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Nairaland Forum / Nairaland / General / Politics / Rimba, The FCT Community On The Brink Of Herders-farmers Crisis Escalation (106 Views)
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|Rimba, The FCT Community On The Brink Of Herders-farmers Crisis Escalation by Shehuyinka: 5:47pm On Mar 29|
Last year, 2022, holds terrifying memories for farmers in Rimba, a remote community in Abaji Area Council of the FCT, due to the incessant destruction of crops by cattle. In addition, Police efforts to charge a herder to court for the attempted murder of a farmer were frustrated by backdoor settlement, Sinafi Omanga of The ICIR reports.
On the afternoon of October 23 last year, 23 years old farmer Kefas Luka visited his farm about three kilometres away from his home. With their herder in sight, he found a herd of cattle grazing on his budding millet farm.
Luka did not anticipate the brutal episode that followed.
“I wanted to record the Fulani herdsman with my phone to use as evidence. Only for him to bring out a long cutlass and cut the hand I was using to hold the phone,” Kefas said, teary-eyed.
“It was not the first time they were destroying our crops, and whenever we report, their people and the police don’t take any action”, he added.
Several months after the incident, Kefas is still receiving treatment at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada; his full recovery is not in sight yet.
Wrapped with a bandage, his wound still oozed pus, “The doctor said I still have four surgeries to undergo. Every day, I go to the hospital for checkups, but sometimes I feel like I have lost my hand”, he groaned.
At least 30 farmers in Rimba who are mainly Gbagyi told The ICIR that their farms were either looted or grazed by herders. Some of them said the herders put their cattle to pasture in the farmland with impunity.
The consistent destruction of crops by the cattle whose herders the community described as mainly Fulani is festering resentment and leading to hunger.
Though located in the FCT, Rimba has struggled with infrastructural deprivations such as clean water, mobile network, hospital, electricity and access roads.
The persistent face-offs between herdsmen and Rimba farmers over the destruction of crops are hardly reported to the police but rather handled informally through village chiefs, findings by The ICIR revealed.
However, the October incident with Luka was reported to the police, Bagudu Usman was identified as the primary suspect.
“We reported the matter because it was very serious” according to Pius, Luka’s elder brother, who had reported the matter at the Abaji Police Area Command, Abuja.
After investigation, Police declared Usman’s offence as “an attempted murder” which would be transferred from the Abaji Area Command to Force Headquarters, Abuja.
But, in what appeared to be a big surprise, Usman, the accused, was released from police custody after spending three weeks at the command’s detention, Pius explained.
Shedding light on why Usman was released, the Area Commander of Abaji Police Area Command, who was mandated by the FCT Police spokesperson, Josephine Adeh to speak on the matter, referred to the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
“By law, the police cannot detain a suspect for more than 48 hours, but because it was a case that bordered on life, we obtained an affidavit from the court to retain him in detention for almost a month.
“But the victim’s family members and village chiefs came here and bailed the suspect. I was surprised”, said Abiodun Makanjoula, the Abaji Police Area Commander.
When The ICIR visited Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Abaji Branch, to speak with Usman, the branch chairman, Abdullahi Musa, said the suspect is not from around there, he was hired by a cattle owner, Isa Alih to herd over four hundred cows.
MACBAN, an advocacy group centred on advancing the interest of Fulani pastoralists in Nigeria, said since Usman was released from Police custody, he has “disappeared” from the community.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.icirnigeria.org/rimba-the-fct-community-on-the-brink-of-herder-farmers-crisis-escalation/
|Re: Rimba, The FCT Community On The Brink Of Herders-farmers Crisis Escalation by Ilamdad: 5:48pm On Mar 29|
Fct should be a safe territory
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