Polscope.. with Eddy odivwri
The initial title of this article was Fulani Versus Other Nigerians. But I had to recast it knowing that the so-called Fulani herdsmen have also attacked fellow Fulanis as well. What it means therefore is that we are all under a siege from a group of people, who seem to have released canon fodders on the rest of us. And the terror is real.
It is difficult to understand why , suddenly, the Fulani herdsmen have become such a terror machine harassing and upstaging the entire country. No part of the country seems safe enough from the barbed attacks of the Fulani herdsmen. It is as if they had never been around us until the President Muhammadu Buhari government began. From the East to the West, down to the South and even the north, everybody is crying and wailing because Fulani herdsmen have been unleashed on the rest of Nigerians. Nobody or section is spared. Even the district head of Daura, Mr President’s own town, was abducted and released only few days ago.
Perhaps what baffles the rest of us is the conspiracy of silence that follows all these attacks. The Federal Government which controls all the security agencies does not seem to be doing or saying enough to send the right message that it is verily concerned about the security situation in the country.
Last Monday, there was an unprovoked attack on an Orphanage home in Delta State by bandits suspected to be the same Fulani herdsmen. The attack on the Great Saints Orphanage, Issele-Uku, in Aniocha North LGA of the state , more than anything else, shows that the so-called herdsmen are just a band of roving criminals terrorizing the entire country. Otherwise, how do you explain an attack on a facility harbouring innocent and harmless orphans? What could they have done to warrant or attract an attack from armed bandits?
Everyday, we are inundated with stories and video clip recordings of the terror the Fulani herdsmen are visiting on Nigerians. They are simply horrifying experiences that should give Mr President and his security chiefs sleepless nights.
We all seem helpless. And hapless too.
Recently in Agbor, Delta State too, a group of Fulani bandits attacked a village and in the ensuing gun duel between the invaders and some local hunters, a Fulani man was said to have been shot and captured by the locals. In no time, the entire security apparatchik was alert and frantically concerned about the shooting of a Fulani herdsman whereas, the same security operatives would hardly lift a finger or give a hoot when they hear natives have been attacked and killed or raped by these same bandits. And that tells a huge story of bias and unusual concern for the herdsmen.
This brand of terrorism is even worse than the Boko Haram menace. Boko Haram, at least is fighting for a course, no matter how awkward or senseless it is. But for these Fulani herdsmen, what are they fighting for? It is brazen criminality all the way.
Although the President may not have expressly said anything to the heads of the security agencies on how to treat and handle the menace of the Fulani herdsmen, their responses and action plan may just be in deference to what is popularly called the body language of the president.
Were it not so, the threat issued by the northern youths, giving an ultimatum to southern governors opposed to the Ruga settlement initiative to rescind their decision within 30 days or face the consequences, should have resulted in the arrest of those behind that threat to safety and security of the citizenry.
It is not enough for the federal government to merely say the threat should be ignored, it should be seen to be dealing decisively with such a threat in a way that people with similar tendencies would know it is a No-Go area for anybody or group.
The threat posed by the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) is not so different from what the northern youths are saying. Against the IPOB, the federal government responded swiftly with maximum force and quelled what was appearing like insurrection. But against the Fulani herders, there appears an annoying pampering which could be interpreted as criminal negligence and a loud show of nepotism. This has in turn lionized them (herdsmen) to undertake even more heinous crimes across board. Those who believe this theory say Mr President is unusually calm about it because the perpetrators are his folksmen.
I stand for one Nigeria. But it must be a Nigeria where no group is regarded as second class and another group a first class. The same rules and reactions must apply to everybody, irrespective of region or religion.
One group of people cannot hold the entire nation to ransom in the name of being the president’s folksmen. No! that would neither be just nor acceptable. This is not George Orwell’s Animal Farm where all animals are equal, but some are more equal. It will be sharply antithetical for a President whose signature quote is that ‘I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”.
So many videos/messages are being circulated pleading with the president to rise to the occasion and truly be a father to all nationals.
Mrs Sarah Omakwu, the senior pastor of Family Worship Centre, in Abuja has sent out a couple of such appeal messages through her pulpit.
It is what is paramount to Nigerians: safety and security. Mr President cannot afford to ignore the loud complaint in the polity.
We look forward to a new lease of life when Mr President fully constitutes his government, as we hope to see another set of service chiefs as the present ones seem to have come to their skills end. A new set of military leaders will, hopefully, inject new zeal and methods in the fight against all that trouble us as a people.
The government cannot wring its hands in helplessness, like the hapless folks in town.
The amount of innocent blood being shed by these bandits is more than enough. Mr President, let the killings stop!