When Abubakar Malami, who serves as Nigeria’s attorney-general and minister of justice, raised objections about the ban on open grazing by southern governors, he was not, in all honesty, interested in the legality or constitutionality of the matter. His oblique reference to it was done for reasons of convenience. He wanted to give his objection a veneer of legitimacy and acceptability. The fact of the matter is that he was driven by a mindset that borders on elite conspiracy. Every other vibe or vibration was a mere cover-up, an attempt to divert attention from his real intentions.
Those in the legal profession (and Malami is one of them) tell us that he who must go to equity must do so with clean hands. Regrettably, we cannot say that of Malami in this circumstance. He made an illicit jump into the realm of legality while ignoring the fact that his take-off point was strewn with illegality. If the attorney-general was interested in the merit of the issue under consideration, he would have established a proper premise as the basis for his objection. Rather, he conveniently ignored the real issue at stake. That was why he arrived at a conclusion that had no bearing.
Malami may wish to know now, since he is pretending not to know already, that armed marauders posing as herdsmen have been terrorizing parts of the country, particularly the South. They have killed tens of thousands, kidnapped hundreds for ransom, raped women and young girls, converted people’s farms to grazing fields, destroyed hundreds of houses and displaced communities that played host to them, among other criminal acts. There is no southern state that has not been subjected to this wanton destruction of life and property by the armed herder.
Governors of the affected states have been reaching out to the President and security agencies to arrest the slide, but no help has come. The governors have since discovered to their utter disappointment that, as chief security officers of their states, they have no control over the security agencies that are constitutionally empowered to protect life and property. The situation is compounded by the fact that federal agencies, which have the responsibility to provide security, have failed abysmally in this regard. If anything, they seem to be providing cover and assistance to the blood suckers masquerading as herders. This has been the unenviable lot of the governors and the people that elected them.
Can Malami, in good conscience, pretend not to be aware of this anomalous situation? If he is (and we know that that he knows), what has been his position on the matter? Did we ever hear him talk about law and order? Did he talk about constitutionality? Was he scandalized by the excesses and effrontery of the armed herder? Did he feel for the southern communities whose rights are being trampled upon? As the chief law officer of the country, did he at any point see anything unlawful or unconstitutional in the activities of the armed herder? The Malami questions are long and cannot be exhausted within the confines of this space. But having failed to interject or intervene as these issues brewed, it is curious that Malami is too quick to raise objections to the step the governors have decided to take to protect life and property in their domains with the ultimate aim of enthroning peace and progress in the country.
To betray prejudice and a dubious mindset, Malami chose to compare the incomparable. How does dealing in spare parts (of what by the way?) compare with the harvest of deaths that is being visited on the country in the name of cattle rearing? If the southerner who does legitimate business in the North had been subjecting his host community to death and pillaging, would he have been allowed to continue to operate in the North? In fact, his reference to southern spare parts dealers in the North is an act of incitement. His message to the northern governors is that they should evict southerners doing legitimate business in the North.
Ordinarily, it is vexatious that the Malamis of northern Nigeria do not see anything wrong with the dance of death that the armed herder is engaged in in the South. But discerning minds will not allow that deliberate oversight on the part of Malami and his cohorts to divert their attention from the real mission of these conspirators. They have a grand design that is anchored on conspiracy. The conspirators are taking a sardonic interest in the push and shove of the conquistador who, obviously, is on a mission of conquest. He wants to cow indigenous communities and take possession of their land through force of arms. The conquistador wants to enthrone a reign of terror that will make him the most dreaded creature on the Nigerian landscape. In other words, he wants to foist Fulani dominance on the rest of Nigeria by whatever means possible. But his most potent tool is brute force.
Some Fulani elite like Malami and Bala Mohammed (governor of Bauchi State) are taking scornful delight in the brutal drive of the armed herder. They are watching with voyeuristic pleasure as the Fulani, represented by the armed herder, strives to cow and overrun the South and enthrone his reign and rule over their territory. That is why they will not bat an eyelid when the armed herder kills the indigenous southerner and destroys his property. Such an act is just the sauce for the meal. It is the road to the Damascus that the armed herder has envisioned for his kith and kin in Nigeria. But the same Fulani elite will be quick to step out in defence of the same murderer whose criminality he turned a blind eye to whenever those at the receiving end try to checkmate the criminal. This is the dubious intent that drives Malami and his ilk.
By his disposition, Malami has demonstrated that he is not a patriotic Nigerian. A patriot, in every circumstance, is one who loves his country. He takes actions that will promote the good of his country. Malami and other pretenders like him do not meet this noble requirement. Rather, they promote division and divisiveness. They are agents and apostles of hate. They promote bad blood among the constituent units, yet they claim to love their country. The action of the armed herder, which Malami as well as some other elite Fulani are promoting is a recipe for disaster. It is an ill wind that will not blow the country any good. We will not force Malami and others like him to love Nigeria. But they should stop pretending. They should stop posing as patriots when indeed they are nation-wreckers. Those who want Nigeria to survive will not promote the criminality, which the armed herder has unleashed on the country. If the conspirators can see beyond their nose, they will see the futility of their action. If they are discerning enough, they will see that they are pursuing a dead end. I pity these people who think that they can take the rest of us for a ride. Their action amounts to self-deceit in a grandiose style.