The heinous activities of the Fulani herdsmen who have turned themselves to blood-sucking vampires is gradually taking another dimension and the government has shown to be irresponsible with their continued silence on the atrocities of the Fulani herdsmen who have been killing, maiming and kidnapping on a daily basis.
All these have been done in the guise of migrating from one community to the other in grazing their cows and it has resulted to threatening our collective existence as a people with the Global Terrorism Index labelling them as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world.
Today, several atrocities have been committed in the guise of grazing cows and it has lead to loss of lives and properties of helpless farmers with the government showing insincerity by pretending as if all is well.
The propensity towards engaging the land and farm owners is increasing day-by-day as they update their arsenal with highly sophisticated weapons as claimed by victims of their attack while constituting major security challenge to their host communities with reported cases of killings virtually everyday.
In truth, we have not been this divided and the government has increase the suspicion of the people with the response being given to the atrocities of these herdsmen.
However, at this point in time, it would be incorrect to claim that those committing these crimes are Fulani herdsmen and they must be treated as criminal that they are.
Abandoning your cows to invade peoples’ farmlands, maim and kill them while destroying their farm produce should not be taken with levity because, if care is not taken, there could be a reprisal attack on the part of the farm owners thereby leading to the eventual collapse of the country.
In a twist of event, rather than address the issue of kidnappings and killings which seems to be happening simultaneously in every part of the country, President Buhari last night approved a new official portrait for display in all public offices, businesses and for other legitimate purpose.
One would have expect the President to deal with the menace of Fulani herdsmen the same way he dealt with IPOB to the extent that he went ahead to declare them a terrorist group.
The actions and inactions of President Buhari has been strengthening the suspicions of the people that the Fulani herdsmen have been operating with impunity to the extent that they have now abandoned their business of grazing cows to killing and kidnapping innocent and helpless people in the society.
Despite the fact that the British-made Nigeria is about to fall into the abyss of history with recurrent issues of unnecessary killings and kidnappings in every part of the country, the President rather than take steps in calling all Nigerians together to design their own house and live in it according to their architecture, he pulled a diversionary stunt and away from the current plagues of political locusts within and outside the All Progressives Congress by labelling those calling for security to be strengthened ‘unpatriotic’.
Obviously, the virulent voices of discontent are everywhere signalling a break off this marriage of inconvenience called ‘Nigeria’. Or, where is the common identity where freedom of movement amongst citizens is without threats and fear in virtually all the parts of the country? Where is the freedom to religious practices where Christians cannot go to church on Sundays without fear of being killed? What is in a Union where people cannot pursue their legitimate business without being killed by marauders? Indeed, the woes hampering our progress as a people cannot be unconnected with our resolve to shy away from the truth all in the name of political correctness or blind party loyalty.
The National leader of the President’s party all in the name of justifying the security lapses being witnessed in the country which has exposed a reasonable number of the populace to attack from different angle and covering the irresponsibility of this government prove how hypocritical he could be by reducing matters of national urgency to a mere joke while drawing unnecessary lines of ‘logic’ with no correlation. Agreed! Those perpetuating these crimes should not be referred to as Fulani herdsmen as we cannot call a carpenter who left his carpentry job to rob a carpenter but an armed robber, but, we must not be too quick to forget that the identity the people who have once been attacked by them can give them is ‘Fulani herdsmen’ who decided within them to abandon their cows to committing crimes in the society as a result of the porous security situation of the country.
It is quite unfortunate that a country which offered so much in hope and possibilities for its citizens at independence has today become a land of suffering, insecurity and near hopelessness signposted by youth unemployment, poor electric power supply and ethno-religious crisis recently boosted by the activities of Fulani herdsmen. No thanks to rudderless and bumbling leaders who have failed to lead a well-endowed nation to harness the talents of her vibrant, energetic and resilient people.
Rather than fully combat the woes confronting the nation headlong, the present government has proven to be irresponsible and irresponsive while maintaining treacherous silence and spreading narratives to justify the porous security situation of the country.
Today, the strong grip of rapacious, thieving and vaccilating class of people masquerading as leaders has reduced a promising country to the poster child of corruption, underdevelopment and insecurity.
As unfair as it would be to blame the current leadership of the country for all the woes we are battling with as a people, this government has shown little or no commitment to take the country out of the doldrums.
Unfortunately, our unflinching trust in the fortified paedophile elements and Almajiri breeders in the corridors of intellectual debate; the National Assembly as a legal answer to insulating the political ceilings of the Nigerian state has been betrayed. However, before the Vice-President who ate his initial claim in the US during his visit to Fasoranti would come out to claim that the issues of insecurity are being overblown would release a contrary statement, it must be made known that the deployment of soldiers to highways as he suggested during his visit is not in anyway the solution to killings and kidnappings being witnessed in the country, the approach of the government to solving the problem of insecurity must be pragmatic and in doing so, the government needs to;
* Disarm the Fulani herdsmen
* Allow States to truly operates as federating units amongst others
The country is quickly tending to failure as we are currently hosting two of the deadliest terrorist groups at the same time and the President is yet to come in contact with this truth. With the enormous crimes being committed by these elements, all the President could do is to create excuse for them by blaming it on foreigners, yet, no serious concerted effort has been put in place to tackle illegal migration by strengthening our border system thereby stemming the growth of violence.
The President with his actions and inactions in corroborating Obasanjo’s point in his recent letter is “fanning the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence” by giving special treatment to people of Fulani descent.
This is evident with the failure of security operatives to enforce the arrest of the President of the Northern Youth Coalition after he issued a 30-day ultimatum to Southern State Governors to accept the Federal Government’s RUGA policy which is meant to acquire lands for herdsmen in every part of the country, failing which Southerners residing in the North would face reprisal.
The statement in entirety is a call to violence which is enough to stir war in every part of the country and possibly lead to a Rwandan-like genocide, unfortunately, there was no invitation extended to him by security operatives, yet, they were so quick to arrest Uwazuruike. This is the time for the President to be decisive and, in doing this, he must ACT!
Kazeem Olalekan Israel (GANI)
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife