By Yinka Odumakin
ONLY insensitive and depraved persons could have seen the images of the wailing grave diggers for the Benue 73 murdered on New Year day by Fulani herdsmen and not cringe And to see slit throats,ruptured wombs and other heartless hackings challenged our humanity as a people.
That was when the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum chose to visit the state last week to commiserate with the Government and Benue state and concerns mounted over our safety, the leaders were quick to declare “Should men like us fear?”
The journey to Benue was initially scheduled for Monday until the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Terwase Orbunde told me that Governor Samuel Ortom and all leaders in the state were going to meet the President in Abuja.That sounded quite strange as African culture dictates that a bereaved man is to be visited in his home by neighbours and friends (even enemies!) on condolences!
The visit had to be postponed till Wednesday with Chief Ayo Adebanjo leading the South West,Chief John Nwodo at the head of South East, Air Commodore Ikanga Idongesit leading the South South and Dr. Bala Takaya with his formidable team from the Middle Belt.
The gathering of Benue leaders led by Governor Ortom filled the reception hall where the leaders of the delegations spoke words of encouragement to a bereaved community who were distraught and hurt by presidential directive that they should go and find accommodation with the killers. Their leaders spoke like real men who would not accept the vassal status the expansionists want to turn them to on their ancestral land.
Governor Ortom was at his best as he showed total confidence in giving effective leadership to his people declaring that “nobody can cow me”.Benue is so lucky to have a brave and courageous man like him to lead them at this crucial time unlike some lily-livered mediocrities and straw stuff who occupy some Government Houses.
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum was happy that it was able to walk the talk of its declaration in Abuja last year that “an attack against one is an attack against all”.
Three days after the visit ,the APC Governors woke up from their slumber and sent a delegation to go and dance over the graves of the murdered.The delegation included Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa state, Kashim Shettima of Borno state, Yahaya Bello of Kogi state, Simon Lalong of Plateau state and Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, Deputy Governor of Osun.
To show how insensitive they were the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima who led the delegation did not utter a word condemning the killers.He callously fouled the compound of the bereaved to launch vitriolic attacks against the leaders of the zones who had shown better humanity than the wicked persons who carried on as if nothing happened in Benue.
And to practically demonstrate that this was a mockery visit and political jamboree, El-Rufai spread his tablet on the table throughout the session .He could not even pretend it was a condolence visit !
I tried to catch the demeanor of the Osun State Deputy Governor as the ill-mannered Shetima deployed intemperate,vile and gutter language to depict his father’s age mates, but she kept a straight face in spite of her cultured background. It then dawned on me that a heavily indebted person cannot be assertive.
And to show that Benue has come of age to make the right call in all situations, a group known as Benue Advancement Forum went on a visit to Governor Ortom a day after the insensitive lot visited to say who the Governors are and their mission to Benue. The Professor David Iornem-led group made its stand known in an address presented by its Deputy Chairman and former Minister of State for Education, Professor Jerry Agada, BAF wondered why it took the northern governors a long time to pay a condolence visit on their colleague who lost many lives in one attack.
“We are equally curious that the visit of the governors came only after a delegation of Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, South South and Middle Belt socio-cultural groups had visited Benue to commiserate with the government and people of the State.
“We therefore demand an apology from the governors because they only came to mock us over the unfortunate incident that befell us as a people. “
The group also condemn the recent herdsmen attacks on children, women and other defenceless people in Guma and Logo and faulted the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari over the killings, as it urged the Federal Government to arrest those behind the genocide and declare herdsmen as a terrorist organisation.
“BAF will also want to state that we do not trust the intentions of the Federal Government in sending troops to Benue even as the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has not come out clearly to support the anti-open grazing law in Benue. It seems that the government does not believe that Benue State House of Assembly has any right to make laws that are acceptable and beneficial to protect the interest of Benue citizens,” the group stated.
There is nothing else to add.
The season of malady over Nigeria is consuming all consumables.The latest to fall is the Sultan of Sokoto who has come out in defence of Miyetti Allah at a time members of the organisation are claiming responsibility for murder and threatening more bloodshed in parts of the country.
Members of the group have taken responsibility for the Benue killings on the account of it being a retaliation for the alleged stealing of their cows. Barely 48 hours after the mass burial of 73 victims of the recent herdsmen attacks in Benue, the National Vice President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association, Husaini Yusuf Bosso, warned that more blood will be shed in the state if the anti-grazing law introduced by Governor Samuel Ortom is not completely scrapped.
The Sun Newspaper of January 13 quoted him as saying :
“We, the association wrote a letter to him, even met him. We told him that this law cannot work. We told them that there is an international cattle route from Niger to Eastern Nigeria. He said he will not allow cattle to pass through Benue state even if it is the cattle route. We told him that if he wants to implement that law, he must provide a land for us to rent. He did not provide any land for cattle herders. They have been in that state even before colonial days and co-existing peacefully. We advised him and he refused to listen to us. We are not against that law but he has to provide a land for these people before implementing such a law. If there is no land, there is a problem.”
“The law is saying that herdsmen should not pass through the state even if it’s a route to another area. In the past, if there was damage by the cattle, we had ways to settle the matter. When you damage a farm, you have to beg the owner, if they refuse, you pay for the damages. This has worked for us for years till Benue State decided to implement the anti-grazing law. We have challenged the law in court and till court decides which way forward, Governor Ortom will be held responsible for any further bloodshed. ”
The Sultan has however been smoking that Miyyeti Allah is not a terror group and went overboard to compare a group whose members carry unlicensed. AK 47 to terrorise their communities to Afenifere and Ohanaeze
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III insisted that any Fulani man carrying arms and ammunition is not a member of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
According to him, Miyetti Allah is not a criminal organisation.He likened the group to other socio-cultural organisations like the Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Arewa Consultative Forum, “Miyetti Allah doesn’t control any Fulani man. Calling for proscription of Miyetti Allah is equivalent to calling for the proscription of other ethnic organisations like Afenifere, ACF, Ohanaeze and others.”
Dear Sultan, how many Afenifere and Ohanaeze members have you seen waving AK 47 all over town, killing people and threatening death like the Miyeti Allah members,a group you are proud to be a Patron to?
This too shall come to pass!
Re: Adunni Oluwole warned against this independence
PLEASE accept my compliments both for the yuletide, and yet another of your fine pieces.
Well, indeed Madam Adunni’s rejection of independence ought to have been an aberration but for the horrible state of Nigeria presently, caused by outright poor, and more often than not, very deliberate/calculated EVIL infested plots and policies of our leaders. Madam Adunni’s reason(s) for her action was not known or clearly mentioned in the piece, but however, may her soul rest in peace.
Fulani Hired Killers/Benue mayhem-
IT is no longer doubt to even the ‘Thomases’ that Nigeria, and indeed the Middle Belt and the entire South are in serious TROUBLE. With the recent publicised “victory songs” of Miyetti Allah’s spokesman/propagandists in Abuja right under PMB’s nose, it clearly shows that except by divine intervention, our country Nigeria is enroute the known/bitter paths of countries such as Rwanda, Somalia, Yugoslavia, etc. Obviously, going by the body language of PMB and the treacherous indifference displayed by some of the relevant security agencies during and after the most recent massacres in Benue, Taraba and Adamawa states, certainly, all shall be over for Nigeria as a country, if the issue of complete restructuring is taken as mere rhetorics by PMB and his APC government. It is becoming a widely held opinion that PMB’s anti restructuring posture is not only deliberate but in tandem with Othman Dan Fodio’s scripts to forcefully subjugate the entire Nigeria to the Caliphate, whether religiously, socio-economically,etc. With the federal government/Fulani Hired killer’s approach, the so called free or open grazing/Cattles colony concepts are all calculated means to an end(Jihad/Islamisation).
Outrageously strange phenomenons. It is probably only in our country where one hears of a well trained military commander who takes defenceless villagers into “safe custody” in a school premises and only to abandon them at the mercy of the PRIVILEGED KILLERS, with the shameless proclamation of being overpowered .
Without any reported loss of his troop(s)..! It is yet in our ‘Tom and Jerry-Nigeria’ you will hear of a fighterjet pilot waiting to receive “orders” to return the fire of those trying to bring down his plane..!! Oh yes, it is still in the “non negotiable united Nigeria” where some people are being permitted and ENCOURAGED to come from somewhere else with their means of livelihood not only to forcefully displace and deny the legitimate owners of their own means of livelihood/land, but end up wiping out the entire communities, without the aggressor(s) being taken/treated not even as common criminals..!! Oh what a country Nigeria..!!!, and how badly are we missing the likes of Chief Gani Fahwehimi and the Ransome Kutis(Fela and Beko). Well, we thank God that we still have our Prof Soyinka and a few others around with us in these trying times.
The federal government ordered a full battalion, so to say, to go after the idiotic Don Waney(cultist/kidnap kingpin) who killed 15 citizens in Rivers state, but yet pretended to have sent the Police to “arrest” seasoned Terrorists(so rated by Amnesty International and other world Bodies) whose spokesman was reportedly dishing out press releases arrogantly here and there at Abuja. What a tragedy of a so called nation.
Of Chief Audu Ogbeh, IGP Idris, Gov. Lalong and PMB’s endorsement-
It is rather very unfortunate that Chief Ogbeh who has been featuring in most administrations in Nigeria since I was a kid can actually wake up to make such cheap and eye-service statement. Should Nigerians need to remind Minister Ogbeh that apart from most of the corrupt elites around us, almost all Nigerians have been so neglected and not just the herders and their blood thirsty mercenaries..?. Well very soon Pa Audu Ogbeh may no longer see yams to export any if the prevailing madness is allowed to continue. However, he should please pray fervently and help to talk to his APC government so that at the end of the day, he would not be left with no other alternative than to export slaughtered human fleshes as corned beef just to satisfy those he appears to be dying to please.
As for Mr IGP Idris, the message to him is very brief. If ever he still possesses any iota of conscience, should please NEVER forget the oath he took as a police officer and as the No. 1 cops of the country as of today; he is very answerable to the Almighty God for every life and blood shed caused by his action/inactions under any guise. He is certainly NOT just there for the President and some tribes alone but for every single citizen, especially the law abiding one(s).
His widely circulated infamous statement after meeting his “lord” at Aso Rock did really portray him as a Cheap and Treacherous favour seeker. It is rather so obvious now that he was surreptitiously invited to Aso Rock just for the sake of that timid, very unwarranted and un-statemanly broadcast of his. I was a poor student of English literature, but I must let Governor Lalong know that the cuts he inflicted on his fellow Governor Ortom is deeper and deadlier than the one Julius Caesar received from the satanic Brutus.
That statement credited to him of his so called earlier warnings to Governor Ortom against Benue state anti open grazing laws has a number of very bad consequences. For example, (i) he has indeed added to the audacity and viciousness of the Hired Killers to go after all the states with have anti open grazing laws henceforth. (ii) the open/public declaration has the potentials of turning not just PMB/Praise singers alone nationwide against the already emotionally dazed/battered Governor Ortom, but even some of his subjects right there in Benue state as well. (iii) then finally, must he even come to the public to chide/remind a sorrowful man with such bleeding heart of his “failings” if at all..?. Uncle Sobowale of the Vanguard Newspapers has continuously reiterated it that, every reasonable person especially those in position of authority should possess some good knowledge of Economics and History. Well, I totally agree with him being one of my favourite/best writers, however, I hereby want to seek his permission to add that such personalities should equally ask God for wisdom, guidance and good conscience. In my own opinion, Governor Lalong of Plateau state acted without Godly wisdom, excellent motive(s) and good conscience, among others. And to add insults upon injury, Governor Lalong was among the “seven wisemen/devotees” who went to “beg” and endorse PMB at Aso Rock on the very day that 70 innocent citizens of this country were being given mass burials. Oh..what a country with its’ value system..!!. Lalong and his patriotic co-travellers only love their “stomachs”, and not PMB or Nigeria. And of a truth, and just too certain and sad, Nemesis or Karma has very damning “rewards” for such failings and treacherous actions, especially if they were calculated and deliberately carried out.
And as for our powerful PMB-
I just need to remind and thank him profusely that his sectional and very NEPOTIC leadership has made the unimaginable/unthinkable to happen during my lifetime in Nigeria.
And very pleasantly too, this is the true and very authentic ‘Handshake Across the Niger.’.!!!!
May God Bless Nigeria, help to condole our brothers and sisters in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Bornu, Rivers and every other state that has been at the receiving end of all the Terrorist groups. And above all, let God have MERCY on us all, and finally help to change the minds of the Terrorists and their financiers and of course, our bad leaders and followerships in general.
With God All Things Are Possible.
IKPERITE, G. K. – Lagos