The Herdsmen And Present Danger To The Polity | Independent Newspapers Limited
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The Herdsmen And Present Danger To The Polity

Posted: May 1, 2016 at 4:23 am   /   by   /   comments (1)


Adegbenro Adebanjo


Can we for once as a people stop papering over cracks and give less prominence to the Saraki affair?  The budget imbroglio should also take a back seat while the monumental corruption and prosecution of those involved in the sleaze should also not make the cover pages and dominate discussion. These issues have become routine and do not directly threaten our existence as a people and the survival of our country. It is time to make the incessant attacks by suspected herdsmen against innocent and defenseless citizens and homestead across the country the main issue of National discourse.

This is the clear and present danger confronting the survival of our country directly and which could lead to ethnic and religious pogrom. The killings and destruction of lives and property being carried out in different parts of the country by suspected herdsmen have even been equated to genocide by some while others have described it as ethnic cleansing. The situation is that serious. The perpetrators have succeeded in spreading fear, pain and anguish across the land. More than this is the undeniable fact that the thread of solidarity wrought by the 2015 General election is being threatened and some would say is now at breaking point. Indeed there are already muted cry of ‘To your tents o compatriots’ in some of the hardest hit places and among their kith and kin within and outside the country. Long forgotten primordial sentiments and angst are being revived unwittingly by the sheer callousness of the invaders and their cruelty to their victims. The hitherto tentative response of the authorities to what is seen as a major crisis is also fueling the anger in the land.

What started as uncoordinated ambushes by suspected herdsmen has now graduated into full scale and well-coordinated extermination of lives and wanton destruction of property. Before they struck in Enugu the Ukpabi Nimbo Community elders alerted their government and security agencies to the impending invasion. They were given false assurances. And as usual they went to sleep. Nothing was done even after a National daily raised the alarm a day to D. Day. Then the invaders struck. They maimed. They raped. They Killed. And they burnt. Not stones but human beings and their property were the targets of the new set of evil minded criminals now stalking the land. Now we are all lamenting the killing of over 20 people in the most horrible fashion and the destruction of their homesteads.

Before Enugu the merchants of death had struck in Agatuland leaving a tale of sorrow, tears and blood behind. Other communities and individuals including elder statesmen like Olu Falae have tales of woe to tell about the rampaging   herdsmen suspected to be of Fulani extraction. Some have argued that if decisive action had been take when Agatuland was invaded and proper structures put in place to address the crisis, may be the Enugu massacre would not have taken place.

Of course this new war in Nigeria cannot be the handiwork of layabouts and miscreants   because of the scale of destruction, the target of the extermination, the sheer callousness and brutality displayed at the various theatre of war and the level of sophistication of the arms and ammunition at the disposal of the invaders and their underlining aim of seizing land for their cattle to graze. Now is the time for the Government at the Centre to act. There should be a concerted action that will put a stop to this menace and clear danger to national cohesion, peace and wellbeing. This is not the time for talk but action.

Therefore President Muhammadu Buhari’s  directive to the Chief of Defence Staff  and the Inspector General of Police to “secure all communities under attacks by herdsmen and to go after all the groups terrorizing innocent people all over the country “  should and must be carried out to the letter. The leaders of the country at various levels in their body language and deeds should stop this horror before it gets out of hands and those being attacked resort to self-help that may engender a worse national crisis bigger than the Boko Haram and the Civil War.

Those making Nigeria to totter and dance on the precipice must not be allowed to succeed in their evil agenda.

Adebanjo writes from Lagos

Comments (1)

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