Armed Fulani Herdsmen: Limits of presidential impunity

Posted by News Express | 18 April 2018 | 1,253 times

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I watched with considerable trepidation and anxiety as my President, who is vacationing in London, United Kingdom, held a conversation with the leader of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, around the issues of the pre-meditated mass murder by armed Fulani herdsmen, targeting rural Christian farmers. President Muhammadu Buhari showed no remorse or sympathy with the thousands of the victims cut down in their prime, but was smoking with hot air around some make-belief and hearsay propositions.

My fear and anxiety later turned into astonishment and disappointment when – against every shed of empirical evidence to the contrary - my President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria Armed Forces blamed a dead man, the erstwhile Libyan leader, Colonel Muamar Gadaffi, for the upsurge in targeted genocides by armed Fulani herdsmen all around Nigeria. See how long Gaddafi had been slaughtered by Libyan rebels trained and armed by Europe and America.

The claim made by President Buhari is a sharp departure from some of the things he and his affiliates in the Presidency have always told Nigerians on the remote and immediate causes of the armed insurrection against land-owners and farmers by armed Fulani herdsmen. It contradicts his illegal initiative to colonise people’s land for the purpose of using public fund to set up cattle colonies. Was he planning to set up cattle colonies to resettle the so-called Libya-trained mass murderers, or what?

For example, in the wake of the mass-killings by armed Fulani herdsmen in Benue State of over 100 farmers, who were given state public burial by Benue State Government, President Buhari told the visiting community and political leaders from Benue who had thronged the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja that “they should learn to accommodate their neighbours.” Who are these neighbours, going by the most recent hypothesis of Buhari who introduced the illogical Gaddafi narrative?

The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim K Idris – who clearly has demonstrated high-level incompetence and inability to tackle the rising rate of vicious attacks by hoodlums targeting civilians - had blamed what he called “Communal Conflicts” for the killings in Benue State. Who are these communities fighting, if we go by Buhari’s tale by moonlight on the Libyan nexus?

A different narrative had earlier been introduced by the Minister of Defence, a retired Major-General from Zamfara State, when he shifted the blame for the phenomenal bloody violence in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kogi states to what he termed “the blocking of cattle-grazing routes by some states.” Who are grazing these cattle that found out that their traditional grazing routes are blocked, if we go by Buhari's sensational claim on the Libyan connection?

Buhari himself has prevaricated and has engaged in a multiplicity of narratives around the disturbing issues of armed Fulani attacks. His only consistency in the entire scenario is his inconsistency. Each time he is addressing foreign audiences in the West, he has attempted to market Gaddafi’s narrative as the cause of the heightened state of insecurity in Nigeria. But at home, he oscillates between blaming foreign mercenaries to the illogicality of the blockade of grazing routes.

For one arm of the intelligence gathering agencies – Department of State Services (DSS) also headed by Buhari's Fulani kinsman – the main perpetrators of the killings are not Fulani herdsmen original to Nigeria, but foreign fighters and terrorists affiliated to the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS), that has already been defeated by the coalition forces headed by the United States.

It would, therefore, seem that Nigeria – under the current political leadership with a preponderance of Fulani/Hausa heads of all the internal security agencies – does not have a harmonised theory about who is behind the ongoing attacks targeting largely Christian farmers in the North-central and Southern Kaduna axis. Given the foregoing, it can be stated that so long as there is a deliberate policy of confusion among security chiefs, including President Buhari – in the vexed issue of armed Fulani killings – it goes to show that there is no political will to tackle these crises and prosecute the sponsors and perpetrators of the large scale killings.

The angle of blaming the late Libyan leader is one of the greatest fallacies of modern day history. It is a highly annoying falsehood.

It is a big fallacy for President Buhari to blame Gaddafi for training the armed Fulani killers; because, first and foremost, Gaddafi in his imperial majesty just before the West conspired to sponsor rebellion against his government to achieve their selfish regime change agenda –headed one of the most organised and fastest-developing nations in the World. Libyans, under Gaddafi, had no reason to form internal rebellion. Libyans enjoyed a high level of comfort: all adults were granted housing rightsFamilies had access to quality education and free maternal health-care. The Libyan economy was superb.

•RIGHTSVIEW appears on Wednesdays and Saturdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, a popular activist (www.huriwanigeria.com, www.emmanuelonwubiko.com), is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)


Source: News Express

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