Nigeria: Yoruba/Fulani relations at breaking point, as Buhari security promises ring hollow

By Nwokoye Mpi
Posted on Friday, 26 March 2021 16:51, updated on Monday, 10 May 2021 08:47

People shelter under a truck carrying the coffins of people killed by the Fulani herdsmen, in Makurdi
People shelter under a truck carrying the coffins of people killed by Fulani herdsmen, in Makurdi, Nigeria January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

For centuries, Yoruba farmers and Fulani pastoralists have co-existed in the southwest. Although the relations between the two groups have not been entirely conflict-free, the recent spate of violence threatened to push the largely peaceful relationship over the edge. Now, Yoruba groups are calling for secession, and northern leaders are struggling to maintain unity.

Last month, a fight between two men in Shasha market in Ibadan – a Yoruba cobbler and a Hausa cart pusher – triggered a wave of conflict that spilled out of the market and into the host community, with the Yorubas targeting northerners. In protest of the killing of their people, northern traders blocked the movement of food items and cattle southwards, pushing food prices upwards.

The year began with recurrent incidents of herdsmen killings and kidnappings in several parts of the southwest. Since most of the herders are from northern Nigeria, the indigenes in the southwest – who are mostly Yoruba – fought back.