AHEAD 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS: Nigerians worry about spate of insecurity


by Oscar Nwogu

The sorry state of insecurity in Nigeria has become a thing of worry for most Nigerian as the country moves closer for the 2019 General election.

The level of insecurity and threat to life and property of Nigerians have never witnessed such apprehension and fear since independence about 58 years ago.

Chief among the spate of insecurity that has seen Nigerians living on a keg of gun-power which might explode before the 2019 election is the issue of herdsmen and farmer clashes and agitations by various ethnic groups across the country rising from deep feelings of marginalization, mistrust and nepotism by the authorities.

This case of insecurity in the country has drawn the ire of many eminent persons, groups, concerned citizens and the international community who have expressed worry over government non-committal posture to various security infractions across the country.

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo in his letter to the President, Muhammadu Buhari pointed out that the President appears to have abdicated his constitutional responsibilities to protect the lives and property of the Nigerian citizens by allowing the marauding Fulani herdsmen to get away with the heinous crime of inflicting untold pains and death on harpless farmers in Benue state and other states of the country.

Obasanjo had slammed President Buhari for turning a blind eye to corruption within his government, saying, it amounted to condonation and cover up of misdeeds by his cronies and his tribes men.

He also berated Buhari for allowing clashes between farmers and herdsmen to go sour and messy, saying the endorsement of the president for a second term of office by some governors barely 24 hours after 73 people who were killed in Benue State by herdsmen were given mass burial was a sad symptoms of ‘insensitiveness and callousness’

Obasanjo argued that the country is sliding under his watch and advised him not to seek re-election in 2019 to save the country from imminent crises.

The former president also noted that tribalism, nepotism and religious bigotry seem to have returned in the way and manner appointments are made at the Federal level at the detriment of federal character as enshrined in the constitution.

General Ibrahim Babangida former Military President equally wrote to President Buhari, urging him not to run for election in 2019 to save the country from sliding further. He also noted that government business has been reduced to family business coated with tribal and parochial sentiments.

There is so much insecurity in the land and Nigerians are worried because of government’s lethargic attitude towards fishing out the perpetuators and brings them to justice.

In Rivers State, a few minutes after the new year was ushered, gunmen went to Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Areas of the state on a shooting spree and killed not less than 14 persons said to be returning from their various places of worship. About the same time, scores of gunmen also invaded Drak Village in Sango Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing the traditional ruler Dr. Gambo Makama and his pregnant wife. In Ilorin, Kwara State, the story is the same as several persons were injured following attacks on Christian and Muslim worshippers who were marking the New Year.

Perhaps, the most bestial of these violent acts were those that drew both the ire and tears of the Benue State Governor, Mr. Samuel Orthom. Some suspected herdsmen had on New Year eve, invaded five communities in Benue State killing no fewer than 20 of the villagers who were returning from New Year eve. Not long after, the herdsmen struck again killing over 73 people. The Benue killings which has continued in what appears a premeditated genocide has continued to breed reprisal attack and endless spiral bloodletting. The authorities must see these tragedies as a challenges not only to our corporate existence, but also for the future of the country that is fast becoming a killing field.

Perhaps, aside the 30 months old Nigeria civil war that consumed the lives of over 2 million people, Nigeria has never been so threatened by security challenges as it is today. This culture of impunity persists because the authorities and security agencies have not explored the political will to apprehend and try the perpetrators of this violence with a view of bringing them to justice.

The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB have also lambasted the President Buhari led Federal Government for allegedly condoning the murderous tendencies of the Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgents. The pro Biafra Group said the deployment of Fulani soldiers to Benue State was to “hoodwink the masses” into thinking that the government is serious about fighting the crises. It could be recalled that over 70 people were murdered in a Benue Community by Fulani herdsmen in January, 2018.

Emma Powerful, the group’s spokesperson in a statement said the deployment of troops to Benue State is “not real”, rather it was a smokescreen to protect herdsmen and not the people of Benue State. The statement reads, “The deployment of troops to beleaguered Benue Community is a fraud designed to hoodwink the masses into thinking that that the Buhari administration is serious about fighting the menace of Fulani herdsmen which they created through their policy of acquiescence and appeasement.

Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekeweremadu also criticized the Buhari administration, saying its policies have caused the emergence, of many agitating groups such as the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB, Niger Delta Avengers and many others.

Ekweremadu spoke at a lecture titled African Politics: The Dynamics and Lesson” delivered at the House of Commons, parliament of the United Kingdom recently.

“Contrary to the oaths what we see is blatant nepotism, cronyson and tribalism. The ethnic group of the president are mostly favoured in appointments, opportunities and provision of infrastructure, he said.

“In Nigeria, Section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution tries to guarantee equity and justice for all, given the nations vastness, plurality and history vide the federal character principle, but no Igbo man or woman is considered fit by the present administration in Nigeria to head any of the security agencies, including paramilitary agencies, even through Igbos remain one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria.

“This has given rise to the feelings of alienation, mistrust and agitations as championed by several pro-Biafra groups, South South and Middle Belt agitators”, he said.

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, said the British government is engaging the Federal and state governments of Nigeria over the herdsmen killings. This was in response to a protest letter from Mutual Union of TIV in the United Kingdom submitted to her over the killings in Benue State where 73 people were given mass burial. Prime Minister was quoted in the letter as saying. “We express our concerns about these issues and encourage the government to work with the affected populations to develop a solution that meets the needs of all the communities affected.

“The British government is concerned about the issue of unprovoked attacks and killings by Fulani herdsmen in Benue and some states and we are engaging the Nigeria government to find solution to these killings.

Salome Biam, the Publicity Secretary of MUTUK said that his union had requested the British government to consider intervening in the alleged systematic ethnic cleansing against their people and other tribes in Nigeria.

They also requested the British government to compel the federal government to take necessary steps to identify and disarm the Fulani Herder.

A group of Christians in the North, under the aegis of Christians and Indigenous Pastors Association has called on Nigerians to rescue the country from the grip of President Muhamadu Buhari’s bad leadership.

Luke Shehu, the President of ACIPA had told journalists during a press conference in Jos that the demand has become necessary because “Buhari was “nepotistic” while the Nigeria ethnic nationalities and particularly Northern Christians are under siege”

According to Shehu, “It has been observed that the Buhari administration has failed in its constitutional responsibility to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. He gave example with the abduction of 110 students of Government Girls Secondary Technical College, Dapachi, Yobe State on Monday, February 19, by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents recently.

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, told reporters in Damaturus, the state Capital, that out of 906 students in school on the day of the attack, 110 students have not been accounted for since the attack. He said security agencies are synergizing to ensure the rescue of every student abducted.

The abduction of the Dapchi Girls came in the heels of over 200 students abducted from Girls Secondary School Chibok in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents in April, 2014, most of whom are still missing till this moment despite government claims that the dreaded Boko Haram Group have been decimated and “technically defeated”.

The Minister reiterated that the insurgents were being contemned and are now looking for soft targets.

“Government will remain focuses in resolute in the fight against insurgency to resolute in the fight against insurgency to rescue the students and every Nigerian in their custody; Mohammed said.

But the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has charged the Buhari led APC government to stop shedding crocodile tears and instead provide answers to urgent questions surrounding the recent abduction of the school girls in Dapchi Yobe State.

Kola Ologbondiyami, the National Publicity Secretary of the party in a statement, said the Buhari presidency has a lot of questions to answer regarding the alleged complicity of security agencies  around the area coupled with misleading reports that frustrated immediate rescue of the abducted girls.

The state governor Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam had revealed that the abduction of the girls was preceded by withdrawal of troops around Dapchi, thereby rendering the area defenseless and paving the way for insurgents to attack and abduct the girls.

Not long ago, following the devastating herdmen killing in Benue and Taraba States, the Inspector General of Police, IGP blamed the killing on the anti grazing laws signed in those states. Unfortunately, one did not need to have a record of all the herdsmen attack in Benue state dating as far back as 2010 to agree that the IGP was not fair in his assessment. Even the Agatu herdsmen attack that caught global attention occurred long before the grazing law came into being.

About three weeks ago, the massacre shifted to Zamfara State where the governor Yari is an ardent from fan of Buhari and one of the seven APC governors that recently endorsed him for a second term.

Expressing his disappointment over the herdsmen attack, governor Yari said “whatever was humanly possible to have done, we as a government have done to mitigate this disaster. But it appears the security agencies are failing in their responsibilities.

“I feel let down facing the people of this state whenever I remember the promise I made to them that if they elected Buhari into power all the killings would end. Unfortunately, they are getting worse” governor Gaidam regrettably said.

Speaking on the state of insecurity in Bishop in the country and the administration of President Buhari Bishop Charles Igele, of the Holy Spirit Mission noted that the killings in Nigeria are not limited to herdsmen.

“If you look at the East, the West and the North, you will see that there are killings everywhere. We know that may Nigerians have been killed by kidnappers and armed men. We are in s state of insecurity with Blood flowing everywhere.

“The supposed herdsmen are been backed by powerful forces. If this things is not arrested it will consume everybody including the herdsmen themselves and the government”, Bishop Igele added.

He noted that while growing up as a child, these herdsmen were armed with bows and arrows to protect their cows from wide animals. The questions is who is arming these herdsmen with sophisticated weapons that cost a fortune and what do they plan to gain?

Elder statesman, Chief Ayo Adebanyo blamed Buhari for the state of insecurity in the country saying that the president has lost integrity. He accused the president who has through his body language aided and abetted the Fulani Herdsmen who have caused so much mayhem and insecurity across the country.

“I don’t hide my feelings about it, I am not deceived by all those cosmetic arrangements that the policemen, IGP, should go the to troubled areas and remain there. Sometimes, I feel really insulated by the way Buhari, the Police and the Federal Government are playing on the intelligence of the Nigerian Police.

These people kidnapped Chief Olu Falae. His farm was burnt also three times. One of his watchmen was killed, not a word came from Buhari. Then the killings spread to Agatu, Benue State, Enugu State and all over the country, climaxing in the new year’s days killings in Benue State. It was when the whole world was condemning the killings that Buhari decided it was time to speak. The IGP who is the Chief Security Officer of the State reacted by saying that it was the people that blocked their (herdsmen) grazing routes that caused the killings that is the language of the Chief Security Officer who is supposed to prevent and punish crime.

Continuing, the Elder Stateman noted that since three years ago, that Buhari came into office, there is no part of the country that has not been ravaged by Fulani Herdsmen’s, there have been kidnapping, rape and killings across the country. If they have arrested and punish people after the Southern Kaduna Slaughter, the Herdsmen would not have the courage to hold the entire country to ransom. There are rearing their cattle with AK47 because they know they have the backing of those in authority.

“They shouldn’t deceive us, how many people does Buhari want to be killed before he takes action; 800 in Southern Kaduna, about 200 in Agatu, 73 in another part of Benue, some in Enugu, Ondo, Kwara, Yewa (Ogun State), Nasarwa, Zamfara, Plateau etc, all over the country. Yet he is pretending that nothing is happening” Chief Adebanjo concluded.

It appears those in authority and security agencies are playing politics with the security situation in the country. Thus government spokespersons are quick to claim that Boko Haram insurgents have been decimated, degraded and technically defeated, evens of the recent pass point to the contrary as the insurgent have reappeared to strike at their soft targets, leaving tears and blood in its weeks. The case of Dapchi Girls Technical College, Yobe State where Boko Haram abducted 110 girls on February 19 is fresh in mind. Up to the time of this report, the girls are yet to be rescued.

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