Edo police help vigilante attack our people and kill cows – Fulani leader

The Fulani community in Edo state has sounded the alarm, saying the police are helping state vigilante groups to attack and forcibly evict them from the state.

The Sarkin Fulani of Edo State, Alhaji Mohammed Usman Sosal, told the Daily Trust that members of the vigilante groups, accompanied by the police, shot dead five shepherds and killed several cattle in the past few days.

“The recent attack on our people and their property began when police officers led vigilante men to kill our animals and shot many of our shepherds.

“We learned that the Deputy Governor of Edo State is planning to evict the Fulani communities who have been in the state for decades, we are more of Edo State than the Deputy Governor who remained in Kaduna and only came to Edo when he was appointed Deputy Governor.

“I’ve been in Edo for over 35 years and most of our people don’t even know any place other than Edo because they were born and raised here.

“They are planning to kick us out of the state because they are accusing some Fulani of kidnapping. It’s not just the Fulani who are into the kidnapping; even the natives of the state are into it.

“Before the police arrested a Fulani for kidnapping, they allegedly arrested 30 people who are not Fulani. Having bad eggs in a community does not mean that everyone in the community is bad,” he said.

Sosal added that the state government did not invite Fulani community leaders before arriving at the decision to expel them from the state.

He said they reported the attack on their people to the Commissioner of Police but the situation remained the same as they were told the order came from above.

One of the victims, Alhaji Ya’u, told the Daily Trust that vigilante groups shot dead two of his herders on July 21 and several cows were killed.

“They are just attacking our shepherds and killing our animals, if they want us to leave the state they should have given us time,” he said.

When contacted, the state police public relations officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, said no one had reported to the police that his cows had been killed or that his herdsmen had been attacked in the forest.

He however said he was aware of the march order to rid the forests of criminals following a security meeting by the state government, police commissioner Abutu Yaro, the sister security agencies and other state stakeholders.

“Security agents and vigilante groups were ordered to go into the forest to eliminate all kinds of criminal elements and destroy their camp. This is to ensure that our forest, which is mainly for agriculture, is not a place of residence for kidnappers,” he said.

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