Over recent years, nomadic Fulani cattle herdsmen have been involved in numerous clashes with local farming communities across the country. Heavily armed with AK47 assault rifles, the herdsmen have been very brutal, wiping out entire villages when they strike, murdering hundreds of men, women and children.
Since a recent attack in Enugu State in which 48 people were killed, there has been pressure on the government to do something about the problem. Speaking in Abeokuta, the Ogin State capital yesterday, General Buratai said the perpetrators of attacks on villagers and farmers in some parts of country may be affiliated to Boko Haram.
He urged Nigerians to be security conscious and to report to security agencies, any suspicious persons or group of people roaming about in their communities. According to General Buratai, the army is investigating the herdsmen and also pursuing them so that their menace could be curbed.
General Buratai added: “One may not be too far from the fact that some of these herdsmen that are attacking communities across the country may have some affiliation to Boko Haram terrorists. This we are further investigating and also pursuing them so that we can address the situation, so let’s be security conscious.
“If you suspect any individual within your community, we should be able to report immediately as timely information is very important. We have our troops deployed in certain areas and I believe the police are working with them to be able to tackle any challenge that comes from them.”
He also revealed that members of the Boko Haram sect did not capture any village when they attacked a small community in Borno State a few days ago, saying Nigerian troops responded swiftly and chased them away. General Buratai noted that troops are patrolling all places in Borno and coordinating with the multinational joint task force to ensure that the nation’s borders are well secured and are blocked from any infiltration.
At the meeting, Ogun State governor Ibikunle Amosun, called for creation of army division in Ogun State. He added that Ogun State’s population has increased to over 7m just as the economy of the state has also expanded to the point where the state can be said to be ripe for an army division of its own.