Fulani Christians in Nigeria have spoken out against the persistent attacks and killings attributed to Fulani herdsmen in the central state of Plateau, calling on them to embrace peace and shun all acts of violence.
Rev. Buba Aliyu, chairman of the Fulbe Christian Association of Nigeria, led a contingent of Fulani Christian leaders on a visit to the palace in Irigwe, where 60 people have been killed in recent attacks, including 27 people who had sought refuge in a school where the army had a base.
“In this period of mourning, we have come to condole with the entire Irigwe chiefdom, the Plateau people and Nigeria as a country, and we pray that God will grant you the fortitude to bear this loss,” Rev. Aliyu said.
“We as [the] Fulbe Christian Association of Nigeria do not support such dastardly acts; we call on all Fulani and other tribes to please live in peace and harmony and shun any act that could breed violence.”
Another member of the contingent, retired General Ishaku Dikko, said a panel should be set up to unravel the root cause of the crisis and prevent further attacks.
He added that Nigerians needed to be “patient” with the country’s security forces. “They are dealing with Nigerians. This is not war situation, it is an issue of internal security, and principally their effort is to contain it, and not to allow it [to] degenerate,” he said.
“I can even say that the Special Task Force troops are even overstretched, because they cover up to Southern Kaduna.”
rigwe’s chief, Ronku Aka, said the community had forgiven the herdsmen. “My people, during an open field prayer on 28 October, where about 4,000 persons of the chiefdom were in attendance, were asked by the preacher that day to forgive the Fulani or whoever attacked and killed our people,” he said.
“We all have resolved to forgive the perpetrators unconditionally. As I speak, there are still Fulani doing their business in Irigwe land; some are driving their buses and taxis as usual and very soon I believe everything will become normal.”
The chief thanked the Christian Fulanis for their visit, and assured them they are still welcome to hold their annual prayer meeting in Irigwe.