Arresting the massacres on the Benue Valley
On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari in his inaugural speech in Abuja said; ‘Boko Haram is not only the security issue bedeviling our country. The spate of kidnappings, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes, cattle rustlings all help to add to the general air of insecurity in our land. We are going to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined people – friendly and well – compensated security forces within an over – all security architecture.”
Two year plus and counting, it has become increasingly clear that it was mere rhetoric as the security situation has deteriorated while very few gains have been achieved against the Islamist group, Boko Haram.
Nothing best exemplifies the tenuous security situation in the country under President Buhari than the mindless carnage and near-genocide going on in the Benue Valley.
In the past couple of days, the pictures coming from various communities in Loko and Guma local government areas are repulsive, horrendous and very troubling. Women, children, the aged and youths hacked to death in the most primitive and mindless manner by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
While it is granted that the issue of herdsmen attacks on farming communities in Benue state and across the Middle Belt predates the Buhari regime, the increasing audacity and seeming inertia of the federal government to identify evil by its name and deploy federal might to tackle the vicious monster, is deeply troubling and leaves people of the affected state and the region as second class citizens.
Besides the madness in Benue state, Southern Kaduna has remained a theater of war by marauding herdsmen with even the traditional institution not spared the atrocity.
It is regrettable to note that herdsmen under their umbrella body, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria have gone on record to ask its members to disobey the anti-grazing act of Benue state.
In all of these, the Buhari presidency has failed to ensure that the Act is respected by the herders who if they feel their rights have been infringed upon should challenge it in court.
Also, it is shocking that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, will claim that the mass murders are a result of communal clash.
If that were true, which are the communities and why have the police not moved in to quell the riotous situation?
It is about time that the All Progressives Congress regime understands Nigeria is a federation in which the states have the constitutional guarantee to make laws for the good governance and maintenance of peace in their domains.
To therefore allow any group by whatever name or grouse to call its members to wilful disregard a lawful Act is to set the stage for anarchy.
The collapse of Yugoslavia and its ethnic polarization should serve as a warning to the federal authorities and all other groups in Nigeria that there is much any group can take from another.
Besides Yugoslavia, the Rwanda Genocide is a near-example of the failure of government. It is about time that President Buhari reins in all those that have called their members to arms or made one spurious claims as to the reasons for the sacking of various communities on the Benue Valley.
It is also instructive to remind President Buhari that the primary responsibility of government is the welfare and security of the people, and any government that cannot guarantee this is not worth remain in power.