Shehu Sani, the senator representing Kaduna Central at the National Assembly, says any state governor that pays herdsmen should be considered their patron and therefore a risk to national security.
In a series of tweet apparently directed at Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, Sani said several killings and kidnappings in Kaduna had been “systematically suppressed in order not to embarrass the state and the federal government”.
Though Sani did not explicitly mention el-Rufai, the latter had admitted in 2016 that some herdsmen were paid some ‘compensation’ by the Kaduna State government with the intention of getting them to stop carrying out violent attacks on farmers and local residents across the state.
“Any Governor of a state operating the policy of Conditional Cash transfer to Killer Herdsmen is their patron. And he must be seen and treated as a national security risk,” Sani tweeted.
“The roots of herdsmen mass murder and kidnappings in other parts of Nigeria is in the policy of ‘Paying Fulani Herdsmen’ by some Governors.They appeased a monster with public funds and now the monster is going door to door; Sahel, Savanna and mangrove forests.
“The mass killings and kidnappings going on in parts of Kaduna state is systematically suppressed in order not to embarrass the state and the federal government.
“Poor people kept burying their dead with tears, and others paying heavy ransom to Herdsmen.The victims are expected to praise government for ‘trying’.
“Kaduna State is as unsafe as Benue, Zamfara and Taraba States. Birnin Gwari bothering Zamfara and Niger state is controlled by heavily armed bandits or herdsmen who are killing both soldiers and civilians. Kidnapping and killing is a daily occurrence. Anything short of this is a lie.”
In 2016, while fielding questions from select journalists in his office, el-Rufai said the origin of herdsmen/farmers clashes was traced to 2011 after the general election. He stated that during the post-election crisis of 2011, some herdsmen were killed and their animals rustled. So the survivors retreated, reinforced and came back to take their revenge.
He said this was established by a committee set up by the state government, headed by Martin-Luther Agwai.
“Fulani herdsmen from across Africa bring their cattle down towards Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria. Unfortunately, it was when they were moving up with their cattle across Southern Kaduna that the elections of 2011 took place and the crisis trapped some of them,” el-Rufai said.
“Some of them were from Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal. Fulanis are in 14 African countries and they traverse this country with the cattle. So many of these people were killed, cattle lost and they organised themselves and came back to revenge.
“So a lot of what was happening in Southern Kaduna was actually from outside Nigeria. We got a hint that the late Governor Patrick Yakowa got this information and he sent someone to go round some of these Fulani communities, but of course after he died, the whole thing stopped. That is what we inherited.
“But the Agwai committee established that. We took certain steps. We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people in Cameroon, Niger republic and so on to tell them that there is a new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations for lives lost and he is begging them to stop killing.
“In most of the communities, once that appeal was made to them, they said they have forgiven.
“There are one or two that asked for monetary compensation. They said they have forgiven the death of human beings, but want compensation for cattle. We said no problem, and we paid some.
“As recently as two weeks ago, the team went to Niger Republic to attend one Fulani gathering that they hold every year with a message from me.”