The recent killings in plateau under the guise of herdsmen attack is a threat to national unity and a clarion call for government to intensify its war against terrorism in Nigeria. Since the beginning of this year the issue of herdsmen attacks has taken another dimension in the nation’s history.
States such as Benue, Yobe, Nasarawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Kaduna, Taraba, Ekiti, Delta, Enugu, plateau have experienced the wave of this barbaric and senseless killings. Many people because of these attacks have left their homes, villages, occupation and towns to avoid being trapped by this group of killers. As a matter of fact, the numbers of dead reported by the media in connection with these attacks raises question on whether these set of killers are actually herdsmen or terrorist groups.
According to the report on most of the dailies on the 24th June, 2018, not less than eighty people were killed in series of attack lunched by suspected herdsmen in several villages in Barkin Ladi, Mangu and Riyom local government areas of Plateau State. While over 200 people sustained serious injury in the deadly attack.
Before this tragic incidence, it was reported in the dailies that some herdsmen invaded some villages in Benue and rain terror on the people in the communities. Similarly, the same attack was replicated by the herdsmen in Zamfara state, Yobe state, Adamawa state, Kogi state, Ekiti state among others. Looking at these instances and numbers of lives and property that were destroyed in these horrific incidences, it is obvious that these killings poses a deleterious threat to the spirit in the section 2(1) of the Nigerian constitution and undermines the rationales behind the chapter 2, section 14(b) of the same constitution.
For the avoidance of doubt, the section 2(1) of the Federal Republic of Nigerian 1999 Constitution, as amended 2011, stipulates, ‘Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble Sovereign State’. That’s, the unity of the country is not negotiable. To complement this and prevent issues that may result to disunity and insecurity, the chapter 2, section 14(b), states, the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Government based on this provision is the machinery responsible for making of laws and protection of lives and property. To solidify this, the section 34-44 of the constitution narrates the fundamental rights of every Nigerians.
Specifically, the sections 41 and 43, state, every Nigerians have the right to life, own property, carry out lawful business in any parts of the country. This shows that Nigeria belongs to all of us and nobody must stop others from carrying out lawful business or residing in any part of the country. However, the recent acceleration in the speed of herdsmen attacks, especially in the north central, call to question whether the country still operates this constitution or whether the killers are aliens that don’t have the knowledge of the constitution.
President Muhammadu Buhari while reacting to the herdsmen killings in Benue state at White House in the United States of America (U.S.A) on the 30th June, 2018, states, the killer herdsmen in Nigeria are late Gaddafi’s boys. They are trained in Libya and they use dangerous weapons to rain terror on the people in the community. This statement may be correct, because naturally the herdsmen ought not to carry Ak-47, not talk of carrying explosive weapons to destroy people’s lives and property.
Also, deducing from the statement made by the president after the breaking of the news of herdsmen attacks in plateau on the 27th, June, 2018, the only thing the herdsmen I know carry is stick and occasionally something to cut grass to feed their cattle. But based on the report available to me, the herdsmen that carried out the barbaric attacks in plateau go along with AK-47 and dangerous weapons. This statement shows that the killer herdsmen are terrorists.
This is because they utilize the instrument of violence to create confusion, commotion and install fear and panic in the mind of people. The killer herdsmen just like other terrorist groups killed innocent people, destroyed farms and sent people parking out of their houses by creating an atmosphere of fear. Therefore, these terrorist herdsmen must be handled seriously before the issue degenerate beyond control.
Terrorism is a dangerous and cancerous disease that hinders peace, unity and economic development. So, it must not be allowed to strive in a civilize country like Nigeria. To this effect, government should declare the killer herdsmen as terrorist and take further action to prevent the spread of terrorist webs. The religious leaders and traditional rulers should avoid inflammatory utterances that could endanger peace and encourage followers to embark on a terrorist mission.
Also, government should create more employment and empowerment opportunities. While at the same time, government and non-governmental organisations should release the fund meant for the series of pending empowerment programs such as FADAMA III GUYS, YOUWIN CONNECT, GEM, N-power batch two (2) and other numerous empowerment programmes that raises hope without disbursement.
Femi Oluwasanmi. [email protected]