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Buhari and the untouchable bandits

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President Mohammadu Buhari (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

If the senate really needed unimpeachable answers to the nation’s security questions, it only demonstrated another case of its accustomed dilettantism when it summoned the acting Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu. Latching on to the platitude that the knowledge of state security matters should be the privilege of only the few in the inner sanctum of government, the senate did not publicise the outcomes of its over two hours’ meeting with Adamu. Yet, unauthorised sources have divulged what transpired at the meeting. The IGP, not unexpectedly, at the meeting blamed his inability to tackle the insecurity on paucity of funds, personnel and weapons.

Understandably, the IGP is the nation’s chief security officer and he is excoriated for the rash of killings and kidnappings in the country. He is under pressure to deliver his mandate of ensuring peace and stability. The pressure is obviously compounded by his desire to prove that he is the right person for the job in order to be ratified as the substantive IGP. But Adamu did not tell the senate the whole truth if he claimed that all he needed to do a successful job were more policemen and funding.

Of course, the demand of loyalty would not have allowed him to indict his boss as the sole reason for his poor performance. But the fact remains that as long as Adamu has Muhammadu Buhari as the president and his boss, he would remain perpetually handicapped. Let his budget be increased a hundredfold. Then, he should be allowed to recruit more personnel and even surpass the United Nations’ ratio requirement of one police officer to 400 citizens. Or let him be buoyed by a sense of professionalism that would brook no excuse and subject himself to the most gruelling demands of optimal delivery. All these would not help the IGP to do his job successfully. Or how would the IGP fight insecurity when the president is not willing? How would the IGP arrest killers and kidnappers when the president is enamoured of them as model citizens who must not be denigrated by some misguided and benighted elements?

Since insecurity which Buhari claims he inherited from a dark era deteriorated on his watch, he has not shown any resolve to stem it. We find this failure of Buhari in his reluctance to properly profile the implacable masterminds of insecurity. At the height of the insecurity that led to killings in Benue State, Buhari identified the killers as foreigners. For him, they were war-racked foreigners from Libya and other parts of the world. Buhari’s certitude about the innocence of Fulani herdsmen whom were blamed for the killings was underscored by his theory that they were only identified with their cattle and sticks and not weapons.

This was why whenever the complaint arose that Fulani herdsmen were killing, Buhari bristled with rage at the lack of patriotism that would not allow the people of Benue State to accommodate fellow citizens who were only interested in plying their trade. For Buhari, once the Fulani herdsmen were allowed grazing routes, they would no longer cause trouble. In that case, Buhari did not see the need to compel his former IGP Ibrahim Idris to stay in Benue to restore peace.

But the same Buhari government has now identified Fulani herdsmen as the fountainheads of the banditry in the northern part of the country. This is why the leadership of the police has held talks with Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN). It has been alleged that at the meeting, some members of the association claimed responsibility for killings. Worse still, there are allegations that the Buhari government has given the group N100 billion to appease them. Here, the duplicity and divisiveness of the Buhari government is shown by the fact that it did not see the need to negotiate with the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who were never armed. When Buhari returned from his medical treatment in London in 2017, he declared that they should be wiped out. And that was what the military did. Scores of youths were subjected to various forms of indignity and killed and property were destroyed. The leader of the group, Nnamdi Kanu was forced to go on self-exile from which he may never return soon.

It is because killer herdsmen and other bandits have proliferated under Buhari’s protection that his aides blithely equate Miyetti Allah with Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo. Yet, it is not on record that Afenifere and Ohanaeze have been brazenly defending killings and kidnappings by their members as the herdsmen’s group is doing now.

In one breath, Buhari portrays the killers as ghosts who eternally elude security operatives. In another, he presents them as human beings whom he placates with loads of naira to stop their criminality. But by now, Buhari should realise that this El-Rufai’s model of tackling insecurity is not workable. It is because it has failed in Kaduna that the state is stalked by savagery.

We are drawn to the position that since the killings are ravaging the northern part of the country, we should not bother about the plight of the people in that region. After all, the leaders of that region are the Frankensteins who created these monsters of violence. But these killings and kidnappings by Fulani herdsmen are spreading to other parts of the country. Just this month, a professor at Obafemi Awolowo University was kidnapped. He only regained his freedom after paying over N5 million ransom. He has since disclosed that his abductors are Fulani herdsmen. And since nobody else shared the grim fate of abduction with him, the defenders of killer Fulani herdsmen should not protest that his kidnappers could not have been Fulani herdsmen. Besides, it is our money that Buhari and his cronies are using to unsuccessfully pacify the killers. We need this money to be invested in what would improve our well-being.

Consequently, we should be justifiably alarmed that the whole nation would be overrun by killer Fulani herdsmen and other bandits if we allowed Buhari and his accomplices to continue to pamper them. In this regard, Buhari should be told to deploy measures to stop this killer Fulani herdsmen’s plague. One of these steps is that Buhari should arrest killer Fulani herdsmen. If some of them are arrested, prosecuted and killed the same way they have been killing other citizens, they would not continue on this path of carnage. And if Miyetti Allah cannot stop its members from being criminals, Buhari should ban the group. He should go further to declare it a terrorist group. After all, nobody stops them from doing their business. But they should not hide under that group to unleash rape, violence and death on innocent citizens. Currently, it seems as if the group’s ultimate reason for existence is the defence of the lawlessness of its members.

Buhari should discard his smugness and listen to what other citizens are proposing as a way of ending the insecurity. He should recognise that this is the time to consider the restructuring of the country. If other systems have failed to guarantee our security, what is wrong with trying another system? If it fails, we can abandon it and try another system until we arrive at the one that can work for us. Buhari should accept the suggestion of a state police system to check the insecurity.

The danger is that other parts of the country cannot keep on waiting for Buhari. Soon, they would find ways to protect themselves against the abduction-obsessed and killer Fulani herdsmen. This would result in each state or community raising its own militia. And when this is the case, Buhari should not be so sure that he would be immune to the cataclysmic consequences of these militias.


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