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‘Stop these attacks’ — pastoralists ask security agencies to protect members

‘Stop these attacks’ — pastoralists ask security agencies to protect members
May 26
07:55 2023

The Coalition of Pastoralists Association of Nigeria (COPAN) has alleged that its members are being killed in some parts of the country because of their ethnic backgrounds.

In a statement issued on Thursday, pastoralists claimed that their members were targeted in Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Benue, Niger, Gombe and other parts of the country.

The pastoralists said in Oyo, some locals in Iganna town, Iwajowa LGA recently “wreaked havoc” in the area, killing 11 persons with several persons sustaining injuries.

“Over 100 houses and huts were set ablaze and razed down by the armed men which led to the loss of properties, food, motorcycles and other utilities,” the groups said.


In Plateau, they said over 300 people were killed and over a thousand displaced, adding that the violence mainly occurs in Mangu LGA.

“Local militia in an orgy of violence attacked pastoralists settlements in Similang, Dunwel, Daika district, Panyam, Kumbun, Yittup, Sabon Gari, Alogwon and Cha leading to the killing of 63 persons and injuring over 100 others. Some cattle were rustled in the many villages,” COPAN said.

“The coalition is worried that this upsurge of violence and the ethnic cleansing of pastoral communities in the local government seemed to be well organised and orchestrated by ethnic bigots who want to continue the ethnic wars on the Plateau.


The groups said in Sokoto, over 16 persons were killed in Gwadabawa LGA by members of an outlawed vigilante group.

They said the violence was reignited in some Tiv LGAs in Benue state following the alleged killing of three herdsmen and shooting/looting of 30 cows in Bamba, Guma LGA in April.

COPAN said their members who were on their annual migration to the southern part of the country in search of pasture were allegedly waylaid and killed in Mashegu LGA of Niger in early May.

“This must be stopped without further delay to mitigate or prevent possible genocide. The extra-judicial killing of pastoralists has become a norm,” the groups said.


“Nigeria is facing one of its most trying moments that bothers security where kidnappings and banditry have become the order of the day. Accusing fingers are pointed at the pastoralists.

“However, this should not be a yardstick to start killing people simply because their kith and kin are among those perpetrating crimes. Crime and criminality are not exclusive reserves of the pastoralists. Many of our members are fished out even in transit and killed instantly. We take exception to where their families, including women and children, are killed unjustifiably by a gang of murderous vigilante groups.”

The groups asked security agencies to quickly “nip this dastardly act now” by arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators.

They also asked state governments to caution vigilante groups because their activities have resulted in “more heightened reprisals from bandits who have been unleashing terror in the surrounding areas”.


While calling on all elected officials at all levels of government “to be responsive” to anything that would escalate insecurity in the country, COPAN asked their members to “exercise restraint in the face of this calamity that has befallen them”.

The statement was signed by Baba Ngelzarma, national president of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN); Salim Musa Umar, president general of Fulbe-Global Development and Rights Initiatives (FGDRI); and Auwal Gonga, vice-president, Tabital Pulaaku International Nigeria.



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