No one needs to be told that the most chilling news for Biafrans in this year 2020, was that which relayed the formation of the Eastern Security Network (ESN). It is the best and highest Christmas package that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has given. It is a gift of love, a gift of honour and a gift of courage.
Biafrans have variously seen how the deadly Fulani terror herdsmen are and the need for everybody including other indigenous ethnic groups in Nigeria, to protect themselves knowing fully well that those in authority have woefully failed the citizens.
Just according to Jubilee Campaign report of November 2020, it was stated that since the year 2001, over 60,000 people have died in the Middle Belt terror attacks. Between 2012 and 2016, Fulani extremists killed over 2,500 people in Nigeria, according to Global Terrorism Index report.
The International Committee on Nigeria [ICON] included in it’s 2020 report, the Nigeria’s Silent Slaughter, a series of graphs exhibiting a disconcerting trend. Though the terrorism against and persecution of Nigerian Christians by Fulani militants is a “recent” trend- compared to the historical wrath of Boko Haram, the number of killings is staggering.
In Nigeria from the period of January 2000 to January 2020, ICON has recorded 18,834 deaths as a result of Fulani militant violence and the number of incidents per four years have been steadily increasing.
From the period of 2000 to 2004, Fulani militants were involved in 44 violent incidents in Nigeria, leading to 857 deaths. From 2005 to 2009, Fulani militants engaged in fewer confrontations of 13, resulting in fewer deaths of 693, than the previous period. However, Fulani Islamic terrorist activity experienced a major uptick: from 2010 to 2014, the militants executed 615 incidents, killing 7,551 people and from 2015 to 2020, they carried out 1,289 incidents killing 9,733 Nigerians. In contrast, throughout the later two reporting periods, the number of Boko Haram incidents in Nigeria has remained relatively stable, according to Jubilee campaign reports.
From 2013 to 2014, the Fulani militants went from being “never previously featured among the most deadly terrorist groups” to the fourth mostly deadly terrorist groups of 2014.” According to a May 15, 2020 report by International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law [Intersociety], within the first five months of 2020, 620 Nigerian Christians had been killed in deadly attacks by groups such as Fulani militants and Boko Haram terrorists.
Intersociety further estimated that approximately 11,500 Nigerian Christians have been killed. In June 2020, the United Kingdom’s All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, released a report on Nigeria’s Unfolding Genocide, resulting in their outline, with observations following personal visits to conflict zones in the Middle Belt of Nigeria.
The report revealed that while “the exact death toll is unknown”, organizations such as Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust estimated that no fewer than 6,000 Christian deaths since 2015 could be attributed to Fulani militant attacks and that 1,000 attacks took place between January and November 2019 alone.
However, it is important to note that these estimates, while significant and suggestive of genocidal proportions, are quite low in comparison to local organizations such as the Christian Association of Nigeria which “reported higher figures: between January and June 2018 [merely 6 months], over 6,000 people were killed by Fulani herders.”
With all these dreadful and heartbreaking reports, it is fitting that people put up their own security outfits that will protect them. No sane and well intended individual will therefore, stand opposed to the formation of Eastern Security Network.
Written by Obulose Chidiebere
Edited by Elemeghideonye Nnamdi Stephen
For Family Writers Press International.