Edo state government has debunked claims of herdsmen attack in the State trending on the internet, calling it “false alarm originated with some disgruntled individuals”.
According to the Special Adviser to the State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, the photograph trending the internet since February 6 is an old photo from a 2010 attack, unrelated to herdsmen.
“Our investigation into the veracity of some audio messages about attacks on passengers in buses owned by God Is Good Motors and other vehicles, trending on the internet, showed that the story is not true, as the management of the transport service debunked the claim, describing it as completely false. These are some of the shenanigans of these unholy group of people.
“Also, the photograph of dead people on the road allegedly killed by Fulani herdsmen has been trending on the internet since Tuesday. That photograph first hit the internet in 2010. It is pure mischief to circulate the 2010 photograph as an incident that happened yesterday. On the strength of the falsehood the promoters of the photograph set out to achieve, we have reasons to suspect similar internet content.
While advising residents of the state to remain calm and cross-check media contents online, he iterated that the perpetrators “behind the campaign to de-market Edo State are people we know too well. They will stop at nothing in their desperation to advance reasons for them to return to power and plunder the people’s resources. Edo people should beware of false alarms by these unpatriotic elements”.
Do herdsmen really carry guns around?
A study carried out by the Chinua Achebe Center for Leadership and Development reveals that most of the herds are owned by very influential Nigerians who hire men as “protection” for the herds, these men are not herders, neither do they move with the cattle. They mostly travel along bush paths and routes taken by the herders, but never together.
In contrast, one of the researchers, Professor Charles Adisa says; “there is a group of Fulani herdsmen who rear the cattle from the north to the south. These are at the bottom of the Fulani Herdsmen ladder. Some of them do not even know how to speak English and are so poor that they are paid just a little amount of money for their job. These herdsmen do not carry guns. They only carry arrows and machetes to help them navigate the bushes on their way down to the South”
In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari, while receiving a delegation of Catholic Bishops in the State house, reiterated that the establishment of cattle colonies is not a form of colonization as being speculated.