Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "Climate change is pushing Fulani herdsmen from northern Nigeria to the south, but in this movement of population what is feared is that there could be Boko Haram fighters fleeing military operations" says Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku, director for social communications of the Archdiocese of Abuja to Agenzia Fides.
"The issue of Fulani herdsmen is a very serious matter", said Fr. Patrick after the attack on the village of Nimbus (Enugu State) on 25 April, causing the death of at least 20 people, and the attack against the car belonging to Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, perpetrated on April 28, in Edo State.
"The two locations are distant more than 200 km from each other, but they are always in the southeast of Nigeria", remarked Fr. Patrick, thus indicating the extent of the instability associated with the movement of the Fulani.
"The Sahara is advancing in northern Nigeria, and this year has been particularly hard for Fulani herdsmen who are coming down with tens of thousands of cattle to the south in search of water and pasture", says the priest. "This is fueling tensions with the farmers in the central and southern parts of the Country. The Fulani are armed to protect their herds from cattle rustling. But the massacres ascribed to them in recent times in southern Nigeria appear to be the work of other groups that are hiding behind this mass movement of shepherds". "More and more Nigerians argue that the massacres were committed by members of Boko Haram who are moving to the south of Nigeria", said the priest. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 02/05/2016)