On January 1 this year, Nigerians who were basking in the euphoria of a peaceful poverty stricken yuletide celebration, anticipating a benevolent and clement year, woke up to be saluted with the most horrendous, horrifying new wave of mass massacre of their fellow beings in various parts of the country that is guarded and protected by myriads of well paid security personnel, it was a sort of ethnic cleansing or genocide of the TIVs in their ancestral homeland of Gomu and Logo local governments where over 73 persons were eliminated. Then in Omoku, Rivers state of South South Region, over 18 persons were gruesomely murdered while in Kaduna state, a Royal father and his wife were slaughtered in the most bizarre manner.
Instead of addressing this gruesome situation, Nigerian leaders were busy passing the buck on who or what was responsible for the horrifying atmosphere which has displaced several thousands of Nigerians making them refugees in their homelands. At the same period, the eleven year old insurrection of insurgency in the North East has escalated that the Federal authorities were alleged to have acquired five new military aircrafts, to fight the Boko Haram.
The authorities have been trading words without action as some quarters allude to the Benue killing and the North East insurgency as a continuation of the Jihad of the late Danfodio war of conguest and expansion which began some centuries ago, that left the Kanem Bornu Empire unconquered.
Abuja seems to be unconcerned about the plight of farmers in some parts of the country; Kogi, Nassarawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Oyo where armed cattle rearers have formed themselves into an invading force taking over the peoples farmlands, carting away their women and raping their girls, while murdering the men without challenge or blame for their actions. The authorities and leaders of the Fulani herdsmen are asking for grazing lands or, recently ranching colonies without considering the fate of the original or traditional inhabitants of these geographical areas whose natural inheritance are being trampled.
We had previously in this column “what is the value of human life”. On 15th January, every year, we celebrate armed forces Remembrance Day, yet how many of these dead service men’s surviving families are cared for. In most countries of the world, life of every single national is of prime importance hence the security and wellbeing of the citizens are taken up by their governments at home or abroad. If the loss of lives of 18 mortals in Rivers or nearly 100 human beings in Benue could not move the seat from Abuja to the scene of incidence, then there is more to it than the eye can see. If the federal authorities can draft armed soldiers to the South East to quell protesting or agitating armless, harmless men, why promising to send policemen to ensure “protection for massacred and displaced nationals”. There are enough reasons to speculate that these massacres are pre-planned and home meditated actions to force people to surrender their natural inheritances. Who is more important in value? Tthe Nigerian or his cattle and land – choose.
The federal authorities should come to terms with the fact that, no single ethnic group, religious group or class owns this country. The nation belongs to all of us and we ought not to practice class distinction, ethnic division or religious separatism. It is for these traits that there was authentic pressure for restructuring to provide a safe haven for every Nigeria and infuse, in the nationalist, the spirit of patriotism and unity in diversity, in a nation where the life of every citizen is important.
There are speculations and unconfirmed reports that these killer herdsmen are not mainly Nigerians but a fraction of international terrorist groups whose activities need to be curbed or checkmated if we have the interest of our citizens at heart.
If we continue to allow this mayhem to continue, we may elicit an unending ethnic war, no matter how much we pretend and no matter who the victor shall be, as no amount of arsenal shall subdue the will of a determined people. It is high time we told ourselves the truth and accept that the earth is wide enough to accommodate the herdsmen, the farmers, the merchants, the slaves and those that were born to rule.