There are so many things wrong with this country. And I am not saying something new. Ours is a country where anything goes. It is a country where impunity still reigns. It is a country where human life has no value. It is a country where our leaders are never bothered by the plight of the common man. When we, and I am talking about the common man trying to eke out a living, experience black, do our ‘big men’ experience the same? Does it bother them? Do they really care? When we do not have fuel to power our vehicles and even our generators, do our big men also face similar situations, of course not? Need I say that ours is a country that does not reward excellence. A society that takes the death of its citizens in its stride as if it is a normal, day-to-day occurrence. (Come to think of it, is it not so?)
On Monday, Nigerians woke up to another tragic occurrence, this time in Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani local government area, Enugu, South East Nigeria. Some people believed to be Fulani herdsmen invaded the community and unleashed terror. Houses were set ablaze, churches were not spared while many members of the community were also killed. According to the report, the community and government officials got an inkling that the attack was about to take place. No action was taken to forestall the attack. Several days after the incident, what we heard is the usual platitudes from the government, ‘we will go after the killer herdsmen’, ‘the perpetrators shall be brought to books’.
This was even days after the incident when the call was so strident among the populace that government’s silence on the matter is deafening. I recall hearing the same platitudes during the Agatu killings in Benue state, that the government would go after the killer herdsmen, till date, I can’t recall anybody being arrested. The deaths are meaningless to our leaders as long as it does not touch any member of their family. We, the citizens, are mere statistics to them. For how long shall this continue?
Will our people continue to take this bashing without a whimper, of course that’s not possible. One day, there would be a reckoning, when people will say, enough is enough. And that day is coming, one only needs to follow the social media to see the anger. Nobody is spared, a photograph of the Enugu state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on a visit to the President has raised the ire of the people. In the picture, he was obsequious to the president, smiling broadly as if nothing was wrong, this was a governor who had wept openly when he visited the community and saw the havoc wrecked by the attackers. One can go on and on about the ills in our society.
That brings to mind the travails of former Head of Service of the Federation (HoS), Steve Oronsaye. From the information one got concerning Oronsaye, he had given his all in the service of his fatherland. On assuming duty as HoS, one of tasks he embarked upon was to sanitize the pension scheme which was fraught with fraud. Before then, we have always heard harrowing stories of pensioners waiting endlessly to collect their paltry pension. Some of them collapsed and even died while queuing for the money which rightfully belonged to them.
All these were tackled by Orosanye who embarked on a biometric capture of the pensioners. In the process of doing this, mind-boggling frauds were uncovered. Duplication of names, some officials also cloned pensioners’ file and were collecting monies meant for these set of people who had given their all to their fatherland. Efforts of Orosanye saved the government a lot of money while a few government officials became guests of the law enforcement agencies.
Today, Orosanye is himself facing trial, accused of fraud. Information out there is that Orosanye had stepped on some powerful toes in the course of his stewardship and this has led to his current situation. If that is the case, then, men of good conscience should rise up in his defense. This is the kind of case the president should look into and ensure that an innocent man is not punished because some people didn’t like the way he conducted himself.
Back to the herdsmen’ invasion of communities, it is obvious that if nothing is done and done fast, we would have a major crisis at hand. Most of the communities would start arming themselves in a bid to defend their territories and when that happens, we will have a major conflagration on our hand. Apart from that, it is imperative for government to tackle the problem at its root. Where are the herdsmen getting the sophisticated weapons they move around with? Does it mean they had a foreknowledge of what they were going to do with the weapons? That they would meet resistance in the communities their cattle spillage and would have to settle it by fighting the communities with their weapons. In an earlier piece on this same subject, I had raised the same concern; where do they get their weapons? And my conclusion then which I still hold on to is that some of these weapons must have been procured by the elite cattle owners and given to the herdsmen.
The other scenario is whether these herdsmen are not even members of the dreaded Boko haram moving around under the guise of cattle rearing. Because herdsmen are nomadic, it would be a perfect cover for Boko haram elements to move about and wreck havoc in different communities. Government must look into this, this should not again turn out to be something the country has to battle with. We can’t be moving from one crisis to the other. What Nigerians want now is a country devoid of crisis, with a clearly defined path of development and better life for all.