Nigerian Politician Says West Turns ‘Blind Eye’ to Fulani Terrorists

Former Nigerian minister charges that Fulani have killed 500,000 Nigerians in past 5 years
By Douglas Burton
Douglas Burton
Douglas Burton
Douglas Burton is a former U.S. State Department official who was stationed in Kirkuk, Iraq. He writes news and commentary from Washington, D.C. He can be contacted at burtonnewsandviews@gmail.com.
July 7, 2021 Updated: July 8, 2021

An accord signed last month by G-20 foreign ministers to stamp out the remnants of the ISIS terrorist group and to halt the expanding terror of ISIS-related groups in the Sahel of Africa has been greeted with dismay by prominent Nigerians.

The Western powers missed an opportunity to identify one of the world’s deadliest terror groups—Fulani militias—the Hon. Femi Fani-Kayode told The Epoch Times. Fani-Kayode is the former Nigerian minister of aviation and a leader of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

“The Fulani terrorists, who are described as the world’s fourth most deadly terrorist group by the International Terror Index, are spread all over the country, are encamped in the forests of the Southwest, encamped in the forests of the Southeast, and killing members of the local population encamped in every state of the Middle Belt and encamped in every state of the Northeast,” Fani-Kayode said.

“They are by far the most dangerous, the most potent, and the most organized group, and probably the best-funded.”

Epoch Times Photo
Femi Fani-Kayode, former Nigerian minister of aviation and a leader of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. (Courtesy of Femi Fani-Kayode)

In Nigeria, Africa’s largest state, bandit gangs often transition to terrorist agents, according to former U.S. envoy to the Sahel, J. Peter Pham.

A gang kidnapped 121 high school students in Kaduna State early on the morning of July 5. “According to my count, that would make about 1,000 kids kidnapped for ransom this year,” Pham told The Epoch Times.

The focus of the G-20 foreign ministers gathered in Rome on June 28 was squarely on the ISIS militias.

“The Coalition is committed to working with affected countries to address the threats posed by Daesh/ISIS in Africa to ensure the enduring global defeat of the organization,” the joint communique read. “The Ministers discussed that reinforcing civilian state institutions and consolidating the rule of law, including law enforcement capacity, will be an essential component of combatting Daesh/ISIS, and that the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS will seek to have effective engagement on the African continent.”

Pham said that the G-20 group didn’t mention the Fulani terrorists in deference to the allied government of Nigeria.

“Nigeria would never agree to [calling the Fulani militants ‘terrorists’],” Pham said, “and South Africa, the African representative in the G-20, would ensure that any reference the Nigerians found objectionable would be excluded.”

Fani-Kayode said: “Regarding the international community, it has turned a blind eye to [Fulani killing squads], knowing full well that eventually there will be a civil war in Nigeria, and perhaps that’s precisely what they want.

“They make a lot of the fact that they are fighting Boko Haram, which they really haven’t done and they never did. They say they are going to fight ISWAP [Islamic State West African Province, the rival of Boko Haram], which they may well do, but that’s neither here nor there because ISWAP is not as challenging a presence as the Fulani herdsmen,” who, he added, “have infiltrated every part of the country.”

Fani-Kayode said the Nigerian government has failed to stop the Fulani terrorists because the leadership of the country “leans toward the Fulanis and against everybody else.” The Fulani are a majority-Muslim ethnic group with at least 35 million members spanning 10 countries, from West to East Africa.

“The president himself is a Fulani, and the army is controlled by Northern Muslims. Every single security agency, apart from one, is in the hands of Northern Muslims. They control all of the 17 security agencies,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
J. Peter Pham, former U.S. envoy to the Sahel. (U.S. State Department)

The former minister charged the federal government of Nigeria with complicity in the massacres by allowing the authorities to stand down after massacres in the nation’s Middle Belt.

By his estimates, Fulani militants have killed up to 500,000 Nigerians in the past five years alone. By comparison, since 2010, Boko Haram has killed up to 1 million, while in the past few years, ISWAP has killed up to 100,000. “Certainly, the Fulani bandits have killed more than any other [group],” he said.

“They have also killed thousands in the core north itself, that is, the members of the Hausa indigenous population and even Fulanis who do not agree with them, because [the Fulani terrorists] are mainly foreigners—they are from places like Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Chad, Niger Republic, and all the neighboring countries. They just come here and kill and destroy, and that is their agenda.”

Other criticism of the foreign minister communique in Rome came from a 2019 presidential candidate, Obadiah Mailafia. “The Western ministers can’t ignore the Fulani terrorists, who are more genocidal than ISWAP,” the outspoken Mailafia told The Epoch Times from an undisclosed location in Nigeria. Since security agents interrogated Mailafia last September, he has been in hiding for fear of incarceration without bail.

“The foreign ministers should aim their searchlights on Fulani terrorists as well as ISWAP,” he said.

Benue State Gov. Samuel Ortom said at a press conference on June 30: “If the federal government has demonstrated the will to arrest Nnamdi Kanu [the leader of the Biafra separatist movement], they should have the will to arrest the Fulani herdsmen who are terrorizing our state and our country.

“Especially arrest the Miyetti Allah, who have owned up to the killings in Benue State and have continued to terrorize our land.” The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association is the leadership cadre for the Fulani terrorists.

Rev. Godwin Ukuani, a protestant pastor in Hyattsville, Maryland, told The Epoch Times in a text message, “Benue State Governor Ortom is speaking out basically mocking the [Nigerian President] Buhari government on arresting a leader agitating for his people to be free, while terrorist Miyetti Allah roams the land killing Nigerians, unmolested.”

Ukuani was a child in Biafra during the civil war that took the lives of more than 5 million Igbo tribesmen between 1967 and 1970.

Douglas Burton
Douglas Burton
Douglas Burton is a former U.S. State Department official who was stationed in Kirkuk, Iraq. He writes news and commentary from Washington, D.C. He can be contacted at burtonnewsandviews@gmail.com.