Nigerians in the United Kingdom, on Monday, staged a protest against the killings by the suspected Fulani herdsmen in various parts of Nigeria, especially in Benue State, at the Trafalgar Square, London.
The organisers of the protest, the Mutual Union of Tivs in the United Kingdom (MUTUK), led other members of the Nigerian community in the United Kingdom to the Nigerian High Commission and later to the British seat of government at 10, Downing Street, London.
The protesters holding placards with different inscriptions like “Nigerian Government stop your silence on Fulani herdsmen,” “Stop killing Nigerians, Enough is Enough,” expressed disappointment on the silence of the Nigerian government.
Vice President of MUTUK, Dr. Kohol Shadrach Iornem, speaking on behalf of others, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to offer a lasting solution to the killing of innocent people in Benue State.
“We are here today because of the current problems we are facing in Nigeria in the hands of the Fulani herdsmen who have continued to massacre our children, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers.
“Our leaders back at home have even visited President Muhammadu Buhari to plead with him to take decisive actions. It is sad that immediately after their visit, the Fulani herdsmen terror group killed at least six persons in the same Guma and Logo Local Governments where over 70 people were initially massacred and given state burial.
“We believe the international community does not know about the current genocide in Nigeria and that is there has been no reaction from them. We are here today to let the British Government know about this terror group, who has killed more Nigerians than the Boko Haram.
“It is the responsibility of any government to protect the lives and properties of its citizens and the government have failed us in this regard. In developed countries, the President ought to have tendered his resignation for failing the people who elected him. He is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not the president of a particular ethnic group.
“We ask the Federal Government of Nigeria to consider implementing the “anti-open grazing bill” all Nigerian state. Provide advice to the Federal Government of Nigeria on finding ways to deal with the political and economic dimensions of pastoralism by reducing conflict with farming communities.
“The government should also understand that pastoral nomadism is no longer practicable in this era of rapid population growth and climate change.
“The Nigeria government and the international counter-terrorism coalition should investigate the possible link between the Fulani terrorists and Boko Haram insurgency and the inflow of illicit arms from failed states in the African sub-region, with emphasis on the nexus with Libya and Niger.
The protesters in a letter submitted to the Prime Minister called on the British Government to intervene in what it called “systemic ethnic cleansing in the country.”
The petition to the British PM, Teresa May, was presented by head of the group, Dr Iornem, on behalf of MUTUK to the Nigeria’s High Commissioner who was represented by Head of Chancery, Dr Niyi Ojo.
In the letter, MUTUK called on the British government to: “Intervene in this systematic ethnic cleansing because our security forces have been compromised, adding that “an appeal to the British Government on behalf of our defenceless fellow Nigerians is a desperate plea.
It also said the British government should “evoke the necessary international mechanisms to establish the veracity of the substance of this petition.
“Highlight the problems and humanitarian needs of the displaced populations, particularly women, children and the aged and support for voluntary organisations to provide assistance through self-help.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA) has urged the Federal Government to check the activities of armed herdsmen in Nigeria, saying they pose a security threat to the country.
NIDOA, in a statement by Mrs Patience Key, Chairperson of NIDO USA and Dr George Nwogu, Public Relations Director, NIDO Americas Board of Trustees, condemned what they termed the needless and mindless killings of innocent Nigerians by armed herdsmen.
“It is appalling that in spite of the country’s strict gun control laws, persons purported to be herdsmen carry and use military-style assault weapons openly with impunity.
“These highly armed herdsmen pose terrorist threats to all law-abiding unarmed Nigerians and they must not be allowed to carry on unchecked.
“Armed herdsmen’s terrorism against Nigerians should be condemned by all decent and peace-loving people.
“The continued bloodletting must be stopped immediately. The government should disarm all armed herdsmen as they have no right to carry sophisticated weapons in the guise of shepherding cattle.
“We strongly condemn these barbaric acts of violence by these reckless armed herdsmen and urge the perpetrators of these heinous acts to be brought to book and face justice.
“The continued audacious actions of the herdsmen without regard for human lives and the laws of our land represent a clear and present danger as well as threat to the peace and unity of the country,” it said.
NIDOA asked the government not to waver but deploy all instruments of state security forces not only to punish the perpetrators but to prevent future wanton killings of innocent Nigerians.
It called for efforts to regulate the open cattle grazing method in the country to modern standards that utilise ranches as done in other countries and ensure respect for the dignity of human lives and property.
The group offered its condolences to the people of Benue, Taraba and Nassarawa state as well as all other Nigerians who had lost loved ones to what it termed “wanton criminal acts”.