Niger’s beef with rustling, herder at­tacks

Kid­nap­ping, cat­tle rustling and other crimes have com­bined to put Niger State on the spotlight.

Weekly Trust - - News | Special Report - Ahmed Tahir Ajobe, Minna

Crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties in neigh­bour­ing Za­ma­fara, Kebbi, Sokoto and Kaduna states have ex­ac­er­bated the sit­u­a­tion with the bor­der points as es­cape routes and the forests link­ing them as hide­outs. The re­cent at­tacks by herders have also com­pounded the al­ready del­i­cate se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the state.

Tears over the demise of Mom­moh Musa Shaba, an As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent with the Niger State Com­mand of the Nige­rian Se­cu­rity and Civil De­fence Corps (NSCDC) may have dried up. But his un­cer­e­mo­ni­ous exit from the world on Fri­day, Jan­uary 13 has left a per­ma­nent vac­uum in the minds of his two chil­dren and young wife even as they will en­dure the pains for life.

Shaba, 33, was one of the sac­ri­fi­cial lambs in a reprisal by herds­men who stormed Sabon Daga area at 3.am that Fri­day. He, along with other of­fi­cers and men of the corps as well as those of the po­lice, were sent in to pro­tect lives fol­low­ing a clash be­tween some vil­lagers and herders five days ear­lier, which led to the death of four per­sons. So also was the late In­spec­tor Joshua Sarumi of the state po­lice com­mand, who later died of bul­let wounds from the at­tack.

The duo along with three oth­ers con­firmed by the au­thor­i­ties to have lost their lives, have since been buried in their re­spec­tive vil­lages, while oth­ers who sus­tained in­juries will live to tell the story of the ugly in­ci­dent.

The clash ex­pect­edly left a sour taste across the state, not only be­cause of the ca­su­al­ties but the level of de­struc­tion, es­pe­cially of farm pro­duce at a time when prices of food­stuff are sky­rock­et­ing. Stores of yams, mil­let, sorghum, maize and oth­ers were set ablaze in the at­tack which also ren­dered about 6, 000 peo­ple home­less. Emer­gency agency of­fi­cials had to pro­vide tem­po­rary camps for the dis­placed that have no nearby rel­a­tives to ap­proach for shel­ter.

Wor­ried by the devel­op­ment, Gov­er­nor Abubakar Sani Bello called el­ders and stake­hold­ers among the feud­ing par­ties to a round­table and made them sign a peace ac­cord.

“They were made to sign an un­der­tak­ing that such in­ci­dents would not hap­pen again with both par­ties agree­ing to live to­gether”, a source close to the meet­ing told our cor­re­spon­dent yes­ter­day.

Fol­low­ing the devel­op­ment, the dis­placed per­sons who were camped in a pri­vate farm be­long­ing to a for­mer Head of State, re­tired Gen­eral Ab­dul­salami Abubakar, were con­vinced to return home.

“The tem­po­rary camps were dis­banded af­ter the lead­ers of both par­ties asked their mem­bers to return home Mon­day evening,” NSEMA Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Ahmed Ibrahim Inga said.

He said the state gov­ern­ment had been

Barns set ablaze by herders PHO­TOS:

Yams de­stroyed in one of the at­tacks

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