|Victims of Plateau massacre protesting in the state|
North-Central Nigeria is now the hotbed of mass murders by hotheaded killers. Its killing fields are flowing with the blood of innocent Nigerians crying in anguish and pain. In the region, vampires of terror continue to thirst for more blood, even as more men, women and children are felled by the butchers’ swords. Sadly, the Federal Government’s primary duty to ensure the security of lives and properties of the people has been flushed down the lavatory. These are signs of the times in that part of the country.
If you brand General Theophilus Danjuma (retd.) a prophet, you are spot on. In March, the former Minister of Defence foresaw a wave of ethnic cleansing hit Christians in northern Nigeria. He charged his people to defend themselves from the marauding Fulani militia, who are sometimes disguised in army uniforms.
Danjuma was shouted down and called ugly names by friends of the Muhammadu Buhari administration for telling the truth as he saw it. But his words are gradually coming to pass. Miscreants armed with sophisticated weapons are daily matching with ease into remote villages in Christian Plateau State, killing and maiming and burning farmlands and houses. Who are these people for God’s sake? Where are they coming from?
They are Fulani herdsmen. Anywhere the soles of their shoeless feet touch, hell breaks loose. Everywhere in Nigeria is their domain and kingdom. They unleash terror and horror at will. They have dethroned kings they did not crown. They have exiled queens they did not betroth. They burn down palaces they did not build. Children have been orphaned and wives widowed by the edges of their swords. They are untouchable and uncontrollable. In fact, not a single government official is prepared to publicly reprimand them.
These herdsmen will kill 100 human beings for a cup of fresh cow milk. They are arrogant elements who believe that wherever they go other people must genuflect to them. The murderous and rampaging militia men launch out with dangerous weapons and mow down innocent Nigerians unhindered.
One of their chieftains has reportedly boasted that they will kill again whenever their cows are stolen or slaughtered by unknown persons. Thus, for one missing cow, the obituary of one resident of a community, at least, must be announced. We NOW have a country where people eternally fear for their lives, while their killers freely strut around in search of more victims.
Danladi Ciroma, who is head of the herders’ umbrella group, Miyett ALLAH, has denied linking the killings in Plateau State to reprisal attacks. He reportedly said, “I am a peace-loving person. In Fan district, over 300 cattle have been rustled. It has become a no-go area and security agencies know about it. Among the Fulani and the Birom youths, there are enemies of peace. Our concern is peace.”
My point is this: If members of the Miyetti Allah are denying involvement in these killings, then who are the faceless and shameless people behind the cowardly attacks on peace-loving law-abiding Nigerians?
Supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari believe that this is an orchestrated handiwork of aggrieved thieves in the last administration, who at one time went on a looting spree and almost emptied the nation’s treasury of its contents, and are resisting requests to give account of their corrupt stewardship. These elements are very rich and powerful, pro-Buhari elements claim, and they are determined to derail the President’s good works and upstage him in forthcoming general elections and then return to power to steal again. This is what Buharists believe.
However, we cannot put anything past Nigerian politicians. They will and can turn anywhere upside down and inside out to grab power. Many are ambassadors of the devil. Like their master, they have come to steal, kill and destroy. It is not impossible that the powerful and evil forces behind the Boko-Haram insurgency may have successfully moved their investments to Benue and Plateau States.
What we have in our hands may truly be a mix of sponsored politics of destabilisation and destruction and a well-orchestrated plan by the sponsors of the rampaging Fulani herdsmen to conquer new territories. But Buhari’s befuddling silence on the murderous activities of the herdsmen is the reason why many Nigerians are angry. It is the reason why this writer is concerned.
The President’s silence suggests that he might be mollycoddling the Fulani herders. Even if he is not complicit in the killings, there must be evidence that the military and paramilitary are working to stave off the ongoing pogrom and bring the marauding killers to justice.
Buhari presides over a military that is approximately 200,000 troops strong, as well as an estimated 300,000 paramilitary personnel. Yet, our security apparatus has quickly lost its grits to invading and evasive killers. With a retired Army general as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, no inch of the Nigerian territory should be surrendered to these thugs. The whopping sums of money allocated for security each year now seems a waste. In 2016, N1.063tn was spent on security. The following year, it was N1.142tn. In 2018 security is expected to gulp N1.32tn. But where are the results? This is why Nigerians are not only angry, but also aggrieved. Unfortunately, Buhari, who once chased terrorists out of northern Nigerian and all the way to neighbouring Chad, has failed to stand firm against home-grown vampires this time around.
The annoying part of this nauseating story of the Fulani foofaraw is that not one of the murderers has been prosecuted. Their renewed audacity to kill has been bolstered by the absence of comeuppances. Whether it’s the Fulani herders or some depraved and corrupt pigs who want back power behind these killings, they should be rounded up with the available resources. Until the murderous killers are brought to justice, Mr. President’s expressions of condolences to the loved ones of the murdered are nothing but monumental insults on both the living and the dead.
As we get closer to the 2019 general elections, Buhari will have to do more to convince the electorate to vote him for a second term in office. If he cannot keep us safe, why then must his seat be safe for another term? If he cannot bring this scourge and mayhem under control, what moral ground does he stand on seeking another term as President? Without any apologies, I voted Buhari in 2015; now I appeal to fellow Nigerians to leave partisanship or love for politicians out of this discourse and let us together confront the truth for once. If this scourge persists, we will all wake up one day and there may be no NIGERIA. GOD forbid that!
- Written by Fola Ojo
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