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Herdsmen attacks: It should never be so

By Usha Anenga, Makurdi   |   01 December 2016   |   3:28 am
Herdsmen

Herdsmen

Sir: As one bestowed with the rare privilege, and paid to perpetuate people’s lives, I’m always bitter when lives are lost. It’s all the more painful when people die from avoidable situations.

I read with utter shock statements credited to the Benue State Police Commissioner, Mr. Bashir Makama, in which he told farmers in the state to expect influx of Fulani herdsmen in the coming days because of the commencement of the dry season. He even said “… as we all know, with the coming of the dry season, they (Fulani herdsmen) MUST look for greener
pasture for their herds.”

I don’t understand the meaning of this statement. It’s as good as telling a family to expect armed robbers because the times are hard and the robbers have needs to take care of. This is the usual rhetoric before dead bodies litter all nooks and crannies of our communities courtesy of marauding herdsmen. This keeps happening every season and I don’t understand why we perpetually refuse to learn. Why do we choose to pay scant attention even when our brothers and sisters are being killed?

Just yesterday, the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo who is supposed to be a man of God spoke in tongues before the whole world in an attempt to…in fact, I don’t know. When confronted by the western media about the lackadaisical attitude of the presidency towards the devastation caused by herdsmen, he didn’t tell the truth when he said more than 800 herdsmen are in
custody over violence across the country. What a lie!

Benue State has suffered the most from herdsmen attacks. How many of them are in custody in prisons or police cells across the state? Mr. Police commissioner sir, how many do you have in custody? I’m very disappointed that we don’t have leaders we can beat our chest about.

Back home, Governor Ortom keeps saying the solution to herdsmen attacks is ranching. That’s fantastically correct. However, a problem of this magnitude should have short and long term solutions. I beg to say the idea of ranching, in all its majesty, is not only a long term solution, it’s a “long thing.”

With the state House of Assembly still waiting for who will probably be interested enough to finance the anti-grazing bill into law, the herdsmen are here again. How many more lives will be wasted before we outline short term solutions and act?

I don’t know which state the commissioner of police is from, but I expect that the same security council that gave matching orders for the totalitarian commando-style crackdown on notorious Gana, to prevail on the police Commissioner’s “siddon look” tone and body language already.

This year just has to be different. We cannot continue to die so that mere beasts, cattle will live. God didn’t intend it to be so, it should never be so.

Usha Anenga, Makurdi, Benue State




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