Why Buhari doesn’t mourn the dead
Even without Samuel Ortom shedding tears, history is bound to credit him with a stellar role during the trying time of his people. He could have reached a pact with the devil and secured his cocoon of ease, unperturbed by the howls of his people being slaughtered by Fulani herdsmen.
A peril of his sense of filial obligation to his people has been his humiliation at the hands of his colleagues. In their midst, he is burdened with a pariah status. One of them, Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong might have given expression to what they were inhibited by political correctness from letting out . In a moment Lalong was overwhelmed with a sense of vindication of his prescience, he reminded Ortom that he warned him against making a law to stop Fulani herdsmen from destroying the people of Benue and their means of livelihood . Yes, Lalong attempted to recant, but this did not vitiate his stand.
But it is not tears that would compel President Muhammadu to appreciate Ortom’s predicament and that of the people of Benue State. Something much more is needed. If Ortom and his people want Buhari to appreciate the ordeal being inflicted on them by Fulani herdsmen, they need to suffer a genocide in Benue that is probably in the proportion of Adolf Hitler’s holocaust. It is when the blood flows ceaselessly from such a genocide that Buhari may be moved to visit them. It is not the blood of only 73 people that would make the president to visit them, mourn their dead and understand the tragedy that has befallen them since Fulani herdsmen decided to deracinate them for their cattle to graze undisturbed.
As in the case of the president’s mathematical wizardry that made him to equate 97 and five to 100 per cent, we need not attempt to unravel the exact number of the dead that could tug his conscience and make him to visit those who are ravaged by Fulani herdsmen. But one fact is clear : Taraba hit that death toll in the estimation of the president and that was why he had to visit the state. He did not visit Taraba because only 73 people were killed as in the case of Benue State.
But the president also promised to visit other states that do not have the required death tolls yet. It is probably in a bid to take the casualty figure to what would attract Buhari’s visit that Benue is once again consigned to a murderous path. Just days after Buhari declared that only a high casualty figure could pull him to Benue, 26 was added to the death toll. Now, Benue has officially recorded 99 victims of killings by herdsmen. Since this figure may still be below the expectation of Buhari before he finally visits Benue, it may rise to what could attract his attention. So, as far as Buhari is concerned, what is a mass burial for 73 or 26 persons? Neither of these figures is up to the number that would make the president mourn.
No wonder Buhari was not perturbed that the Dapchi schoolgirls were and are still in captivity . This was why he was in Kano to attend a wedding. What is 110 number of schoolgirls to Buhari ? What could have stopped Buhari from the party was when the number ran into hundreds. And yet, the people of the Niger Delta want Buhari to visit them. Yes, the eco-system has been ravaged by oil exploration. There is no safe water for both animals and humans to drink. Both ponds and farms have been destroyed. But the president has no compelling reason yet to visit the Niger Delta and appreciate their suffering. The question the president would like to ask the people of the Niger Delta is: How many people have you lost? And why would Buhari not take development to the north-east where it is needed instead of the Niger Delta ? No, you cannot fault the figures that hundreds have been killed in that region since the Boko Haram crisis broke out. As far as Buhari is concerned, there is no urgent need for development in any other part of the country. But if anybody thinks otherwise, it behoves that person to convince the president . But such a person must remember that they cannot cite only one or two or three or four cases of suicide because of economic ruination in the country . No, even if the figure is 73, it is not enough yet to bother Buhari.
But we must not forget that the above is only the world of the Others Buhari is presiding over their affairs. There is another world which belongs to that of Buhari, Fulani herdsmen and those he chooses to accommodate in it .In this world, the life of the individual matters. Even the life of a cow matters. This was why Buhari had to visit Taraba . The Fulani in Taraba claimed to have more victims in the crisis unlike in Benue. In this world, no expense is spared to protect life. After all, it is the state that provides the money here. No wonder no expense was spared to treat Buhari abroad for months. Again, no wonder when Buhari’s son Yusuf suffered a self-inflicted accident in the course of riding a motorbike because he had too much time unlike his mates outside this world who are busy trying to make sense out of their lives, he was given the best medical treatment locally and overseas. When he returned after his overseas’ treatment, it was a minister that went to receive him.
While assuring the residents of Taraba of their safety during his visit, the president declared that he was aware of security challenges in all parts of the country. According to him, he receives intelligent reports on a daily basis, so no one should think that he is unaware of the killings caused by Fulani herdsmen in different parts of the country. What the president did not add is that at the right time when the death tolls have reached what he expects then he would visit such places where Fulani herdsmen are on the prowl. Then he would unfold his grand vision of a safer society. Until then, the Fulani herdsmen can go on rampage, killing more victims. They need not mind the threat by the president that they would be arrested and prosecuted when found with arms . No, they don’t need to take this seriously; the president only threatened this to make the public think that he does not support their blood lust. Or why has the president not sanctioned the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris for at least three reasons now. One, he sent the IGP to Benue to check the killings by Fulani herdsmen, he did not go. Two, the IGP through his spokesman insulted Ortom, he was not sanctioned. And three, the IGP has assured Fulani herdsmen that they can kill and would not be arrested and prosecuted as long as state governors have not been able to provide ranches before trying to stop open grazing. He has not been punished.
Now, if Ortom and the people of Benue who lost 73 people , before the latest 26 casualties, are not to be visited by Buhari and their plight appreciated , the people of the south-south, south-east and south-west should not expect Buhari to mourn their dead caused by Fulani herdsmen. Yes, they have cases of Fulani herdsmen invading farms, raping, maiming and killing. There is even a case of a man whose fingers and toes were caught off by Fulani herdsmen. But these are not even up to the cases of Benue. So, for Ortom, people of Benue and others from the south-south, south-east and south-west, Buhari needs a towering number of victims of Fulani herdsmen on a scale of a holocaust before he might rein in their implacable tormentors.
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