Despite the loud hue and cry across the land over the mindless killings orchestrated by the ravaging Fulani herdsmen, the killings and bloodlettings have continued unabated. Not even the presence of a president in a state could enforce the sheathing of the swords. And lives continue to be wasted by these herdsmen. From Benue, through Taraba, to Nasarawa, up to Adamawa, Plateau and down to Delta, Ebonyi, Kogi etc., these herdsmen are still shoving people into their early graves with a bestial spirit and brute savagery. The case of Kogi is particularly ironical. Here is a state where the governor, Yahaya Bello has hurriedly kowtowed to the oligarchy by offering to provide cattle colonies for the herdsmen. But here is, having now to bury over 30 persons murdered by the same people he has been struggling to appease. And the nation’s rivers, as Shakespeare would put it in Macbeth, have all turned crimson red by the blood of innocent Nigerians..
“The multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red” The supplications in worship houses have been for God to deliver us all from this evil thralldom called Fulani herdsmen. And this has been a running prayer point, amidst the litany of worries we daily load God with in a country so blessed with everything, save gospelled leaders, to make us great.
Or how shall we explain the fact that despite the (belated) intervention of Mr President, the killings are still going on? Even when President Muhammadu Buhari was yet in Plateau State, the herdsmen did not observe any holiday from the killing field, which they have reduced Nigeria to. They were killing in Plateau villages while PMB was addressing residents in Jos.
Benue State has become the most vulnerable landscape with daily reports of gory killings and raw terrorism by the herdsmen.
Gov Samuel Ortom of Benue State has whined himself hoax over the killings. And nobody seems perturbed or so it seems.
Right now, the price of food stuff is on the rise because Benue farmers, the sustainers of the food basket of the nation, are not only chased out of their farms, even the harvested produce are now being crushed down by the cows of the herdsmen. What kind of oppression can be more than this?
A people can no longer go to their farms, nor live in their homes, all because of certain signature hounds called Fulani herdsmen.
I am at a loss as to why neither the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association members have not been proscribed and its members herded into prison for trial, nor have they joined in the search for the killer herdsmen, that is if anyone is really searching for them.
But for the sole arrest of some herdsmen with military arms recently, nobody has been tried and jailed for the thousands of killings.
Sunday Vanguard in its last edition reported that 1,351 people have been killed in various forms of violence in Nigeria in the last ten weeks, in a country not officially declared to be at war.
While Boko Haram insurgents are still kicking many into graves, Fulani herdsmen are shooting and slaughtering people in their homes and farms, all unprovoked. And they all seem to be enjoying annoying and inexplicable immunity.
Some victims of these attacks have often claimed that their traducers do so, sometimes with the prodding of security operatives; or that the security men merely look away when the attackers launch their bullets on them. In one instance in Kigam village, near Kogi town in Kaduna State, the story was told of how the security men, pretending to be shielding helpless victims of such attacks in an improvised IDP, locked the natives up in a classroom in a community primary school, only for them to direct the attackers to open fire at them in the classrooms. Gosh! What has become of us as a nation? Surely, if Chinua Achebe was yet alive, he would have written a revised edition of There was a Country.
If it is not a country where anything goes, apologies to Lt Gen Salihu Ibrahim (retd), former Chief of Army Staff, the untamed killing spree should have cost both the Inspector General of Police, and the Minister of Defence their jobs. What are they securing or defending if in ten weeks, 1,351 persons have been killed in a country not in war with another country? And nobody is in jail or even cell! Cry Beloved Country!
Worse still, for defying the instruction of the C-in-C to relocate to Benue State in the wake of the killings, we thought by now Mr Ibrahim Idris should have the prefix, former Inspector General, affixed to his name.
But it may not happen because the lives of 1,351 persons, not chickens or cows, mean little or nothing to those in authority. Surely, if the son, daughter, or nephew or mother or cousin of one of the henchmen in Nigeria has been a victim of these herdsmen, the narrative would have changed.
That is why the wordings of one of the placards that greeted President Buhari in Benue makes a lot of summary sense. The placard said: “Every youth in Benue is a Yusuf”, a clear reference to the urgent and super care given to the son of the president who had a motorbike accident. He recently returned from a foreign treatment.
Who will rescue us, the sons and daughters of farmers and peasants?