriculture and Rural Development, and National Security and Intelligence.
Heineken stated that all persons who have so far been arrested in connection with the attacks on farmers, cannot speak any Fulani or Nigerian language.
The inability of the arrested herdsmen to speak Nigerian languages, according to the minister, “gives strong credence to the possibility of the violent herdsmen to be another form of terrorists in the mode of Boko Haram.”
The minister also described the perennial conflict between farmers and herdsmen as both a national and regional security. He said the problem faced by herdsmen was also existent in Cote d’Ivoire.
Also at the public hearing, Fulani herdsmen, under the aegis of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), rejected the setting up of ranches and supported the establishment of grazing reserves and called on the government to create Ministry for Livestock Development.