The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of insensitivity and complacency in the sustained killings by suspected herdsmen in Plateau State and other parts of the country.
HURIWA in a statement yesterday by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, blamed the federal government’s deliberate refusal to arrest, prosecute and punish sponsors of armed Fulani terrorism for the ongoing blood bath in parts of Plateau State.
The rights group said from all indications, some highly placed officials in the current administration, including the Minister of Defence, have already taken sides and may have decided not to take any measure to bring the armed Fulani herdsmen to book due to ethno-religious considerations which runs contrary to the tenets, letters and spirits of the Nigerian Constitution.
The group also asked the presidency to stop shedding crocodile tears each time armed Fulani herdsmen slaughter unarmed Nigerians in the hundreds.
According to the statement, “We have consistently called on President Buhari, who ought to have behaved like the father of the country for the duration of his four year tenure, in the last three years to declare Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association a terrorist group and round them up and prosecute the top officials of this body who had in the past granted media interviews threatening to stop the implementation of the anti-open grazing law.
“The Plateau and Kaduna States’ branches of the group had threatened to go after alleged cattle rustlers in parts of plateau and Southern Kaduna shortly before each of the deadly attacks had happened, but our calls have fallen on deaf ears and indeed our national coordinator had instead, come under direct threats twice by a powerful serving military general holding a strategic command position questioning why our group has consistently condemned the armed Fulani terrorism.
“Our lives are now under severe threats for speaking out to condemn the blood cuddling attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.”
He added: “But rather than respect the constitutional oath of office he subscribed to and employ decisive legal based mechanisms to tackle the killings, President Buhari had chosen to always issue dry statements mourning the victims even as his Defence Minister had on many occasions blamed Benue and Taraba State for the attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen because of the anti-open grazing law. On his own part, the minister of interior whose officials have failed to stop the proliferation of sophisticated weapons used by armed Fulani herdsmen has stayed put in office and has refused to behave like a gentleman and quit honourably so that Nigeria can have an effective interior security minister.”
According to HURIWA, 100 percent blame for the spate of attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen falls squarely on the desk of the Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces who it said has retained all the security chiefs who are of Fulani/Hausa Muslim affiliations just like the alleged perpetrators of the terror attacks.
“By his constitutional oath, the president ought not to pamper or tolerate Miyetti Allah even if the officials and members share same religious and ethnic background unless the current government is bent on scuttling constitutional democracy.
“We totally condemn the spate of killings in parts of Plateau State and other parts of Nigeria masterminded by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen. We totally reject the statement by President Buhari reportedly regretting the killings when he has the power to declare the killers as terrorists.”