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Bloodbath on the Plateau

Bloodbath on the Plateau
June 26
13:53 2018
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Our president never disappoints. But it’s high time we reminded him that he swore on oath to protect lives and properties. Perhaps he has forgotten that he was not elected to enjoy the appurtenances of office alone, but to lead and lead decisively. Burying his head in the sand like an ostrich and speaking platitudes cannot make the country’s security challenges go away, just as he must have discovered now that criminal elements don’t respect his numerous “I have ordered” after every clash.

What happened over the weekend in Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos South local government areas diminished all of us as Nigerians, but we must not allow the army of Buhari-can-do-no-wrong supporters pull wool over our eyes by not laying the blame squarely at the president’s doorpost. None of us appointed the security chiefs currently serving, just as we have not been charged with protection of lives and securing our borders. Buhari’s narrative keeps changing over the herdsmen-farmers clashes in the country, first it was the argument that farmers must accommodate herdsmen as they’re all brothers, before it became mercenaries from Libya are the ones causing the problem. The new reason now is that politicians are sponsoring these attacks to discredit the Buhari government.

How pathetic can people in government get? More painful for me is that an otherwise respectable professional and gentleman like Garba Shehu can lend his name to such a statement, truly there must be something in Aso Rock that changes occupants. And that is why the president’s reaction is usually predictable, whenever it involves farmers and herdsmen, nothing, absolutely nothing, moves him. Not the scale of horror or the number of casualties even when we are not formally at war and we keep losing citizens at a rate faster than even war torn countries, nothing decisive will come from our president. Interestingly, unlike other times, he was aware of the latest attacks and did the usual. Part of that is sending the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, as such visit is beneath the president.

We have lost nearly over 200 citizens, and the president’s main duty on Monday was receiving delegations of Sharia scholars and Niger Delta leaders even when he deemed it fit to visit Bauchi over windstorm and after fire gutted a large portion of Azare central market in Katagum local government area. Maybe he will go to Plateau later but as at now only the vice will suffice and Osinbajo continued his usual mission of cleaning whenever the Buhari government messed up. Osinbajo went to sermonize as usual, well he’s both a pastor and professor, pontification and preaching are his forte. Platitudes, and more platitudes, which, as usual, will not lead to arrests and convictions.

So, what do we do? We cannot surrender and fold our arms in supplication to God as some of our compatriots are doing, beseeching God to do what we have the capacity to do. First, our security chiefs need to find other jobs as they’ve proven beyond reasonable doubt that they are not only incompetent, but also complicit in the killings. By the way, we must admit that what happened in Plateau State is genocide, just as the perpetrators are terrorists, they’ve got no other name. We need to call this what it is, this is a deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group as a dictionary defines genocide. The president and his government must stop applying Band Aid on terrible sores and go after the attackers, whether politicians or members of Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) who actually have gone on record claiming responsibility for the latest killings.

We must all remember the words of General Theophilus Danjuma who warned citizens not to depend on security agents, as they cannot offer any form of protection. Those who lampooned him must surely know better now or what evidence do we need about security agents’ complicity when an attack lasted for over seven hours without any form of help? What about intelligence gathering? How come our State Security Service and other intelligence operators could not ferret out the attack before it happened? How were the massive arms used in the killings moved? It is apparent the government failed citizens of Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos South offering them no protection in their time of need.

Let’s also spare a thought for Governor Simon Bako Lalong who is at the helm of affairs in Plateau. He, in January, blasted Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State for introducing an ant-grazing law claiming that it was responsible for the herdsmen killings in Benue. We should also ask if his state has such law that has made it a theatre of war. That is instructive for the rest of us, it was Plateau over the weekend and if we pretended that nothing is amiss, only the future will tell.

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