Friday , September 17 2021

HERDSMEN MENACE: PRESIDENT BUHARI SHOULD STOP PLAYING ETHNIC CARD WITH THE LIVES OF NIGERIANS

Paul E. Michael

As one who staked his integrity and life in defence of the then General Mohammadu Buhari presidential ambition, I found it totally disappointing that President Buhari seems not interested in curbing the unruly and bloody conducts of the Fulani herdsmen, which have resulted to the death of several Nigerians across the Nation. The inability of Mr. President to respond promptly to the early actions of the herdsmen, has made the situation to degenerate into serial attacks. If the President fails to act now, then we shall have every reason to believe that our President is running a Fulani agenda, as claimed by some commentators.

One primary responsibility of every government, is to ensure the security of its citizens. This is so vital because there cannot be a government without a people. That apart, the people constituted the government and entrusted national resources into the hands of its front runners simply to make life meaningful for them, not miserable. In another vein, security of lives plays a significant role in the economic growth and development of every Nation. It is a fact that investment suffers where insecurity blossoms. As such, there is no reasonable Investor, who will dare sow his hard earned money in a land without security assurance. This is why leading Nations of the world like America, England, and France among others, does not take likely issues of security.

Factually, while pursuing security, in an era laced with unconventional security threats like terrorism, cyber attacks, disease pandemic, climate change, environmental pollution and the likes, the Cabinet Office and National Security and Intelligence of Britain, published a Policy Paper on 18th October, 2010, titled “A Strong Britain In An Age Of Uncertainty: The National Security Strategy”. The “Strategy” pointed out why the Britain government should put structures in place to allow for effective and quick response to new and emerging threats. Some of the 15 priority risk types identified by the Paper are, acts of terrorism affecting the UK or its interests, hostile attacks upon UK Cyber Space, and a major accident or natural hazard like influenza pandemic.

This action by the British government is targeted at assuring its citizens and Investors of its readiness and determination to ensure the security of lives and investments. The “security strategy”, which is reviewed on a yearly basis, has brought stability and sustainability to the United Kingdom, aside sending a strong signal to disgruntled elements, whose aim is to perpetrate illegality.

From the obvious, the situation is totally different in Nigeria, our only Nation. While security assurance was one major thing promised by President Muhammadu Buhari, prior to the presidential election on March 28, 2015, one wonders why the President is giving little or no attention to the menace and illegality perpetrated by the Fulani’s herdsmen across the Nation. As an agent of “Change”, I as well as other concerned citizens, who yearn for a peaceful and enabling environment, where business and sustainable development can thrive, have received with shock, news of murder, bloody attacks and daylight carriage of unlicensed small and light weapons, by our Fulani Nomadic Brothers, who now find pleasure in slaughtering fellow countrymen for the protection of their cattle. This is highly condemnable, as cattle was made for man, not man for cattle.

Specifically, Vanguard News on March 19, 2016, in a Report titled, “Agatu Massacre: Victims accuse Buhari’s govt of insensitivity”, it was reported that about 300 Nigerians in Agatu Local Government in Benue State, were massacred by the rampaging Fulani herdsmen, 3000 citizens rendered homeless due to razed houses by the same herdsmen, while over 10,000 became emergency Internally displaced persons as they flee for safety. This is aside several other attacks experienceded by Nigerians across the Nation, from North Central to South West, from South South to South East, including the attack on Dori and Mesuma villages in Gashaka Local Government Area of Taraba State, on Sunday 10 April, 2016, killing at least 15 persons. Most recent, is the ungodly attack on Ukpabi Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani council of Enugu state, where no fewer than 48 persons were reported killed. It is unbelievable that this lawlessness is brewing under the watch of a President, who has vowed to kill corrption before it kills Nigeria.

It is quite unfortunate that President Buhari, who stated categorically that “I belong to everybody, but belongs to nobody”, is playing ethnic card with the lives of Nigerians, who withstood several oppositions to ensure victory for APC during the last presidential election, in a bid to seek a new Nation, thus making worse the economic situation of the Nation, considering the destruction of farmers crops and the fear imposed on subsequent investors. Without fear nor favour of persons, I wish to advice Mr. President to reject the temptation of ethnocentrism and accept the glory of national integration. As a President, Mohammadu Buhari has the entire Nation as his constituency, he should stop acting as a President of the Fulani Nation to the detriment of the Nigerian State. His seemingly silent posture regarding the incessant killings of innocent Nigerians, is unleashing unbearable havoc on Nigerians, as it has given the herdsmen more courage and determination to ignite a bloody cold war, which now brews as affected communities keep on attracting angry sympathizers.

Meanwhile, the Police through which the government protects its citizens has done nothing substantial other than promising investigation and little arrest here and there. This means the government has no plan on how to prevent these unwholesome attacks on Nigerians, except for the Reserved Grazing Bill it submitted to the National Assembly, with fate unknown. As a lover of Change, I expected that strong security policies and structures will be put in place by our President, to send a very strong message to those taking Laws into their hands irrespective of ethnic, religious and political affiliations.

Let me state categorically that while insecurity remains a major challenge to Nigeria’s development, the Fulani’s herdsmen menace is a major test of President Buhari’s ability to redeem our Nation from the shackles of Corruption and illegality. The time is now ripe for Mr. President to show Nigerians how selfless he can be in serving the Nigerian populace. As a matter of fact, the President needs to decisively address the Fulani herdsmen, just as he addressed Nnamdi Kano and his pro-biafra agitators. This is capable of reducing the tension already generated by the actions of the herdsmen, reassure investors of an enabling environment and put a final stop to the brewing cold war between the Northern and Southern parts of the Nation.

Having said that, I like to remind Mr. President that Nigeria has been suffering ethno-religious division and this is obvious even to the blinds. It is expected therefore, that President Buhari puts systems and structures in place to bring the divided North and South together. The best way he can do this is to take advantage of the Fulani herdsmen menace, by punishing perpetrators of the ungodly attacks and addressing his ancestral kinsmen that Nigeria is one indivisible country, hence he shall not tolerate the killing of innocent Nigerians by some disgruntled elements irrespective of where they emanated from. Until these little things are done, Mr. President will be seen as a leader who is working for the division of the Nation instead of its integration. “A stitch in time, saves nine”.

Paul E. Michael,
A Criminologist and Civil Activist,
Writes from Benin City, Edo State.

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