Nigerians in the UK held a demonstration in London today against the bloodletting across the country by suspected Fulani herdsmen. The protest, which kicked off around 10:30am, began with the protesters blockading the entrance to the Nigerian High Commission in Northumberland Avenue.
Staff at the High Commission shut all the entrances and called the police, who asked the demonstrators to move to the other side of the road. The demonstration then proceeded down Whitehall with chants of: “Buhari, no more killing, Buhari, enough is enough”. The protesters stopped off at the UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s residence, Number 10 Downing Street, where a delegation of leaders of the Mutual Union of the Tiv in the UK (MUTUK) led by their president Kuram Gwakyaa presented a petition to the Prime Minister on what they called “genocide” against their people by Fulani herdsmen.
Gwakyaa told Naijiant.com that the delegation was promised a reply to their petition in writing from Theresa May. He also said that this reply will be published on their website and promised that the demonstration was “not the end, just the beginning” of action to end the killings.
The demonstration continued across the road from the gates of Downing Street with the crowd singing: “All we are saying, Buhari must go”, alternating the second line with: “No more killings”.
Addressing the crowd, Shadrach Iornem, vice president of MUTUK, said that Nigerians in the diaspora “have taken the baton from those suffering from Fulani herdsmen violence back home and say no to barbaric killings.” He called on the international community to act to end the killings. He revealed that they have asked Theresa May and the international community to send a “fact-finding mission” to assess the devastation caused by the herdsmen. Iornem informed the crowd that their petition warned Prime Minister May that the violence could escalate into a massive refugee crisis that could reach the doorsteps of the UK and have repercussions for her country. He urged her to “speak to Buhari”, adding that “his [Buhari’s] silence is disturbing”.
Iornem also quoted Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, who said: “If insurgency lasts for more than 24 hours, the government has a hand in it”. Iornem used Abacha’s quote to suggest that the Nigerian government must be involved in the Fulani herdsmen violence for it to last so long with very little steps taken to end the killings.
The Tiv are the majority ethnic group in Benue State, which has seen an escalation in Fulani herdsmen killings with over 70 people killed in the first few days of the New Year.
While the protest was organised by MUTUK, it drew UK-based Nigerians of different ethnic groups. There was a similar protest in London against killings by the herdsmen, but still the Buhari regime has refused to act decisively on the matter.