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Fiddling while the land burns

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By Sunny Ikhioya

IT is an acclaimed fact all over the world that a government that cannot provide security for lives and property of its citizens loses its right to legitimacy. It has lost both power and authority and can only be declared a failed state. This is not political, religious, or ethnical, it is the plain truth.

As a people, we have  been debased. There is no iota of conscience. Cows have become more precious than humans. We have gone back to the Stone Age. People are dying in their hundreds and thousands, our leaders are gathered at Abuja preaching politics and pretending that all is well. We have become ultra selfish and treacherous to the people’s course. Those of us who are from the Middle Belt and other places where these killings are being perpetrated assume it is happening in far away lands, far from us, so, it is not of concern to us, are really mistaken because, if you choose to look closely, you will find out that they are already in our midst. Their type are not difficult to identify in their looks and congregation.

They come harmlessly as security guards, Okada riders, suya  sellers, tea hawkers, cattle herdsmen and rearers and the like. Within a few months they would have identified a few uncompleted and abandoned buildings or unoccupied lands and from there their population begin to increase. In a short while they will have their own Imam and start appropriating territories to themselves. They do not integrate with the indigenes as other ethnic groups would do but will always be comfortable on their own. That is the change that we have witnessed since this new dispensation began.

The unprecedented movement, in droves, from the northern part of the country to the south. Some will argue that they are the ones displaced as a result of the crises in the north but these ones are not like that. You can see it from the confidence they display, the hubris, the arrogance, the swagger, almost telling – ‘we are the ones in power’.

They have even become owners of the land, dictating to farmers when to go in to farm or not. They have become brigands, highway robbers, kidnappers and robbers, robbing people of their hard earned income and properties. Some even  engage in sexual abuses of different types against the indigenes but nobody has any say, not to talk of taking action against them because they are in “power”.

Our local progressive politicians have lost their voices and try to excuse it as being exerggerated  or playing politics. It is even worse, when you look at these people closely and you discover that they are not even citizens of Nigeria. They are from far away lands in Mali, Niger republic, Chad, Somalia and other terrorist prone nations. Innocent people are being slaughtered and people are saying that unless they give up their lands for grazing there will be no peace. The slaughtering that took place in over eleven villages in Plateau state between the nights of   June  23- 24 2018 cannot be excused for any reason. Two whole days, in areas known to security forces to be violence prone and this is happening ?

A few question for us to answer: if the Miyetti Allah are brothers of our president, why can’t  they  respect him by allowing him to mete out justice in a civilised way? Why must they taint his presidency by making it appear as tribalistic and bigotry? Why can’t they put in place, effective mechanism to monitor the Fulani -farmers relationship instead of colouring it with human slaughtering? Why must Miyetti Allah claim it is a revenge mission as it happened in Benue and other places ? By so doing, are they not complicit to the slaughtering that took place? If yes, what  action has been taken by  our security personnel?

If Miyetti Allah has truly complained to the authorities in the past, why was action not taken to prevent a reprisal? Does that not mean that our security agencies are incapable of handling these challenges? What action has been taken by the President to address the incompetence of our security agencies? Would you blame the citizens then, if they choose to take laws in their own hands?

So many questions begging for answers, but, that is the way we are until a repeat is recorded. We have failed to be proactive in all ramifications. This is an issue that involves the president’s personal intervention. All parties will respect him if he personally shows willingness to bring to a halt all of these killings. He must deal with it without sentiments, lives cannot be replaced for cows and sacking people from their ancestral lands will not bring peace either.

We must bring out all of our alpha negotiating team, people of goodwill, that all parties will trust. Our security agencies must be ready to deal decisively with criminal acts. Where a party loses trust in your ability to be just, the peace process will be hampered. The beginning of corruption is injustice. Corruption is when you wrongly appropriate something that does not belong to you. If the government is truly serious about fighting corruption, it must seriously look into the killings in the Middle Belt and other areas in the country. It is saddening that our President is finding it difficult to have a grasp of the situation in the Middle Belt. Our President has travelled far and wide and he has seen the implications of religious and ethnic crises in countries like Rwanda, it is a wonder that he has not seen it as a national emergency and declare these herdsmen as terrorists. If he is not going to declare them as terrorist, he should at least compel them to sheath their swords for his sake. He is a Fulani and can easily reach the Miyetti Allah leadership, who are backing the herdsmen.

The Miyetti Allah group should be concerned about their  image,national perception and how their activities impact  on  the Predident. The impression being given is that, because they are his people, they are untouchable , nothing should be far from the truth, that is the impression out there. Nigeria is a secular state, of  so many tribes and religions. The government must do all it can to let it remain so.

The Inspector General of police,Chief of army staff, defense minister, interior minister and all major security organs of this country are under Fulani leadership or majorly Muslims from the north. Why they have not been able to contain these  herdsmen is still a wonder to all. The major assignment of any government is the provision of security, that is to guarantee lives and property to everyone in society. We have truly failed in the manner we have addressed these herdsmen issue. If the people cannot have confidence in the security that  government has put in place, it means the government has failed.

Twitter: @SunnyIkhioya

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