Killer Herdsmen: How seasonal movement lead to the killings in Plateau (June) and Benue (January)

To a Fulani man, a cow is the symbol of success. Without cows, people see him as nothing. He makes sure his cattle eat and drink water even before he does same, nothing matters to him except the well-being of his cattle. If food is insufficient in an area or grazing area is in conducive and could make him lose one cattle, he moves immediately elsewhere,”    Sadiq Adamu, Interview with the SUN NEWS

To all the grazing perfect regions,  with an abundance of spring water and lush greenery; the herdsmen are coming your way. Welcome him or perish (At least that’s how it stands in Nigeria today)

MAY- JUNE 2018;   PEAK OF THE RAINING SEASON
The Fulani Herdsmen and their cattle are leaving Benue and moving Northwards to Plateau and Southern Kaduna

Why  most of the herdsmen are leaving Benue – Taraba region
The Benue / Taraba region has become to muddy, cattle can’t move freely
The Tse- tse flies are out, these insects could make the cattle fall ill. Plateau state is tsetse fly free

The herdsmen arrive plateau:
About 120 persons were killed in Several villages in Barkin Ladi, Mangu, and Riyom local government areas of plateau state in fresh attacks by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen, while 200 other sustained gunshot injuries “– Vanguard publication

The villages attacked in plateau are perfect for grazing: 

Riyom and Barkin Ladi was strategically chosen for the open Grass lands scattered across the plateau with limited trees, that means cattle can roam and graze freely.

The soil is fertile and there is abundance of agricultural output from exotic fruits like apples, grapes, pears  to regular food stuffs  Maize, Rice and Millet, Tubers .
The altitude ranges from around 1,200-4000m above sea level making the temperature at Riyom temperate and Tse Tse fly free
In addition, Riyom and Barkin Ladi Local governments is located in a strategic location to diary plants and easy access to markets
Mangu local government also attacked has crater lakes – small lakes right in the middle of the grassy plains.
But most importantly, these locations (Barkin Ladi, Mangu, and Riyom) also have access to several natural waterfalls within the state but the most popular are Kurra Falls & Assop Falls among other

When the Fulani herdsmen came that fateful day I was with my mother, brother and aunties at home. They started shooting everywhere and when I heard the gunshots I ran outside the house, my brother tried to run and escape too, but they shot him. I hid somewhere watching them. Later, I heard the voice of my mother aloud from the house, then I knew she was in trouble. Almost immediately I heard a gunshot, I couldn’t hold my tears.

I cried in silence so that they would not come after me. I saw them, they wore black dresses and were speaking Fulani Language. They were burning houses, many houses were burnt and people were fleeing in droves.”   Mabas Danjuma, an 18-year-old speaking to the New telegraph

Based on historic precedence, the herdsmen may continue up North to Southern Kaduna.

The high lands of Jos plateau stretches into the neighboring town (Southern Kaduna Kagoro). Just like Jos,  Kagoro Mountains lie on a highland about 1220 meters above sea level- Kagoro hills is home to fresh water spring and Mastira waterfalls. That explains the numerous southern Kaduna killings.

JANUARY  2nd MASSACRE IN BENUE/ PEAK OF DRY SEASON
The grasses  and drinking water are drying up in the plateau plains.  There is a desperate search for food to feed the herds . The cattle are loosing weight.The Fulani begin their southward migration, they would have to find locations close to rivers and streams.
Benue state have many small stretches of rivers passing through many local governments. The longest river Kastina- Ala

The moon district, Kwande local Goverment Benue. The streams keeps the vegetation green and fresh all year round. 10 people were killed and houses burnt in April this year.

The presence of the rivers and fresh water soil, keeps the Benue grass green even during the dry season
And the dry air of the harmattan has reduced the tse tse fly significantly.

The herdsmen arrive Benue

Over 50 persons including nine members of Benue Livestock guards have been reportedly killed in coordinated attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

That was the headline that started the outrage of the New Year massacre, the body count increased to 76 people. And a mass burial that got people even more outraged

Based on historical precedence, the herdsmen would move down wards towards the south east to other  fertile locations were green grass  and water beckons.

Taraba State .Abakiliki.  Anambra  Taraba

‘’Sometimes they would not come for five years and when we least expect, they would return but not without seeking permission from us,”Apeaor Adebo from Moon district.

The Fulani Herdsmen in today’s Nigeria feel really empowered. A lot of powerful Nigerians are from Fulani (am not insinuating anything)
President Muhammadu Buhari,  Ahmadu Bello, Aliko Dangote, Aminu Kano, Shagari, Abubakar Rimi, Yar’Aduas, Atiku, El-Rufai, Emir of Kano, etc
read more about what most of them say about the herdsmen

“The River Benue and the tributaries and also the international routes and roads that pass through Benue don’t belong to Benue State Government, they belong to the Federal Government. Benue State Government has no jurisdiction over River Benue, its tributaries, the lakes, the river basins, they are all federal Governments.”National Secretary of Miyetti-Allah Kautal Hore, Saleh Alhassan, 

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