06/26/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – Radicalized Fulani militants, who belong to the largely nomadic Fulani herding communities found mostly in northern Nigeria, pose threats to Christian farming villages. Militants often attack Christians and burn their farms, especially in more rural communities.
Residents of Christian villages that are facing Fulani threats say that whenever the Fulani bring their herds to graze on a local farm, the farmers expect that radicalized Fulani militants will still come and attack them at night. In the villages of Ancha, Hukke Kpachudu, Tafigana, and Nkiedoro, the residents, who are Christian, are threatened daily by the presence of the Fulani herdsmen. Locals say Fulani illegally graze their herds on Christian-owned farms armed with big knives and guns.
“The Fulani sacked 35 people from their farms yesterday,” Ezekiel Bini, National Youth Leader of Irigwe Youth, told an ICC staff member last week. He was referring to a recent attack on a Christian village in Miango county, located in northern Nigeria, that has lost over 500 Christian farmers to Fulani attacks within the last two years and seen an additional 13,000 people displaced.
In addition to killing farmers, radicalized Fulani have burned houses, attacked churches, and stolen valuables in many Christian villages throughout northern Nigeria.
In Christian-majority Miango county and surrounding areas, police do nothing to protect Christians because ethnic Fulani controls the region. A farmer told ICC that Fulani herdsmen released over 300 cows on people’s farms, allowing them to graze freely on food crops where fertilizer had already been applied.
“The security will do nothing,” said Emmanuel Gani, a corn and potato farmer whose farm was among the 35 farms that were destroyed. Gani said he knows that police and security forces will not take any serious action to punish the perpetrators. The Fulani will be given back their cows and will not be charged, leaving the farmers hungry.
Another farmer, Yusuf Sunday, a local church elder, said he just had finished applying fertilizer worth over $240 USD the morning of June 21, not knowing his farm was going to be destroyed by militants later that day.
Other farmers said that they believe this persecution by the radicalized Fulani herders is intended to make them forsake Christ, but they will continue to stand firm in their faith. They said that even though they may be famished, God will provide.
Local church leaders are calling for justice and appealing to the government to put a stop to this biased treatment of the Fulani to protect the Christians trying to make a living in the region.
Last year, Nigeria earned the distinction of being the country with the world’s worst persecution in ICC’s Persecutor of the Year Awards. Radicalized and armed Islamist Fulani have killed tens of thousands of Christians and left more than three million homeless in a 20-year genocide against them.
“Christian communities in the Middle Belt of Nigeria have effectively suffered a twenty-yearlong genocide,” said ICC President Jeff King. Where is any action? The Nigerian government gives these attacks lip service without any meaningful response. “Where is the outcry? Where is effective action? In Nigeria, the military, the police, and the intelligence agencies are all controlled by Muslims. This, coupled with a twenty-year lack of response by these agencies, should naturally lead to deeper questioning by the world community. Simply put, the time for cheap talk and platitudes is over. The world is waking up and starting to ask, “Is the Nigerian government complicit in these attacks.” Time will tell, but for this long-time watcher, the decision is in.
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