It is no longer a matter of debate that Nigeria is fighting a war of attrition. A war, if not tackled frontally, could erode its very foundation. On a near-daily basis, Nigerians are confronted with the dark specter of the horrendous activities of those who have declared war against them.
For want of appropriate appellation, government tagged them ‘bandits’, and the mass media kowtowed in this ironic tag which has stuck. These bandits, mainly Fulani, have left tales of sorrow and blood, rape and plunder in their wake.
From one community to the other, citizens have borne their atrocious conduct. Benue, Plateau, Niger, Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Taraba, Kebbi and parts of Adamawa are witnesses to their savagery of these flea-ridden, god-forsaken marauders.
In all of these, the Nigerian government has demonstrated utter lack of capacity and ability to confront and contain these sons of Lucifer. Time after time, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari wrings its hands either in despair or effete threats that the bandits know amount to hot air.
On November 16, 2021 after bandits had one of their bloody orgies in Sokoto state, the president’s media aide, Garba Shehu, issued one of the recurrent lame statements.
“This administration will not tolerate this state of affairs where criminals deprive the people of their means of livelihoods and turn them into beggars and refugees. The bandits are living in a fool’s paradise if they believe that they can’t be crushed. The criminals cannot be lucky always; they will ultimately meet their Waterloo. Evil cannot triumph over good no matter how long it takes,” Shehu’s statement reads.
What is the purpose of warning these felons that have left death, pillage and disaster in their wakes if not for some other considerations that are not in the national interest?
It will be recalled that when on September 20, 2017, an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court declared the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, a terrorist organization days after the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in an exparte asked for a declaration of the organization as a terrorist group.
It should be referenced here that prior to that order by the court, IPOB had not engaged in such a murderous campaign as Nigerians have witnessed and endured with these bandits. It seems the offence of IPOB asking for a referendum on the continued stay of the South East in the Nigerian federation is more heinous than the campaign of terror, murder and plunder by the bandits.
If it were to the contrary, this newspaper wonders why the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to prevaricate in documenting in the Gazette of the Federal Republic an order of the Federal High Court proscribing the activities of the bandits as terrorists.
The Order of Justice Taiwo Taiwo was made on November 26, 2021 and over six weeks after, the government that sought the order is yet to act on it when there is condition precedent of speed in that of the IPOB.
Some Nigerians have raised the worry over the government’s foot-dragging and insinuated that the president’s filial ties with the bandits has continued to stand in the way.
Mr. President, the time to dither is past. The present circumstances urge action, decisive action. Affected governors like Nasir el-Rufai and Aminu Bello Masari, Kaduna and Katisna states, respectively, have repeated the call to designate these individuals as terrorists, ditto the National Assembly. To imagine that you acted promptly in the matter of IPOB and now seem to be at sea speaks and lends credence to those with conspiracy theories.
It has been said the newly acquired Super Tucano jets cannot be adequately deployed against these gangs because of the non-designation of as terrorist groups. President Buhari the government of Winston Churchill was defined by the Second World War and his manning up to the situation. Goodluck Jonathan, your predecessor was defined by the 2015 elections. Yours will be determined at how you stood to be counted in the face of insecurity. Take the higher ground now and gazette the bandits as terrorists as well as unleash the might of the Nigerian State against them.