Edo police aiding vigilante to attack our people, kill cows – Fulani leader
The Fulani community in Edo State has raised the alarm, saying the police are aiding vigilante groups in the state to attack and forcefully evict them from the state.
The Sarkin Fulani of Edo State, Alhaji Mohammed Usman Sosal, told Daily Trust that members of the vigilante groups, accompanied by the police, have shot five herders and killed several cattle over the last few days.
“The recent attack on our people and their property started when policemen led men of the vigilante group to kill our animals and shot many of our herdsmen.
“We learnt that the Edo State deputy governor is planning to evict the Fulani communities who have been in the state for decades, we are more of Edo State than the deputy governor who used to stay in Kaduna and only came to Edo when he was appointed deputy governor.
“I have been in Edo for over 35 years and most of our people don’t even know anywhere apart from Edo as they were born and brought up here.
“They are planning to evict us from the state as they are accusing some of the Fulani of kidnapping. It is not only the Fulani that are into kidnapping; even the indigenes of the state are into it.
“Before the police arrested one Fulani for kidnapping, they would have arrested 30 people who are not Fulani. Having bad eggs in a community does not mean all the members of the community are bad,” he said.
Sosal added that the state government did not invite the leaders of the Fulani community before arriving at the decision to evict them from the state.
He said they had reported the attack on their people to the commissioner of police but the situation had remained the same as they were told the order came from above.
One of the victims, Alhaji Ya’u, told Daily Trust that the vigilante groups shot two of his herders on July 21 while several cows were killed.
“They are just attacking our herdsmen and killing our animals, if they want us to leave the state, they should have given us time,” he said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Chidi Nwabuzor, said nobody reported to the police that his cows were killed or his herders were being attacked in the forest.
He, however, said he was aware of the marching order to rid forests of criminals following a security meeting by the state government, the Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, sister security agencies and other stakeholders in the state.
“The security agents and the vigilante groups were ordered to go into the forest to weed out all manner of criminal elements and destroy their camp. This is to ensure that our forest, which is mainly for farming is not a place of abode for kidnappers,” he said.