Nigeria’s military – which has ruled Nigeria directly following five separate coups and “caretaker” governments since independence in 1960 – has never shied from taking action in internal security matters, and particularly against any group that challenges the authority of the Nigerian state.
Like the military’s response to the Biafran separatist movement in the late 1960s, and the Niger Delta insurgence of 2006 until the present, the Nigerian Armed Forces reaction to Boko Haram – an Islamist group that aims to replace the Nigerian government with Islamic sharia law – has been accused of substantial human rights abuses and excessive force, but Nigerian officials say that harsh methods are justified against violent groups such as Boko Haram.
Mohammed Abdullahi, secretary for the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association – which often speaks for the disparate Fulani-speaking community – urged villagers to disregard the military order, adding that association members would not move an inch from their villages.
“We are calling on the Federal government, United Nations, and other Human Rights bodies to put eyes on the possible genocide being planned by the soldiers," the group said in a statement. "If this is allowed to happen,” the Fulani group warned, “nobody should blame the Fulani man for taking every measure necessary to defend himself."
Ardo Isa Jafaru, an ethnic Fulani from the Jos area, blamed powerful ethnic Fulani politicians, such as National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki, and religious figures such as Sultan Saad Abubakar from failing to stand up for the Fulani people in the current standoff.