Posted by News Express | 7 September 2016 | 1,924 times
“Man’s highest capacity is locatedin his intellect,
making him a rational animaland conferring upon him, the means by which
to attain the contemplation of God. – St Thomas Aquinas
I have just viewed a video on Facebook of some armed Fulani herdsmen breeding their cows right inside living premises of families in Enugu State.
This same state had seen two deadly violent attacks by the armed Fulani herdsmen with over 30 persons killed. The last attack happened only few metres away from Enugu Metropolis, resulting in the slaughter of a Catholic seminarian and scores of others, including a pregnant woman.
It is clear that in the last one year that President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, his kinsmen the Fulani herdsmen, have gone haywire and have continued their lawlessly coordinated violence against farmers all across Nigeria, with tacit support from some top military officials. I write this with all sense of trepidation, even as my previous intervention calling on the Western governments to speak out so President Muhammadu Buhari can order the military to crush the rising Fulani herders’ emerging terrorists was seen as a direct affront to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of Nigeria now who is the current President.
A highly-placed military officer was so disappointed with my 'audacity' to openly condemn Buhari’s inaction against Fulani herdsmen as a direct threat to his job to such an extent that I'm presently fearful for my own life. He, indeed, sent me a text condemning my audacious effort to call President Muhammadu Buhari to order.
The twin attacks on Enugu State has made lots of people to ask probing questions, as to why the Government of Enugu has yet to put in place effective community armed protection programmes to prevent future occurrence of these deadly and bloody Fulani attacks. I, too,has on many occasions directly confronted Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on his slow action in protecting his people.
The first (major) attack by Fulani herdsmen was in Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, in which the entire community was set ablaze. The second attack was even more daring. But despite the large-scale destruction of life and property, neither President Buhari nor the Armed Forces and Police had done anything to fish out the masterminds. The police Commissioner in Enugu, who reportedly got the intelligence prior to the first attack and did nothing, was simply transferred to another beat and replaced. But, he was never punished for failing to stop the violence, even after the governor reportedly released money to serve as logistical assistance to the security operatives for the specific purpose of scuttling that first bloody attack by armed Fulani herdsmen. But, shockingly, apart from the commission of inquiry - a quasi judicial panel that is sitting to generate evidence against persons responsible for the first attack - the Enugu State House of Assembly has not thought it wise to make a law bringing into being an armed community security network similar to the Civilian-JTF or civilian joint task force, which became useful in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east. That the current administration allowed the Army to integrate some of these Civilian-JTF members into the Nigeria Army during the last recruitment exercise shows that the Nigerian State is pleased with their contribution towards security and stability of Nigeria.
This should serve as a motivation for Enugu and the entire South-east of Nigeria to put in place a similar community security network to check the excesses of armed Fulani herdsmen. The decision by the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, to sign into law the ban on armed Fulani herdsmen’s activities in his domain is a patriotic move to protect his people from the bloody killings being spread in the name of jihad by these armed Fulani herdsmen supported, tacitly, by the current political power in Abuja. This seeming lack of political will by President Buhari to tackle the scourge of armed Fulani attacks all over Nigeria is the greatest act of man's inhumanity to man, which is absolutely condemnable. It is reprehensible and unconstitutional. Sad enough, the National Assembly is equally asleep. The Civil Society groups are asleep. The religious bodies are chasing after material wealth for their leaders, so they pay no heed to the atrocious violence unleashed intermittently by armed Fulani herdsmen. This is crude.
These scenarios currently playing out in Nigeria constitute what philosophers call the state of crude nature whereby might is right.
The best known philosopher who introduced a re-modified version of the famous phrase ‘Homo homini lupus’ (man is wolf unto man) is Thomas Hobbes (1588 to 1679). In the commentary of Enoch Samuel Stumpf on the Hobbesian Social Contract Theory, he said that Hobbes described men, first of all, as they appear in what he called the state of nature, which is the condition of men before there is any state or civil society. In this state of nature, all men are equal and equally have the right to whatever they consider necessary for their survival. Equality here means simply that anyone is capable of hurting his neighbour and taking what he judges, he needs for his own protection. Difference in strength can in time be overcome and the weak can destroy the strong. The right of all to all which prevails in the state of nature does not mean that one man has a right, whereas others have corresponding duties. The right in the bare state of nature is man’s freedom to do what he would and against whom he thought fit, and to possess, use and enjoy all that we would, or could set his hands on. The driving force in man is the will to survive, and the physiological mood pervading all men is fear: the fear of death and, particularly, the fear of violent death. In the state of nature, all men are relentlessly pursuing whatever acts they think will secure their safety. The picture one gets of this state of nature is of men moving against each other, bodies in motion or the anarchic condition Hobbes called it ‘the war of all against all.’
The need for comprehensive re-appraisal of this Hobbesian trend of thought is necessitated by the need to remind my readers that this state of nature is now the order of the day in most countries of the world, especially in the President Buhari-led Nigeria now.
Unfolding events in the global community and Nigeria, such as the rampage by Fulani herdsmen against farming communities, rising cost of living due to lack of proper economic policy direction by this government, high rate of social evils and the increasing level of civil unrest and wars in most countries go to show that the Hobbesian state of nature has not ceased to exist. The history of Nigeria, and most parts of the world, is replete with widespread cases of genocide, armed robberies, unemployment and human rights violation in such a massive scale that one would think Thomas Hobbes simply scratched the surface of the issues in his profound philosophical thoughts.
This is apparently a triumph of evil over good. Will Nigerians simply sit back, keep quiet, do nothing and allow the current rape of their daughters and sisters and mothers by armed Fulani herdsmen, and the killings continue in their own ancestral homelands by the terrorists, who migrated from the far north, even as the current government maintains conspiratorial silence? Will the civil society, religious and faith-based organisations maintain silence while these atrocious acts of man's inhumanity to man go on in parts of Nigeria? Will the United Nations and the global leaders simply overlook what is going on in Nigeria because these are local fights? Are there still human beings with humanity in Nigeria?
I am writing to remind man that he is a free being who is created in the image of God. And since God is infinitely good, man should strive at all cost to elevate the virtues of goodness, mercy and love. We must stop the massive rape of man’s goodness. Those who have voices should continue to speak out from all corners of the Earth, in rejection of these killings going on in Nigeria and around the world. Those who think liberalising ownership of guns as a means to self-preservation should raise the tempo of their advocacy so concrete actions are adopted to save humanity from being wiped out by brutes in the name of armed Fulani marauders. The time to take action and demand real action to stop the killings is now.
•RIGHTSVIEW appears on Wednesdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, a popular activist, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). He can be reached via 08033327672 (sms only) or via firstname.lastname@example.org
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