By Vincent Uba
I write as a peace-loving citizen of Nigeria. I am disturbed whenever I see actions capable of causing breach of peace in the country.
The Benue killings are one of the most disgusting scenes ever witnessed in the history of the nation. I wonder if those who perpetrated the heinous acts against humanity are sane human beings. It is very gruesome and awful to see fellow humans butchered like wild animals.
There is no sane person that will not rise in condemnation of these brutal and senseless killings.
When killings assume the proportion as that of Benue and other states, no right thinking, and sane Nigerian will feel comfortable with the situation. And the President of such country will be under tension and pressure. That is the unfortunate situation that President, Muhammadu Buhari finds himself.
In most countries of the world where there are patriots and statesmen, a crisis of this nature tends to unite the country to fight a common cause.
Fellow countrymen and women unite themselves around the President to not only condemn the acts but also find a common solution.
Unfortunately, that is not the case in Nigeria and that makes it more unfortunate for Buhari.
It is very worrisome that some people in Nigeria see this kind of crisis as a veritable avenue to advance their selfish motives. Rather than unite to rally round Buhari to find a solution, they see the crisis as an opportunity to further their political, religious and tribal sentiments.
It beats my imagination that different group of persons apportion blames rather than somberly pray for the country and offer the President genuine advice. I am so so surprised that some past leaders who should have known better in this period of crises, now play to the gallery. They point accusing fingers and write open letters.
Nigerians are also quick to condemn and point accusing fingers as well. In developed and civilized countries like US and UK where brutal shootings and killings regularly occur, the President is not linked to such acts. Rather, people unite and rally round him to find a common solution.
Does the mere fact that the alleged perpetrators of this crime against mankind are Fulani Herdsmen, implicate the President simply because he is a Fulani man? Now, the social media is again agog with news that the herdsmen’s activities are one of the ways the President is by proxy aiming to Islamize Nigeria. Some people in their desperate motives fabricate lies and use same to appeal to the sentiment of others.
They fabricate and post propaganda that is just tissues of lies. They use Benue crisis to pitch Christians against Muslims and in some cases pitch tribes against other tribes. People become partisan rather than use objective reasoning to address the crisis. A source of worry is the fact that some pastors mount the rostrum to vilify the person of the President when such pastors are supposed to know that the pulpit is not a place from which to dish out insults but a sacred place from which solemn counsel and prayers are supposed to be said for people.
These pastors ignore the injunction of the Bible on the need to pray for those in authority. It is in the light of this that I praise the approach of the Catholic Bishops Conference who consulted with the President, pointing out the ills that plague the country and offering him candid pieces of advice. That is what is expected of good and genuine religious leaders.
Some elected legislators are not left out in this blame game and some use the Benue killings to take their own pound of flesh.
A President that has been acknowledged and praised by not only sincere Nigerians but by world leaders cannot be associated with this evil against man and God. This statesman who once publicly shed tears for this country cannot and should not be associated with actions that claim innocent lives. President Buhari, who inherited a battered economy is now building an economy that will not easily collapse.
How can one insinuate that the President can be involved in the terrorist acts of those murderous herdsmen? President Buhari is on a mission of rebuilding this country. mess of the good he has so far done by associating with the killings allegedly being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen.
When I hear that Fulani herdsmen carry sophisticated weapons, I ask, whether the herdsmen are different from the ones I used to see in my village when I was a child. They were moving with their cattle across my village and other villages without molesting anyone and without being molested. They moved peacefully and we accommodate them.
My submission is that anyone carrying sophisticated weapons masquerading as herdsmen and killing people is a terrorist and must be treated as such. One of the virtues of our President is great restraint. I acknowledge the fact that our President as a human being has made some mistakes in the course of governing the country but I make bold to say that he is on course. He has the mandate of God to be there and carry out a mission and until that mission is complete, no amount of negative propaganda against him will work.
Let all people of goodwill pray for the President and the country. We should stop playing to the gallery. Let us stop spreading negative propaganda especially on the social media. Those who have made it their stock in trade to insult the President should stop. We should stop pitching Christians against Muslims and stop pitching tribes against the other.
*Uba is a Lagos-based businessman and ex-President,
Catholic Brothers United , CBU.