By Jude Ndukwe
The recent press release by the Directorate of State Services (DSS), Nigeria’s secret police, to the effect that they discovered some fifty shallow graves, five of which they claimed had some Fulani natives buried in them, is most unfortunate to have come from an otherwise responsible security outfit. While we await the veracity or otherwise of this story and or the true circumstances surrounding them, Nigerians are already holding their breath to know what next could happen especially as the DSS declared that the bodies were corpses of Fulani natives purportedly murdered by IPOB/MASSOB members.
The reason Nigerians still hold the DSS in very serious doubt about this unfolding scenario is not far- fetched. The DSS under its current leadership has become notorious for acting irresponsibly and misleading the public on several occasions just to create enemies for perceived political opponents of the President, members of the opposition, or those who are considered irritants to the current administration for one reason or the other. For example, this same DSS once invaded the Akwa Ibom State government house and its guest houses and claimed to have discovered a cache of arms and stockpiles of dollars there. This report genuinely enraged the citizens who already condemned the Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel and his predecessor, Godswill Akpabio, only for the report of discovered arms and dollars to be mere propaganda as the DSS could not charge anyone for such a supposed strange and felonious discovery, months after. Also, the DSS’s recent invasion of the hallowed chambers of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, against democratic norms, where some members of the house were whisked away on frivolous grounds, and released except for one Hon Afolabi Akanbi, who was held incommunicado for good eighteen days without being released or charged to court within 48 hours as required by law until he became so ill it was rumoured he was dead before, for fear of him dying in their custody, he was released a very sick and shattered man. As usual, after all the showmanship by the DSS, no charges were preferred against any of the Ekiti lawmakers. Of course, there could not have been any since it was widely believed that the whole exercise was an action in rascality and politically motivated to target one of Buhari’s fiery critics and political albatross, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State. This is not counting the numerous court orders which the DSS have continuously and flagrantly disobeyed, behaving like a child who throws needless tantrums for attention and who must destroy others just to impress his father. So, when the DSS made the announcement that they have discovered those shallow graves, one wondered what their true intentions were. Knowing full well that Nigeria’s peace is fragile, and what such irresponsible announcement could cause in the north against the Igbo and other non-Hausa/Fulani ethnic nationalities. A more responsible institution would have been more circumspect especially when investigations are still ongoing and the identities of the other fifty corpses also purportedly discovered in the forest have not been ascertained; neither is/are the cause(s) of death confirmed. I was in Abia State over the weekend when the DSS released the press statement and I make bold to say that the portion that says “Following this act, tension is currently rife among communal stakeholders in the State…” is absolutely false and uncharitable of the DSS as there is no tension in Abia State. The state is very peaceful, and if not for the press release of the DSS, not many people would have been aware of any incident. Even at that, almost all the people have carried on their normal businesses. Obviously they are still very much oblivious of the DSS’ alarm. This attempt to create tension where there is none is most unfortunate. The divisive tendencies employed are, to say the least, deplorable. Among the purported 50 graves discovered by the security agents, why were they particularly interested only in the five being talked about? Are the other graves not bearing the bodies of Nigerians? There are many more questions for these men to answer. In as much as one does not and should never condone criminality under whatever guise, one wonders why the DSS has not made a single comment about the continued terrorist attacks of whole communities by the Fulani herdsmen? In Agatu, about 300 people including defenceless women and helpless children were massacred in one night by these herdsmen who have been ranked as the 4th most dangerous terrorist group in the world by the Global Terror Index. The corpses of the victims littered the streets, some were lucky to be buried in shallow graves but the DSS never ever found it disturbing enough to make an effort even if it was just a press release to condemn that dastardly act. Rather, the herdsmen have been allowed to walk free and wallow in the false euphoria of conquerors while still going about with their AK 47 rifles even after some of their leaders admitted carrying out the genocide right in a security meeting. Contrast this to the purported 5 corpses of Fulani natives said to have been discovered in Abia State and the venom with which the DSS spoke on that episode, and one might not be wrong to conclude that the security agency is dangerously playing an ethnic card and desperately fishing for crimes with which to hang on Nnnamdi Kanu the IPOB leader and ultimately destroy him. Beyond Agatu, the Fulani herdsmen have been traversing the length and breadth of this country under the guise of cattle grazing while they unleash terror on their host communities. Yet, neither Buhari nor Daura has condemned them even for once. Nigerians are watching! The biasness of the security agency in killing IPOB members demonstrating peacefully, orderly and are not known to have killed anyone in the course of their agitations, compared to the freedom allowed the Fulani militia to embark on their killing spree unchallenged, is ominous and disturbing and reflective of Buhari’s language.He has betrayed his emotions on such issues like the Shiite Muslims, IPOB/MASSOB, and the entire South East/South South whom he literally said would get only 5% of government attention in proportion to the votes he received from those zones. So, while victims of the zone receive 5% of government protection, the Fulani militia is receiving 97% security cover. The disdain with which he talked about Nnamdi Kanu and the Biafra agitators and the Shiite Muslims massacred by the Army, on national television has since formed the direction our security agents work. Even while on Al Jazeera, Buhari attempted to save himself from the shame of a nation under his presidency when he turned down the offer to watch on screen how Nigerian soldiers murdered IPOB protesters. So, with all these, one knows where the DSS and other security agencies are coming from when
they sensationalise and sectionalise matters of national security just to score banal political points. The earlier they desist from such, the better for our nation.
Ndukwe, wrote from Abuja.