Thursday, 28 April 2016

Opinion: Buhari should stop playing with Nigerian lives

Opinion: Buhari should stop
playing with Nigerian lives

Editor’s note: While President Muhammadu
Buhari has finally addressed the issue of the
Fulani herdsmen , Nigerians continue to call on
their president to stop the killing. Paul E.
Michael, a criminologist and civil activist,
writes to Buhari, asking to stop playing ethnic
card with the lives of Nigerians.
Buhari seems not interested in curbing
Fulani herdsmen
As one who staked his integrity and life in
defence of the then General Muhammadu
Buhari presidential ambition, I find it totally
disappointing that President Buhari seems
not interested in curbing the unruly and
bloody conducts of the Fulani herdsmen,
which have resulted in the death of several
Nigerians across the country. The inability of
Mr. President to respond promptly to the
early actions of the herdsmen has made the
situation to degenerate into serial attacks. If
the president fails to act now, then we shall
have every reason to believe that our
president is running a Fulani agenda, as
claimed by some commentators.

One primary responsibility of every
government is to ensure the security of its
citizens. This is so vital because there
cannot be a government without a people.
That apart, the people constituted the
government and entrusted national resources
into the hands of its front runners simply to
make life meaningful for them, not
miserable. In another vein, the security of
lives plays a significant role in the economic
growth and development of every country. It
is a fact that investments suffer where
insecurity blossoms. As such, there is no
reasonable investor who will dare sow his
hard earned money in a land without security
assurance. This is why leading countries of
the world like America, England, and France
among others; do not take issues of security
Why the president is giving little or no
attention to the menace
While security assurance was one major
thing promised by President Muhammadu
Buhari prior to the presidential election on
March 28, 2015, one wonders why the
president is giving little or no attention to
the menace, and the illegality perpetrated by
the Fulani herdsmen across the country. As
an agent of “Change”, I as well as other
concerned citizens, who yearn for a peaceful
and enabling environment, where business
and sustainable development can thrive,
have received with shock the news of
murder, bloody attacks and daylight carriage
of unlicensed small and light weapons by our
Fulani nomadic brothers, who now find
pleasure in slaughtering fellow countrymen
for the protection of their cattle. This is
highly condemnable, as cattle was made for
man, not man for cattle.
Specifically, the Vanguard newspaper of
March 19, 2016 carried a story, “Agatu
Massacre: Victims accuse Buhari’s govt of
insensitivity” in which it was reported that
about 300 Nigerians in Agatu local
government in Benue state were massacred
by rampaging Fulani herdsmen, with 3000
citizens rendered homeless due to razed
houses by the same herdsmen, while over
10,000 became emergency internally
displaced people as they fled for safety. This
is asides several other attacks experienced
by Nigerians across the country, from the
North-Central to the South-West, South-
South to South-East, including the attack on
Dori and Mesuma villages in Gashaka local
government area of Taraba state on Sunday
April 10, 2016, killing at least 15 people.
Most recent is the ungodly attack on Ukpabi
Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani council of
Enugu state, where no fewer than 48 persons
were reported killed. It is unbelievable that
this lawlessness is brewing under the watch
of a president who has vowed to kill
corruption before it kills Nigeria.
Buhari is playing the ethnic card with the
lives of Nigerians
It is quite unfortunate that President Buhari,
who stated categorically that “I belong to
everybody, but belongs to nobody”, is playing
the ethnic card with the lives of Nigerians
who withstood much opposition to ensure
victory for APC during the last presidential
election. The people’s economic situations
are also being made worse, considering the
destruction of the crops of farmers by the
herdsmen’s cattle and the fear imposed on
subsequent investors. Without fear nor
favour of persons, I wish to advice Mr.
President to reject the temptation toward
ethnocentrism and accept the glory of
national integration. As a president,
Muhammadu Buhari has the entire country
as his constituency, he should stop acting as
the president of the Fulani nation to the
detriment of the Nigerian state. His
seemingly silent posture regarding the
incessant killings of innocent Nigerians is
unleashing unbearable havoc on Nigerians,
as it has given the herdsmen more courage
and determination to ignite a bloody war,
which now threatens to escalate as affected
communities keep on attracting angry

if… – Group issues ultimatum
Meanwhile, the police through which the
government protects citizens has done
nothing substantial other than promising
investigations and carrying out a few arrests,
here and there. This means the government
has no plan of preventing these attacks on
Nigerians, except through the Grazing
Reserves Bill submitted to the National
Assembly, whose fate is largely unknown. As
a lover of change, I expected that strong
security policies and structures will be put in
place by our president to send a very strong
message to those taking laws into their
hands irrespective of ethnic, religious and
political affiliations.
Fulani’s herdsmen’s menace is a major test
of President Buhari
Let me state categorically that while
insecurity remains a major challenge to
Nigeria’s development, the Fulani’s
herdsmen’s menace is a major test of
President Buhari’s ability to redeem our
country from the shackles of corruption and
illegality. The time is now ripe for Mr.
President to show Nigerians how selfless he
can be in serving the Nigerian populace. As
a matter of fact, the president needs to
decisively address the Fulani herdsmen, just
as he has addressed Nnamdi Kanu and his
pro-Biafra agitators. This is capable of
reducing the tension already generated by
the actions of the herdsmen, reassure
investors of a secure environment and put a
final stop to the brewing war between the
Northern and Southern parts of the Nigeria.
Having said that, I would like to remind Mr.
President that Nigeria has been suffering
ethno-religious division, which is obvious
even to the blind. It is expected, therefore,
that President Buhari puts systems and
structures in place to bring the divided North
and South together. The best way he can do
this is to take advantage of the Fulani
herdsmen menace by punishing perpetrators
of the ungodly attacks and addressing his
ancestral kinsmen that Nigeria is one
indivisible country, hence he shall not
tolerate the killing of innocent Nigerians by
disgruntled elements irrespective of where
they emanate from. Until these little things
are done, Mr. President will be seen as a
leader who is working for the division of the
country instead of its integration. “A stitch in
time, saves nine”.
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