Sling, setting of communities on fire and sundry atrocities as tactics. Though Nigerians, appalled by the development have consistently raised alarm over thince 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari took over the reins of governance in the country, the body language of Fulani herdsmen has changed but, not for positive reasons. From gradual assaults of the citizenry through the destruction of their farmlands, the herdsmen have metamorphosed into bandits brazenly attacking people, properties, farmlands employing kidnapping, kilis ugly new herdsmen way and have called on the president to address the matter to halt the drift from sanity, a clandestine attempt to dispossess communities of their ancestral land through RUGA was all the response they got.
Expectedly, RUGA, a policy carefully designed to cause states to donate land for Fulani settlements was quickly shot down by the heavy cries of condemnation that greeted the obnoxious policy. Backing off, some government functionaries behind the plot were quoted as boasting that there would be a price to pay for rejecting RUGA which may have manifested in the festival of horror that has befallen Nigerians of varied persuasion over time. True enough, dignitaries have lost their lives to these felons, communities razed, many women and girls raped, some maimed in addition, but our dear president is missing in action. No one after the rampaging herders.
With their heightened activities and the resultant revulsion it awakened among Nigerians, it has now become clear that things can no longer go on as usual. Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, who has been a rare voice chose the All Progressives Congress, APC registration and revalidation exercise to call for the prosecution of arrested criminals among the herdsmen noting the danger lack of justice is playing in pitching ethnic groups against each other. The House of Representatives speaker, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila also harped on the need to address the rising tension over the herders/ farmers issue to avoid unnecessary crack in the country, with Governor Samuel Ortom, of Benue State the longest suffering group from the terrorism of the herders, calling on the president to speak out clearly on the matter; condemn the atrocities and arrest the Myetti Allah leader who has consistently grazed open wounds.
Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka whose country home has become a place to track stray cows according to the police, specifically challenged the president to break his unholy silence on the boiling matter and openly call the vandals to order. The consensus across the country today is that ranching is the only way to go. Even Nigerians in the Diaspora into cattle rearing are sending In clips of their personal ranches to help promote understanding that you can no longer be doing your business at the detriment of another. Human right maxim states that your right ends where another’s begins.
So, the federal government and northern governors must meet with the owners who, may also be sitting coolly in Abuja, to work things out-a private business must not destroy our nation. Buhari must therefore tell the herders the truth, that as their patron, his cows are in confinement in Daura and all should do same.
Also, the Nigeria Police should like USA officers recognize that their loyalty is not to Buhari, Fulani or the North but, to protect Nigeria and Nigerians at all times. The herders became this wild because soldiers and police chiefs protected them. As Nigeria boils the onus is on the new security chiefs to work hard to rebuild public trust in our security system. Vandals must be brought to book and justice seen to be served, to show nobody is above the law so, frayed nerves can be calmed.
This is a fragile moment in the life of this country and we all must work towards a culture of respect, justice and equity which are the true pillars of unity.
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