How can we live peaceably together as a people by continuously telling ourselves lies? It has now become our lifestyle toalways rationalise obvious aberrations and for how long can we afford as apeople to continue like that?
It is mind-boggling and at worse embarrassing the increasing sophistication and clinical coordination of the group of mindless attackers we still call Fulani herdsmen that have meted chained terror to our people in different parts of the country. To think that what is happening in the north central and now virtually every other parts of the country as a mere conflict for grazing rights would only amount to naivety at best. It is without doubt an evil wind that is blowing no section of the country any good.
The question is: why is it that these so called “Fulani herdsmen” always take our security operatives unawares? They always finish their dastardly acts before arrival of counter-terrorism security forces.
Haba! And instead of sitting together to marshal out a coordinated approach to address this challenge, managers of our security apparatuses give us the impression that some of them may be privy to these conspiracies.
How do you explain the recent incident in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue state, where Fulani herdsmen, backed by mercenary fighters invaded several communities killing more than 500natives?
Surprisingly, since the revelation that what we have been calling our cattle rearers was actually mercenaries well-trained in the act of causing mayhem, the government has not instituted any serious mechanism to unravel the identity of these contract fighters.
Who are these mercenaries- are they Nigerians or foreigners? Where do they come from and who contracts them to go kill and destroy in different parts of the country? Who arms them and how come they freely move around with ease with their sophisticated machine guns without being intercepted?
Where is our intelligence community- the SSS and NIA and even the Police CID unit?
We may need to ask: Is there anything in this Fulani herdsmen misdemeanuor that other non-Fulani Nigerians do not know?
Curiously, the federal government has been nonchalant towards devising appropriate and workable strategies to end these incessant deadly clashes in various parts of the country.
As canvassed by an analyst, “All in all, the murderous invasion of communities by herdsmen, like it happened in Agatu and parts of Enugu and Ebonyi states, is mainly a security issue. Those in charge of security in areas where these things happen should be held to account for the lapses.
The Nigerian government must be alive to its primary responsibility of protecting the citizens”.
Several suggestions have been made for the banning of the current conflict-prone system of moving animals from place to place in search of food and water, and its replacement with the establishment of ranches.
It would be recalled that President Buhari told a delegation from theCentre for Humanitarian Dialogue in January that “a plan to map out grazing areas would soon be presented to the Nigerian Governors Forum as a temporary solution, until cattle owners are persuaded to adopt other means of rearing their cattle.”
Senator Shehu Sani in his “Road map to putting an end to Fulani herdsmen violence in Nigeria,” had suggested the need to immediately set up seven grazing reserves in Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kaduna and Sokoto states .
There is no doubt that the current pastoral system urgently needs changingif Nigeria is to overcome the frequent clashes between herdsmen and indigenous populations, which have laid waste to many communities.
As suggested, the grazing reserves should be jointly managed by theFederal Ministry of Agriculture, National Livestock Association, universities of agriculture and the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.
Above all Senator Sani’s suggestions, my attention was attracted to what he described as the need to document, register and issue identification cards to herdsmen. He suggested the federal government, through federal and state ministries of agriculture and the Cattle Breeders Association, should embark on this on a national level as this will stem the activities of violent criminals who masquerade as herdsmen to unleash violence against innocent and vulnerable communities.
This is what the government would not want to hear but it’s the absolutetruth: violent criminals and terrorists -on -the -run are masquerading as herdsmen to unleash mayhem on innocent and vulnerable communities.
Now we have a president who himself is a cattle breeder and reportedly theLife Patron of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, the pan-Fulani herders’ union. He should rise above all prejudice and discountenance the hitherto government’s nonchalance in this evolving national securitychallenge address these incessant bloody clashes involving Fulani herdsmen and indigenous communities across the country? President Buhari is the best -suited person to address this issue. We are watching!