Abuja - The leader of the Fulani ethnic group has revealed why his people attacked the Agatu natives of Benue State, destroying properties and killing civilians in the hundreds.
According to a Premium Times report, Saleh Bayeri, Interim National Secretary of the Gan Allah Fulani Association, has defended his people, saying the conflict that ravaged Benue State in February was the result of a reprisal attack over the alleged killing of a prominent Fulani man in 2013.
Insisting that the Agatu farmers were aggressors, Bayeri stated that the killing of one of their most notable kinsmen reverberated throughout the Fulani community, causing him to question why former Senate President David Mark was only just realising the meaning of genocide.
David Mark, a one-time military Governor of Niger State, had his convoy attacked last week when he was due to assess losses of lives and damage to property as a result of a February attack on 10 Agatu communities which resulted in the death of hundreds.
Mark had referred to the attack as a genocide.
Although the Senate had earlier blamed the attack on Boko Haram insurgents, Bayeri has insisted that the attack was orchestrated by Fulani herdsmen, revealing that approximately 20 Agatu and Tiv militia had invaded the compound of Shehu Abdullahi, a Fulani herdsman, killing him and stealing 200 of his cows in 2013.
According to Bayeri, police officials had arrested four of the attackers and impounded 16 motorcycles which were used to transport meat from the cows.
Bayeri stated that his kinsmen had reported the whereabouts of the remaining 150 cows to police and had received a promise that the livestock would be returned promptly. He insists the promise has yet to be fulfilled.
The Fulani leader narrated how a dangerous point was reached between the Agatu and Fulani people three days after the murder of their herdsman.
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“A prominent Fulani leader, Ardo Madaki, was invited to the palace of the district head of the area on the grounds that a solution was being sought to the problem.
“However, the Agatu militia beheaded Ardo right in front of the district head.
“This action reverberated across all Fulani people in the whole of West Africa and the clamour for revenge began to grow strong. He comes from a very well respected clan and the Agatu sent the Fulani a chilling message with his murder."
“Till date, no action was taken, even by the village police station on this murder,” he said.
Bayeri has revealed that the Fulani community has records of how the Agatu killed 300 of its people, saying “but because we don’t have people in government or the media, no one said anything when genocide was being carried out against our people.”
The Fulani leader has since called on Government to set up an independent judicial commission of inquiry into the case.
“We have a full inventory of all the Fulani people killed by Agatu and we would produce the evidence as long as the inquiry commission is not under the National Assembly," he said.
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