Spate of Fulani Herdsmen Killings: Buhari, Miyetti Allah and the rest of us

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By Ifeanyi Izeze

Did President Mohammadu Buhari actually say in Jos during his visit that it was unfair for people to accuse him of not doing enough to check the marauding killer herdsmen because he looks like them (Fulani herdsmen)?  If he did, then it is very unfortunate that this country has entered “one chance” bus.

 Hear our president as reported: “But the present herders, I am told, carries AK47 and people are even blaming me for not talking to them because maybe (they say) I look like one of them. There is some injustice in these aspersions.”

If Buhari could be concerned enough to leave Daura, Katsina state to Oyo state in 2001 to enquire why his people were being killed, shouldn’t the Plateau, Benue, Taraba and other Nigerians from other parts of the country also be concerned enough now to ask our president, “why are your people killing our people?”

Was it not the height of insensitivity for the president to blame the continued attacks and killings of innocent Nigerians on desperate politicians whom he says were taking advantage of the situation ahead of the 2019 elections? Haba, ranka de de!

Serially, our president has said different things at different times on the spate of senseless massacres across the country particularly in the Middle Belt. First, it was a connotation of “farmers and herdsmen clashes” then he shifted the blame to Gadaffi’s trained killers coming from Libya; and now in total denial blaming the killings on politicians taking advantage to make gains for the 2019 election. What else do Nigerians need as evidence that their President is completely taking sides with those who kill them?

Interestingly, the President supposedly went to commiserate with the bereaved people of Plateau only to go and defend their Fulani killer herdsmen as if the people don’t know who their attackers/killers are. Even with the confessions of the Myetti Allah in Plateau state, Buhari is still strongly defending the Fulani killer herdsmen. What else do Nigerians need as evidence that their President is completely taking sides with those who kill them?

Is the president not aware of the live television statement by Mallam Danladi Ciroma the chairman (North Central) of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) claiming the killings were retaliatory for their lost cows? After the latest Plateau massacre, the Miyetti Allah outrightly took responsibility for the killing of over 300 people even with further threats that no one should expect peace in the entire area because they (the Fulanis) lost 300 cows.

Danladi Ciroma up till now has not been arrested by either the Police or the DSS that hurls people away at night for flimsy reasons that are more political than criminal. It is impossible for the Miyetti Allah chairman to say what he said if such was not discussed, agreed, and cleared by the top echelon of Miyetti in the state, region and even at the national level of which our president is the Grand Patron.

Mr President Sir, this is why Nigerians blame you for the spate of killings in the Middle Belta, Southwest, Southeast, South-south, and even the senseless massacres in Kaduna and Zamfara.

First you are the Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a title that confers on you the responsibility of the Chief Security Officer of the nation. How can you be so comfortable or rather unruffled as the chief security officer when people are being mercilessly massacred in a country you are presiding?

Secondly, all the service chiefs, heads of the various intelligence agencies, and the Inspector General of Police were appointed solely by you and they report directly to you. Has it not occurred to you that your appointees have by all standards proven that they are incompetent as they have failed woefully in the respective assigned responsibilities? If it has not, then you know why Nigerians are blaming you for passivity and/or complicity in this whole matter.

Remember the Minister of Defence; Mansur Dan-Ali you appointed has repeatedly stated that cattle herders have the right to graze with their cattle anywhere and that the host farmers must accommodate them.  The statements of the Inspector General of Police not treating with seriousness the issue of the menace of killer herdsmen are also on record.

The Service Chiefs (your appointees also) all work under the Minister of Defence and therefore receive policy directives from him. Does anybody expect the Nigerian Armed Forces to come to the aid of the unarmed and defenceless innocent citizens of this country as long as Mansur Dan-Ali remains the Minister of Defence? Was this not what T.Y. Danjuma was referring to, when he recently asked that people should rise up to defend themselves?

Why has it become impossible for you to change the team heading the nation’s security infrastructure even with clear manifestations of incompetence or rather insincerity? In sane countries where there is democracy and a President with impeccable patriotic intents, there would have been some serious changes as a result of abysmal failure or rather incompetence of those charged with managing our security agencies except someone is saying they are deeply complicity in what is going across the country especially in the Middle Belt region.

Does it not occur to our President that by his inaction, he is saying a lot about this cattle-herder problem? By what he was quoted as saying in Jos, he simply believes that these murderous herders are innocent and are being framed by the people they killed. Okay Mr. President we believe you but who are these murderers with AK47 riffles? Please don’t also forget that Miyetti Allah admitted that it was a reprisal attack, could it be that they hire these killers to come in and fight for them? You see why Nigerians strongly believe we should start with the leadership of Miyetti Allah in Plateau, Benue, Nassarawa and even Kaduna; at least we can begin to have insight into the character and motives of these cow-for-men massacres.

As said by a public affairs analyst, in his comment on this spate of massacres particularly in the Middle Belt and Southern Kaduna, “The owners of the cows are not the poor, ubiquitous herdsmen who cater for the cows. We know that those herdsmen carry sticks and machete most of the time. But there are those who finance the business, own the cows and engage the poor herders to man the cows. These “big men” who own the cows are the ones who engage gunmen to kill and destroy anything living or non-living that threatens their business. Buhari cannot pretend not to know this. Rather than address the problem from the root, he chooses to side with his people and continues to regurgitate this puerile comment of herders-don’t-carry guns.”

The nature of this crisis is clear to everyone and the people affected are for sure no longer ready to buy this “herders-don’t-carry guns” chant of the president and the earlier he realises it the better for all of us towards mobilising to find a comprehensive solution to this problem that is gradually building up to an uncontrollable level. God bless Nigeria!

(IFEANYI IZEZE writes from Abuja: iizeze@yahoo.com; 234-8033043009)

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