On Monday June 25 2018, Nigerians for the umpteenth time woke up to behold another grisly sight of Fulani Herdsmen massacre in Plateau State. The killer Herdsmen reports revealed had attacked about eleven villages in Barkin Ladi LGA Sunday night killing over hundred, injuring many, while many others were declared missing after the attack. In their usual dare devil manner the marauding Herdsmen unleashed violence and death on men, women, children and the aged. They killed every living thing on their path and burnt non living things like houses to complete their satanic mission of making the villages desolate.
This latest bloody massacre has once again brought to the fore the reality of the killing field that the middle belt region of Nigeria has become in recent time under President Mohammadu Buhari. But, When the president campaigned prior to 2015 election one of the key challenges he pledged to tackle was insecurity. The president’s believed sincerity of purpose with regard to fighting this scourge no doubt played a role in bringing about his victory in that poll. Three years after this promise majority of Nigerian citizens today would quickly tell you the government has performed below average here. A glaring indicator of this failure no doubt is Middle Belt region where under his watch over five thousand are estimated to have been killed by Fulani Herdsmen.
There is hardly any week that passed in the past three years that there was no reported attacks in this region especially in Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and kogi States.
Unfortunately, the same Federal Government which made this vow and which is saddled with the primary constitutional duty securing life and property seems to be looking the other way as defenceless and helpless citizens are butchered everyday. More than anything else, its failure to arrest and prosecute those unleashing this mayhem succinctly captures this posturing on this terrorism.
Meanwhile, this same government which has seemingly turned blind eye to fulani Herdsmen atrocities, has shockiny been quick to see and act when beleaguered communities and peoples try to help themselves against these killers. Many Nigerians have alleged that the recent sentencing to death of five men in Adamawa State is a good example this governments seeming impartiality on this matter. How fair and justifiable is it that Herdsmen who have killed thousands can’t be arrested and prosecuted for their many atrocities whereas their victims who sought to defend themselves are clamped down on ,arrested, prosecuted and jailed or sentenced to death?
This, obviously is a glaring unacceptable double standard and open invitation to anarchy. We are compelled to say that this seeming double standard has made some prominent citizens to allege that security agencies connive with, and shield these killers. Retired Lt Gen Theophilous Danjuma recently joined the growing list of Nigerians who have accused government of shielding the fulani Herdsmen in their killing spree. Although, the security forces denied this allegation there is nothing on ground to suggest they are really serious about bringing masterminds of these killings to book. What makes this nonchalance even more confounding is the fact that like in the last killing Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, whose members are alleged to be involved in the bloodletting have come out openly to speak in manner that should make those concerned to raise eye brow but sadly nothing of such has happened.
Clearly, the Plateau massacre has become one too many. And as things stand one should not be branded an alarmist if it is said the people of the middle belt and indeed, other Nigerians of good conscience are being driven to the edge by these senseless killings. Naturally, being on edge is a position no sane person would find himself or herself and opt to fold hands. For most people it would be preferable to die standing than to die sitting. A cursory glance at history would reveal that most conflicts that have gutted societies and countries often were ignited when people were pushed to the wall. Once they are in such desperate situation and realize that those oppressing them have no monopoly of violence they usually fought back. What follows is anarchy, breakdown of law and order and eventually war.
We have had to warn in the past against this and here we are again reiterating our earlier position that the killings going on all over the country by herdsmen is an open invitation to anarchy.
President Buhari and his APC government should summon the needed courage to tackle this dangerous situation before it spirals out of control. A word they say is enough for the wise!