By Dr. Pascal Ebohime
Today, no one is happy about the above and the crime perpetuated on the people of this country. As a result of this, Nigerians had died in thousands in the North East and many are dying every day . Government claims it had waged a war against this insurgency and it has won or is winning . The reason for this insurgency , apart from the argument that the killings have had religious coloration , is not clear enough . Yes, they had attacked Christians ,muslims, churches and families believed to practice their own faith . For me , it is a clear war declared by a group on others and deaths are the result. The war against insurgency that has religious fundamentalists behind it is therefore expected for a country that declares constitutionally to be secular . For a country and its government that must protect the territorial integrity and lives of its citizens, the effort by the government in nibbling the issue at its root in the first instance was largely inadequate . Maybe, the religious fundamentalists behind this are Nigerians and the incentives for the heinous crime are derived from the passion to do so as part of the overall strategy of a large scale religious group to islamitize the country as claimed in some quarters . Then, there is a bigger problem if the government is inadvertently protecting the interest of this group but pretending to fight the war in the interest of Nigerian state.
The insurgency in recent times, has taken a different dimension as the ordinary people, by way of herdsmen, deceitfully doing their work but have taken several weapons and penetrated the forest down south , South West, middle belt and eastern part of Nigeria , terrorising innocent Nigerians, rapping the women, killing innocent and unsuspecting children, families and other Nigerians, predominantly Christians. People no longer travel safe to their home lands without being slaughtered particularly those without security operatives to guide them.
There is wailing in the land , and no visible war by the government extended to this part of the country to curb the spread. Rather, the crime by the herdsmen is being politicized and nothing is being done by the government ( by deploying army personnel) except a few private vigilante groups, to fight this war against other Nigerians in their homeland. This is serious and a crime against humanity .
Also worrisome is the growing number of ordinary Nigerians, believed to be Hausa/ Fulani , doing nothing spectacular about their occupational engagement, trooping into the communities in hundreds to settle. No one can tell any Nigerian citizen not to live anywhere . The Nigerian Constitution provides for freedom of movement, and life in any part of this country. Fears are high these people constitute threats. This is a clear conflict of purpose, a dilemma , and many communities are at a cross road , not knowing what to do or figure out the motives behind this sudden inhabitation of a religious groups in the southern communities . Some people believe that they are being planted to live among the original owners of this land, and ultimately get assimilated into the social and political life of the people. For me, there is nothing wrong about an individual or a group deciding to live their lives in a manner that suites them.
What is however worrisome is the coincidence in time of the herdsmen insurgents and the ordinary Hausa/ Fulani men coexisting in these communities at this point in time . Could they live in peace ? If they do , fine, but with the insurgents can these ordinary men be trouble fre ? Afterall, there are Ibos and other Nigerian tribal/ ethnic groups (predominantly Christians) living and occupationally engaged in the predominantly Muslim communities in the northern part of Nigeria. They should live in peace with other citizens in those communities .
Overall, where is Nigeria as a country headed ?
There is clearly instability, uncertainty, ambiguity and volatility in the land , amidst deaths of innocent Nigerians in thousands. There is war against us in the land . There is no sense of urgency on the part of state and local governments and gross incapacity on their part to fight this war. What is going on?
The Federal government is seriously aloof on the matter, giving everyone the impression it is condoning or supporting the war by the herdsmen against other Nigerians living in the southern communities .
When will this stop?
Ceasless prayers by Christian groups including well meaning muslims in the southern communities are going on but are these adequate to fight physical war . To do otherwise by carrying weapons would lead to full scale war , possibly fuelled by further supplier of weapons and men by those way back in the northern communities.
If the insurgents were not Nigerians , I doubt this now, after the passage of time and the ineptitude of government to fight them, then, the government must galvanize its efforts , using the military might at its disposal to put this behind us.