BLOOD and tears flow like the river in Benue, Nassarawa, Enugu, Niger, Plateau, and the Niger Delta states as the armed and belligerent Fulani herdsmen ceaselessly unleash terror, maim, rape, threaten and kill unarmed Nigerians even in their own communities where they come to graze their cattle. Teeth are gnashed, agonised voices echo in Southern Kaduna and among the Agatu though the government seems to have lost the listening ear. The lost souls, let alone farm produce and properties worth billions of naira, are not accounted for: they die ingloriously when the governments (state and federal) fail to perform their duties of securing the citizens’ lives and properties.
However, and unfortunately, the Federal Government seems helpless and has no confidence to rise to the occasion to halt the cattle herders. They use sophisticated weapons to sack any community they feel has offended them, leaving behind blood and tears. Where are they getting the weapons? There ought to be an intelligent report. And these callous cattle farmers appear untouchable, sacred cows. The percentage of the arrest of some culpable herdsmen cannot be reckoned with. As a war against corruption is paramount to the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, crushing the herdsmen’s menace should occupy a notable position in the agenda of the government.
We may think that the armed farmers are not as dreadful as the Boko Haram insurgents. But their tactful movements across the country irrespective of tribe and religion make them more dangerous than the Islamists who concentrated their efforts in the North-East geopolitical zone. Therefore, urgent steps need to be taken. Declaring a state of emergency on the issue can be a proactive step towards finding a lasting solution to the killings. This will enable the security agencies know how germane it is to end the soaring Fulani herdsmen insurgency in the country. Also, the perpetrators will not consider the Federal Government as a “lullaby poet” but a serious and principled one bent to frankly fight the “armed men in the forest”.
Besides, who says it is not worth it to have a special anti-crime squad comprising the police, Civil Defence, Army and perhaps Air Force? The crisis actually demands for this. It is comical and ironic that despite the high presence of the military forces in Kaduna, its southern part is yet to heave a sigh of relief. The special squad will not only monitor the movement of the herdsmen, but also check their excesses. It is advisable to do this before the issue becomes a full-blown war. Furthermore, the Federal Government can collaborate with the pastoralists’ organisations such as the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to identify each of the livestock farmers. It is expected that the association has registered members in its various chapters across the country. The government should ensure that any unregistered herder should register with the association and any form of identification should be created for each of them. Any nonconformist should be considered a suspect, and be prosecuted, to serve as a deterrent. With this, the herdsmen can be traced and identified. They are not invisible. MACBAN should be friendly enough to help the government in solving the problem. Everyone’s life is endangered if nothing is done, quickly.
Nigeria’s borders are porous. Arms and ammunition are smuggled in along with foreigners. These foreigners from neighbouring nations such as Niger Republic, and Mali, perhaps, are the raging monsters behind the masks. Having porous borders makes a country prone to attacks as we have it now in our dear Nigeria. The suspected herdsmen use AK-47 rifles and other weapons. It is necessary to check this as a measure towards ending the security issue. The Ekiti State 2016 anti-grazing law is really effective in maintaining sanity among the herders. And they seem to be complying with law despite the hullabaloo and politically-based criticism. States being ravaged by the insurgents can take a step as done in Ekiti State in August, 2016. The nomads may not necessarily be lawless.
- Faboade writes in from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
BLOOD and tears flow like the river in Benue, Nassarawa, Enugu, Niger, Plateau, and the Niger Delta states as the armed and belligerent Fulani herdsmen ceaselessly unleash terror, maim, rape, threaten and kill unarmed Nigerians [...]Read Full Story