Armed herdsman

Plateau, Taraba, Benue: Who Will Stop The Killings, As Power Is Placed Above Truth?

Mass burials in Benue state

(Asks Iheanyi Ezinwo)-The killings in Plateau, Benue and Taraba have beaten the imagination of well meaning Nigerians because of new cases that are reported before the dust of a previous one settles.
From Plateau to Benue and Taraba states, the killer herdsmen have been having a field’s day, especially with the open support of some federal government officials who are blaming the famers/ herdsmen conflicts on the Anti-grazing law which was signed by Governor Samuel Orthom of Benue state.
Come to think of it, the killings in Benue state predated the Anti-grazing law. Unbelievably and in utter contempt and disregard for the feelings and aspirations of Benue people, a prominent official of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government called for its abrogation because, in his opinion, the law is against the interest of Fulani herdsmen who live and do business in that state.
The Buhari administration has pushed the case of the herdsmen to the point that federating states of Nigeria are being made to provide land for the herdsmen to use for their private business, and as expected in a country with diverse tribal and religious interests, Nasarawa, Kaduna and a few other states have obliged to provide large expanse of land for that purpose. Well, Rivers, Benue, Ekiti and other states appear not to be on the same page with the federal government on what they consider an irregular demand, especially against the background that elected leaders had pledge not to subordinate public interest to narrow interests. Now that the President Buhari administration is advancing the cause of the Fulani herdsmen, the question that remains to be answered is: who will come to the aid of the helpless communities, that are slaughtered on a regular basis by angels of death who are not(?) visible to security operatives?
On Saturday (23/6/2018) night, according to reports, heavily armed herdsmen invaded villages in Barkin Ladi, Riyom and another local government area in Plateau state for over five hours, slaughtering scores of people and destroying properties. They concluded their assignments and left, and as usual not even one of them was arrested. It was after the deed has been done that security operatives besieged the area: The question then is: Whose interest are the reactive security operatives serving? Are they taking over the place to check reprisal attack from the natives, who are being threatened with extinction or doing so to stop further attacks from the killer herdsmen?
Why will the security operatives always wake up to their responsibilities only after the herdsmen have satisfied their thirst for blood and gone away? Can these Nigerians, whose lives no longer mean anything to sworn enemies, who have a hidden agenda to wipe them out, continue to depend on outsiders with doubtful intentions, to protect them?
If the assertion of the Nigerian Consumer Protection Council that, whilst it is their duty to protect the consumers, that every consumer owes himself a duty to protect himself, is anything to go by, it will not be out of place for the endangered peoples of Plateau, Taraba and Benue states to explore possible ways and means of protecting themselves against enemies who are determined to wipe them out, and may be take over their lands.
If there is an ethnic cleansing agenda as recently alleged by Lieutenant General Theophilus Danjuma, retired, Nigeria’s former Chief of Army Staff, then the targeted sections of the country will be folding their hands and doing nothing at their own peril, as the invaders appear to be determined to systematically wipe them out of their ancestral lands.
It has been argued and we agree that there had been killings in certain sections of this country even in previous administrations but the frequency and magnitude of killings, impunity of the herdsmen, and the public rationalization of the bloodletting by top officials of President Muhammadu Buhari administration is not only outrageous but can push this country into uncontrollable crises at some point, if the observed double standards continue.
It is unfortunate that Nigerians are now accepting the unlawful killings of farmers and other citizens in their homes and farms by herdsmen as a normal experience (to be accepted?) and part of our culture in Nigeria: what a barbaric culture? Regrettably, the same security operatives have been seen often to wake up to their responsibilities only when some of the intimidated people chose to fight back, like the case of some young men who were sentenced to death recently in Taraba state for killing a herdsman. Shamefully, the same people cannot tell is how many of the rampaging herdsmen have been arrested, tried and sentenced for the killings that have claimed thousands of lives and billions of Naira worth of properties in Plateau, Benue and Taraba and other locations in Nigeria.
Who will save the endangered peoples of Plateau, Benue and Taraba states, in the face of determined attempts to intimidate and enslave them, and also take over their lands. It is amazing that the world is watching as truth is being violated in Central States of Nigeria in the 21 st century! One cannot but agree with Ralph Waldo Emewrson that, ”Every violation of truth is a stab at the health of human society”.
In our opinion, the salvation of the beaten and battered communities will not come from outside but from within them. They are wearing the shoes and know the pains of losing loved ones in unprovoked attacks that are pregnant with a hidden agenda.
The antecedents of Nigerian security agents on this matter do not give right thinking citizens any reason to believe that they are doing their jobs professionally. As disturbed Nigerians long for the time when the masterminds of the heartless killings will be unmasked because of the cacophony of voices, some of which are laughable, we have to be consoled by the assertion of Martin Luther King Jnr. that: “Truth suppressed to the earth will rise again; no lie can live forever because the arm of the moral universe is long and bends towards justice”.

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