Northern Groups Vow: We Will Retrieve Our Lands From Fulani Gunmen

THE Conference of Autochthonous Ethnic Nationalities Community Development Association (CONAECDA) has decried the persistent land grabbing and killing of people of minority tribes in the northern part of Nigeria by Fulani militias, vowing to recover all lands and communities forcibly and illegally occupied by the Fulani gunmen. The group, which comprises many ethnic nationalities in the North Central and other Northern states of the country, posited that the manner in which insecurity was being handled showed insincerity of public officials in dealing with the issue.  Addressing newsmen in Jos, Plateau State, the Secretary General of CONAECDA, Dr Suleiman Sukukum, berated the government for its posture on the plight of the ethnic minorities in the North, saying that the organisation had decided to recover such communities.  “With regard to displaced communities, the CONAECDA conference has decided to immediately commence a project secure, reconstruct and protect such communities. We, therefore, use this occasion to notify all trespassers and occupiers of our communities that we are coming after them and shall recover through every legitimate means our communities and lands,” Sukukum said.  He pointed out that criminal activities cut across ethnicities and religions but a preponderance of such activities are carried out by men of the Fulani ethnic stock.  He listed the crimes to include kidnapping for ransom, trade in human parts, human trafficking, child trafficking, sex slavery, banditry and cattle rustling. Sukukum equally observed that embarrassed by the security and humanitarian situation, some public figures had resorted to denying the extent and impact of the crisis rather than act decisively in addressing the issue.  To ward off the frequent attacks and harassment, Sukukum declared that in line with the international best practice, communities and individuals would begin the fencing of their property and this would include the planting of protective plants and other relevant barriers.  “We use this opportunity to notify all intending trespassers that they will be arrested and prosecuted according to existing laws, whenever and wherever they trespass into our private or public property.  “All livestock holders are required to barricade their animals to avoid trespassing.  “The CONAECDA Secretariat shall provide legal aid to all its members communities concerning this issue,” he said.  On terrorism, he implored the government to be objective and cooperate with all Nigerians and all vulnerable communities, adding that the action of the government and its agents were not assuring that the government was on the side of the citizens and not sympathetic or supportive of terrorists.  “If the government cooperates with us rather than work against us, this issue can be dealt with faster. We all need to wake up and act on these serious 

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