Legal Implications of Recurrent Mass Killings in Nigeria by Fulani Herdsmen
Kaniye S. A. Ebeku

In recent years Nigeria has been experiencing recurrent killings of innocent people by Fulani herdsmen. Apart from unlawful killing of human beings, houses and other property have been damaged or burnt. Those killed included women and children. Noteworthy, the Fulani herdsmen belong to a distinct ethnic group in Nigeria and are mainly a nomadic group of cattle rearers who move from place to place to graze their cattle. This cultural and long-standing practice of cattle grazing did not create any significant problem in the past, but in recent years due to a combination of factors, including population explosion, poverty, and climate change, the grazing activities of the herdsmen have become a source of conflict between them and farmers. Whatever may be the reason for the attacks, the truth is that the attacks carry some legal implications. The possible criminal charges the attackers may be liable to include murder, arson, assault, terrorism, and genocide and crimes against humanity. From the angle of civil law, they may also be liable to trespass to land and to the person. This article recommends that the federal government should arrest and prosecute the attackers under relevant criminal provisions in the country. Furthermore, affected persons and states should pursue possible civil actions in the courts. Both approaches would help to curb the recurrent Fulani herdsmen attacks in Nigeria. Moreover, the federal government should adopt the policy of cattle ranching and ensure its implementation as a permanent way ofending incessant farmers-herdsmen clashes.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jlcj.v6n2a4