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For one Nigeria, let herdsmen kill others

In 2016, it happened in Ukpabi Nimbo, Uzo Uwani LGA of Enugu State where the Fulani herdsmen with hired killers from Nasarawa State descended on the community and killed 40 overnight.

They said their reason is because some of their cattle got missing. Meanwhile, the grouse is that the community insisted their crops and farms should not be grazing land for the Fulani cattle.

The government of Nigeria kept quiet about it because the killers belong to the ethnic group in power, of course President Muhammadu Buhari is Fulani and more so, a cattle owner and according to allegations, a patron of the body of cattle rearers of the north of Nigeria. 

But in year 2000, a team of Fulani leaders led by Gen. Buhari had visited Governor Lam Adesina of Oyo State in Ibadan to threaten war over clash of cattlemen and Oke Ogun farmers in the state. Today, all those have changed because of who is in power and who does the killing.

Human rights bodies released a report in 2017 that while Boko Haram kills an average of 2500 a year, Fulani herdsmen kill average of 2000 per year. But recently, the federal government liaised with the state governors and approved for themselves $1b to fight Boko Haram insurgency. What resources have been invested in fighting another killer terror group – the herdsmen? Nothing.

Sometime last year after the FG rolled out tanks to crush innocent Igbo in the South East over IPOB that killed nobody, spokesman of the president, Garba Shehu proudly announced that Fulani herdsmen are not terrorists but just criminals. Then are criminals licensed by the law, reason they are not arrested or prosecuted? He hasn’t answered the question.

Everywhere, we see herdsmen moving about with sophisticated guns slung over their shoulders to buy them impunity to stop you challenging them when they bring the cattle to graze on the farmland and crops.

Apart from other killings in Edo, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Ebonyi, Anambra states, the major killing fields are in Benue, Kogi, Taraba, Nassarawa, Plateau, Kaduna states.

“The Global Terrorism Index of 2015 noted that over 90 per cent of the attacks carried out by the group are on private citizens, accounting for 81 per cent of deaths in the area. And these attacks have mainly been through armed assaults, killing an average of 11 people per attack.” In fact, the Fulani herdsmen are rated among terrorist groups by the same body just like Boko Haram. However, such rating doesn’t mean anything to the government of Nigeria that sees no error in the widespread killings that these days happen every other day. And the best and sternest action we ever took from the government side is sending some policemen after the last killing of last week in Benue that took tens of lives. The police were sent to make peace. That’s all there is to it. This is the same country the FG has been at least action sending troops to crush, kill and maim people. Already, we have heard reports that the herdsmen have killed two mobile policemen to spice up their domination.

The uncontrolled massacre of Nigerians by herdsmen under this regime has become so bad and callous and common that human rights lawyer, Femi Falana once filed claims of genocide and ethnic cleansing against them at the International Human Rights Commission of the ICJ and the ECOWAS Court.

These people have become so powerful that they once invaded a Zamfara community and killed 200 people overnight and walked away free to the bitter reality that none of the killers was ever arrested.

Then ask yourself, since the killings have been announced, have you heard anyone was arrested, prosecuted or punished for the offence? That’s not in our records yet. That impunity to kill and go scot free is where their power derives from.

These days, there is no lame excuse we haven’t heard from this shameless government including the one that the Fulani herdsmen that kill Nigerians are foreigners that migrate into Nigeria. That’s a good reason and excuse that they find their way into Nigeria from the Jibiya borders, those of Ilelah, Lake Chad and migrate down to the south of Nigeria and kill and walk back through the checkpoints of those that know they are killer foreigners and nobody arrests them even when those of us uninformed Nigerians mistake them for the Fula of Nigeria.

They are empowered and emboldened to do worse everyday and that they do and get away bragging of what next to do.

Any government like the one in Nigeria now that watches the carnage on humanity without taking any action has a date in hellfire and should be ashamed. It is shameful that the government possibly had been waiting for the herdsmen to kill as many as they did the last time before they send in the police to make peace, not to stop the killing, mark you.

Benue State Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama was bold to announce that their task is not to arrest or punish the killers but making sure peace returns. This is a statement Benue State leaders called a tactical way the FG encourages the killers by making sure they escape justice. After the April 2016 killings in Nimbo, we saw those the police said were suspects in the mass murder. But after you sighted them paraded on TV, have you heard anything about their prosecution?

All these seem to lay credence to the claim of some that the cattle rearers act with the support of their kinsmen in power and in the security system.

If the government does not see anything wrong worth punishing in the killings, how would you expect any government official from Abuja to visit the affected communities and see what damage was done. I swear that this government has the blood of innocent Nigerians killed by herdsmen and never avenged on its hands. There is no escaping it at all. We have lost count of the casualty index or the number of attacks and the government doesn’t care, rather their booth lickers see someone like Governor Ortom as enemy for standing with his people and saying a loud no to their continued slaughter in ethnic cleansing manner.

It is good the whole world is watching the government court internal war and worse genocide through its complicit silence about these killings. We wish it doesn’t degenerate to a worse state because war has no friends even when fools that start it imagine themselves super humans that won’t be victims.

So, for now, live content with the reality that in order to have one Nigeria, some outlaws must get the backing to kill others when they want and nothing is ever done to them.

That is actually what one Nigeria means and if you dare say the project is not workable, you become enemies of those that sponsor and benefit from the carnage.

Uche Atuma :

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