By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—Association of Idoma Lawyers, yesterday, condemned the spate of killings in Benue State, even as it advocated the creation of state police and restructuring of the Nigerian federation.
The group, in a statement jointly signed by its patron, Chief Godwin Obla, SAN, and its President, Dr. J. Y Musa respectively, said it was disturbed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s indifferent attitude to violent activities of rampaging Fulani herdsmen in the country.
The statement read: “The heart-wrenching massacre and pogrom (and still ongoing) of December 31, 2017, against the defenceless people of the two local government areas of Guma and Logo in Benue State appears to be the attainment of a crescendo in the rhythm of murderous expansionist glee of the genocidal tribe of Fulani militias masquerading as herdsmen, that commenced on a an extermination scale on February 2013.
“First, against the sedentary and predominantly agrarian Agatus (of Idoma extraction), and spreading thereafter like a wildfire to Mbasenger community in Guma Local Government Area in April, 2013, with the killing of 10 defenceless farmers in one day, at the first instance on that scale.
“The above background and circumstance of grim hope of resolution of this crisis constrain us, in response to our calling, to see the dazzling light of restructuring of the federation from the current slavish subservience of ethnic minorities to the feudal overlords of the Fulani oligarchy who, by reason of conspiracy of demographic advantage of combining with the Hausas to form Hausa/Fulani, have succeeded in upping the ante to gain advantages of occupational distribution of personnel in the security and governance structure of the country to perpetrate evil agenda such as being witnessed in Benue.
“The current decibel of strident calls by the various ethnic nationalities in their agitations for restructuring of the country can no longer be hushed down. Given the all-round quagmire the country has found itself, it is getting clearer by the day that restructuring appears to be the Hobson choice for the government of the day.”
The current structural foundation of the political economy of the federation has become increasingly unsustainable. In all of these, there is a need to develop a platform to articulate their collective aspirations in this regard in the emerging inevitable new federalism that the agitations for restructuring portend”.
The Idoma lawyers, while calling on Benue sons and daughters to close rank, said they have waited in vain with bated breath in expectation that elder statesmen in the state, particular the political class, would articulate a timeous and united response to the ill-wind of the Fulani genocidal invasion on the people, “only to realise that many, except for a few, for selfish considerations bordering on political affiliations, have hamstrung themselves from lending their voices to present and imminent danger of extermination staring us all in the face.
“Except we prefer to wallow in self-deceit of Ostrich game, the encroaching expansionism of the Fulani hegemony makes no provision for security for any individual or group sympathetic to its cause where there is no common or shared ancestry neither is security of political positions guaranteed for any seen as a member of an outgroup.
“We must therefore close ranks as a member of one political group of a federating unit called Benue State to provide a bulwark against the Fulani expansionism. It is worrisome that a number of political leaders expected to take up the gauntlet and lead the vanguard of the proposed bulwark against the expansionist agenda of the Fulani hegemony have only been speaking and acting perfunctorily without the accompanying passion, in seeming agitation against the brutality of the Fulanis, obviously to protect their jobs or political positions.
“This is no time for such complacency as the tsunami of Fulani agenda promises an ill-wind of total annihilation except we all constitute a bulwark against it. Otherwise, the verdict of history of this struggle shall forever remain unkind to them even as victory for us is sure.
“Let none deceive himself that the Fulani expansionist agenda is a phase that will soon pass. An oracle that bays for blood is not satisfied by the semblance and edibility of red palm oil. We must rise, and rise we must, to form our own bulwark, to take our collective destiny in our hands, for none but ourselves will make it happen, in this fight against the forces of darkness, against which victory is divinely guaranteed. But we must fight!”, the statement added.