President Muhammadu Buhari recently claimed that herdsmen causing mayhem and committing terror acts all over the country are foreigners, specifically Libyans and not Nigerians.
I completely disagree with this narrative from no less a figure as our Commander in Chief and Father of the entire nation.
His comments amount to pure propaganda and image laundering for his kinsmen. This is nothing but tribalism .
And tribalism is a very perverse form of corruption, in fact, the infrastructure on which corruption thrives. This negates his government /party's vow to defeat corruption.
Unfortunately, this propaganda has now become a refrain/chorus sang by several powerful individuals and government agencies for example the Inspector General of Police, Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister of state for Agriculture, Senator Abdullah Adamu and several others.
The reasons why this dangerous refrain is false and insulting to the intelligence of Nigerians are many and I will mention a few of them
1. Nigerian Fulani herdsmen are now ranked as the 4th(fourth) worst terrorist organization globally by the global terrorism index after BOKO HARAM, ISIL and El Shabaab in terms of mass murder they commit.
2. While it is true that very few herdsmen arrested recently claimed they were foreigners, it is an undisputed fact that the Fulanis or Fulfubes (20 millions in population) spread across 20 countries in West Africa and 2 in North Africa (Sudan and Egypt) and they are bound by the same culture, religion and language. They move freely across the West African boundaries and they regard themselves as kiths and kins. It is therefore
artificial to claim those who commit terror attacks are only foreigners when they view themselves as a brotherhood and family.
3. Victims from the communities where the terror acts have been committed attest to the fact that they are the same Fulani herdsmen who have been ravaging and destroying their farms. E.g Agatu, Kaduna, Nimbo, Edo and Delta.
4. The massive act of terrorism is often preceded by a long running battle for months or years with the local community and wanton destruction of their farms.
5. The Fulani herdsmen have often collaborated with border communities at conflict with one another and used as mercenaries by one community against their feuding neighbor with the agreement that they (Fulani herdsmen) can then occupy the defeated or sacked community as their grazing reserves. This happened in a community in Odukpani, Cross River state.
6. Few days to the massive terror attacks, the Fulani herdsmen disappear from the host communities and never returned which showed pre knowledge and fear of reprisals attack by host communities if they return after the terror acts.
7. President Buhari's government surreptitiously smuggled 954 million naira into the 2016 budget for grazing reserves when there are still controversies raging on the grazing reserves. The Senate has publicly denied the grazing reserve bill and the House of Representative is yet to complete debates on the grazing bill.
8. Several Fulani herdsmen groups have publicly admitted that they retaliated or committed reprisals attacks because their cattle were rustled or their kinsmen killed or attacked by the host communities.
9. Mr President's first security assignment as President in addition to fighting BOKO HARAM was a determined putsch against cattle rustlers while turning a blind eye to the atrocities of his kinsmen until recent upsurge in their terror attacks and unprecedented public outcry.
10. The peak/upsurge in the Fulani herdsmen terror attacks coincides with President Buhari's Presidency. Is it possible that they felt emboldened that a sympathetic kinsman is now at the helm of affairs and now they can do and undo? Is it also possible that the real owners of the cattle which are powerful individuals/Nigerian elites are arming these herdsmen knowing that President Buhari is a life patron of Miyeti Allah cattle breeders association (MACBAN)?
These and many other questions are begging for honest and unbiased answers from all concerned.
If care is not taken, I sincerely pray and hope that this conflict will not snowball into an implosion and a much bigger conflict. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
7 THINGS PMB MUST DO NOW
I have been warned that I will be labeled an ‘enemy’ for addressing the issue of herdsmen killing innocent villagers but I love my country more than I fear blackmailers. In my humble opinion, wisdom, tact, and common sense dictate that President Muhammadu Buhari do the following:
1. Address the nation directly on TV and radio.
2. Commiserate with affected communities deliver a message of peace and hope.
Promise the rapid delivery of compensation and restitution to the survivors, the wounded, and the families of those who have lost loved ones and livelihoods.
3. Go on BBC and other relevant radio services that Fulanis have a tendency to listen to. Speak to them in their own language, and in no uncertain terms state that this nonsense must come to an end quickly.
4. Set up and empower a Rapid Task Force with a view to stopping future violence and preventing a national conflict that might be much more difficult to contain.
5. Personally visit the affected communities to see things for yourself.
6. Meet with the leadership of Myetti Allah, the umbrella association of Fulani cattle herders, and explain in vivid detail what the consequences of future conflicts could be.
7. As a start, all herdsmen must be disarmed immediately, otherwise we are only postponing the evil day.
Mr President, you owe it to Nigerians, to the many Fulani herdsmen of no determinate nationality who rampage and roam Nigeria, and to future generations, to be seen at this time to be on top of the unfortunate situation; to the plight of affected communities in word and deed; and to the security implications of these most barbaric and medieval acts.
Read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/opinion/herdsmen-killings-time-to-act/138783.html#OWcR8UqBUBtpjpUh.99