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Enugu Attacks: Do we have brains?

By News Express on 21/09/2016

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In his classic titled You Have A Brain, the American renowned brain surgeon and one-time presidential candidate of the Republican Party, Dr Ben Carson, went about providing the world with what he rightly termed A Teen’s Guide To T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G.

This exceptionally brilliant medical surgeon and prolific writer made a confession in that beautiful book: that he thought he was brainless and meaningless, not until his mother made him to understand that even amidst bullying from school mates and the constant harassment of his peers, he indeed has brain to think big.

His words: “When I was a child, I did not think that my brain was capable of doing much of anything. My classmates considered me the class dummy, and I saw no reason to debate their conclusion. My mother however, always believed in me. She knew I had a brain and she was convinced that brain could be my ticket to a bigger, better world, beyond our tiny home and life on the big city streets of Detroit. And she was right.”

A philosophical impression that these thoughts brings is that a rational being created by the uncreated Force (God) has the potentials to rise from the ashes of self-inflicted stupidity to become internationally-acclaimed and successful.

Ben Carson’s book brings us to the pertinent question that has confronted this writer since the advent of the rampaging violent attacks by armed Fulani thugs.

These mass murderers in the garb of Fulani herdsmen have in the last couple of years waged relentless but brutal violence against farming communities all across the country.

To add salt to injury, these Fulani herdsmen have operated with renewed and reinvigorated gusto and tempo in these ferocious attacks since Muhammadu Buhari, a fellow Fulani by tribe, emerged last year as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These armed Fulani herdsmen have almost overran Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna state; and have now taken their blood-cuddling violence farther to the southern states amongst which are Enugu and Delta. Yet, the armed security forces do nothing but watch as these communities are turned into rivers of blood and agonies. Maybe, the Nigerian armed forces think Nigerians without force of arms are morons without brains. The Enugu scenarios immediately come into mind, because of the clear lack of political will on the part of the nation’s security forces to tackle these menacingly frightening attacks.

The success and rapidity of these attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen against communities in the South-eastern State of Enugu and the fact that the security forces are always caught napping brings into greater focus, the question of whether Nigerians, indeed, have brains. Ever imagined that before the first armed Fulani invasion of Nibo community in Enugu State few months back, the then Police Commissioner of the State, Mr Nwodibo Ekechukwu, reportedly informed the Enugu State Security Council headed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi that his men have received accurate intelligence that plotters of the invasion of Nibo community would launch their attack from Kogi State, and that the precise position has been decoded. As a result, he was said to have been heavily mobilised with the needed logistics by the governor, which in Nigeria means money, to mobilise his men and operatives to prevent the attacks from ever happening. But, what did the police officer do? Practically nothing! He simply went to bed and did nothing.

On the exact date the intelligence report indicated that the armed Fulani invaders  would attack, they came and unleashed their venoms, killing scores of unarmed and innocent villagers, predictably. 

 The Nigeria Police and operatives of other members of the security forces stayed away from the vicinity of the attack until the evil intentions of the armed Fulani marauders had been completed.After the killings, soldiers were quickly drafted around Enugu to protect the Fulani attackers from reprisals

I ask: Do we have brains? 

While this question begs for an answer, in no time another batch of armed Fulani attackers struck in another Enugu community. This second vicious violent attack by armed Fulani herdsmen took place within Enugu Metropolis, few metres away from the Office of the Enugu State Governor and even nearer to the Headquarters of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army. Now, a division of the armed forces in the Nigerian context is made up of thousands of well-trained and armed soldiers.

Another searching question: How come armed Fulani herdsmen-attackers were never caught, even when they struck next door to the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army? Who gave them the sophisticated guns they used? 

In the second of these deadly attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen, the security forces perfectly went to bed while the attacks that claimed many lives in Attakwu town lasted and, as I write, there is yet no scientific and evidence-based clue as to where the killers are.

The Nigeria Police Force - which the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015, gives the fundamental duty of preventing such callous crimes from ever happening in the first place - was again caught napping. Part 4 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 is devoted to what the drafters of the law calls “prevention of offence and security for good behaviour.”

Article 50 (1) of the Act says: “A Police Officer may intervene for the purpose of preventing, and shall to the best of his ability prevent the commission of and offence.” In the hierarchical orders of human rights, the inherent right to life is sacrosanct in compliance with global best practices, international humanitarian laws and chapter four of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly in Section 33 (1). Section 33 (1) of the Constitution says: “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life.” Are Enugu people's lives so cheap? The offence of murder comes with a heavy prize, such as the capital conviction of death by firing squad under our laws and statutes. But persons masquerading as herdsmen have continued to spread their satanic tentacles all around Nigeria, while the Government of President Buhari just stand by, and the rest of us are watching like people without brains. 

The saddest thing is that religious and ethnic warlords are busy debating the identities of these mass-murderers, even when the hand-writing on the walls are very clear: the perpetrators are armed Nigerian Fulani herdsmen who, indeed, usually tell their host communities that they would visit violence on them for failing to let the herders destroy the crops in the farms of these villagers.

For instance, the two attacks in Enugu were allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen who set up settlements in the bushes around the affected communities: the irrational reason for the attacks is the same as I have mentioned above. 

In Godogodo, south of Kaduna State, many villagers have been killed by armed Fulani herdsmen. A spokesman of Miyetti Allah Society- the umbrella Fulani body   - told the press that attacks were revenge missions for the killing of a Fulani traditional ruler. Nigeria has become so lawless that persons simply arm themselves, pick and choose their targets, and execute their deadly plans. The next day, government comes up with the brainless idea of a so-called dialogue. And the killers whose filthy hands are soaked deeply in the blood of fallen compatriots are allowed to move around unmolested, as if some persons are sacred cows. 

How on earth would some-one as educated and exposed as the Sultan of Sokoto say that foreign herders were behind the various attacks, when the victims of such vicious attacks have clearer picture of who the attackers were? What kind of crass insensitivity is this? Are we so brainless that we keep tolerating these genocidal killings, only to engage in some form of semantic debates that debases our humanity and rationality?

The question still remains: If indeed we have brains, why are we not doing something to stop the armed Fulani attackers, and use lawful means to bring the perpetrators to justice? This question is necessary today because the press is again filled with stories of planned armed Fulani attacks in the same Enugu State. And with the benefit of hindsight, the security forces are either compromised or are so incompetent to stop the attacks whenever these satanic forces decide to inflict their blood-cuddling violence for the umpteenth time. Worst still, no security chief would be punished for dereliction of duty, and life will continue as if the dead were not once part of the living.

Right now, there are two contradictory reports from Enugu. One of it emanated from the security forces, saying no attack would be allowed. But from the Enugu State House of Assembly, members who live among their people are warning that armed Fulani herdsmen have threatened to attack.

In the first of the two contradictory stories, the security agencies in the state - comprising the Police, the Army and the Department State Services (SSS) - have assured the governor and the people of Aku community in Igbo–Etiti Local Government Area, that the security of lives and property in the area will be guaranteed. The assurance, which came on the heels of a rumoured planned attack on the community following an alleged report of clash between the community and some herdsmen, was given by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Igbo-Etiti Police division, Ifeanyi Nwoye, when the governor visited the community. Nwoye said the security agencies were fully on ground in the area and mobilised to protect lives and property of the people, allaying fears of any planned attack on the community. Ugwuanyi was in the community after he received a distress call from a priest and Principal of St James’ Boys Secondary School, Aku, Rev Father Patrick Ujah, over the rumoured planned attack. The principal, who received the governor at the school, commended him for his prompt response to his call, saying the gesture was an indication that he is a responsive leader who cares for his people. Addressing the gathering, security agencies urged the people not to panic over the rumour and go about their lawful businesses, stressing that they were on top of the situation.

“The people should not panic. You all have our phone numbers and should reach us if there is any suspicious activity or movement by any person or group of persons,” the DPO said. On his part, the governor charged the security personnel in the area to be committed to their promise to secure the area even as he appealed to the people to remain law-abiding and cooperate with the security agencies, to ensure peace and harmony in the area.

However, the member representing Awgu North Constituency at the State House of Assembly, Hon Sunday Ude-Okoye, has cried out to well-meaning Nigerians to come to save people of Enugu State from Fulani herdsmen in their systemic plan to wipe them out.

He said since security agencies that should protect the people always side the herdsmen whenever they attacked host communities, “We have no option than to beckon (fellow) Nigerians to help us.” Ude-Okoye who recently made the plea on the floor of the House, was reacting to recent attack carried out on Attakwu-Akegbe, Nkanu West Local Government Area of the state, in which a catholic seminarian and a woman were murdered and three others seriously injured. The lawmaker - who cast his mind back to the mayhem carried out on Ukpabi-Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the state - lamented that the herdsmen have threatened to attack another community, Aku, in Igbo-Etiti Local Government.

Worried that if nothing is done and, urgently too, the state is under threat of extinction. He pleaded with Nigerians to “come and help us.”

“I wish to condemn an act that has been going on by the Fulani. I wish to stand here to condemn it. Let other Nigerians help us, since the Nigeria Police cannot protect us but rather protect the Fulani. There is no reason why they, the Fulani herdsmen, should come to our place to kill us,” he lamented and opined that God would hear the cry of Enugu people some day.

Ude-Okoye who was sore displeased with what the Fulani herdsmen have been doing in the state in recent times – raping women, destroying farmlands, kidnapping and armed robbery, among other things - called on all and sundry to come and help the helpless people of Enugu State before a more heinous act would be carried out.

Speaker of the House, Hon Edward Uchenna Ubosi, who welcomed members after over a month recess, presented to the legislators the new Clerk of the House, Dr Emmanuel Udeagha, a lawyer, who replaced the former Clerk, Mr Christopher Chukwurah. Ubosi thanked the acting clerk, Nebo, who held forte after the retirement of Chukwurah, for the able way he performed. The Speaker promised to put smiles on the staff of the assembly in appreciation for how they have been a help to smooth-working of the legislature.

You can see a Speaker of a state legislature who seems lost as to how to respond to the distress calls of his people, but is more interested in the banality of welcoming the new clerk. Do these legislators in Enugu State have brains? My next question is to the Enugu State House of Assembly. It goes thus: Do you have brains?

If members of the Enugu State House of Assembly indeed have brains, as Dr Carson wants us to believe, why then wouldn’t they pass a law to bring into being effective community vigilante guards to be drafted and equipped to secure their villages and towns, to complement the police and armed forces, whose loyalty to their constitutional duty is questionable? 

In part two of the Constitution, section 4(7) “the house of Assembly of a State shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the State or any part thereof.”

Once more let me use the mass media to appeal to Governor Ugwuanyi and stakeholders in Enugu to, please, set up functional Civilian-JTF to protect the communities. Enough of these attacks! 

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 doziebiko@yahoo.com

Source News Express

Posted 21/09/2016 9:42:15 PM

 

 

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