Of late, Benue State — governed by Samuel Ortom — has been in the news for various reasons. One can scarcely recall any good thing that happened in the state in the last six months. These reasons are ‘artificial’: massive flooding; herdsmen killings; and a mysterious snake. Those are not the reasons for writing this piece anyway.
Here, there are three amusing, however, genuine cases all including creatures. In Makurdi, a sales clerk in Makurdi, Philomina Chieshe, told the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) registrar and his team that she could not account for N36 million she made in previous years before the abolition of scratch cards. In the course of interrogation, Philomena denied the allegations that she stole the money but confessed that her housemaid connived with another JAMB staff, Joan Asen, to “spiritually” (through a snake) steal the money from the vault in the account office.
Under this same Buhari Administration, the lives of cows and chicken appear to be more important than human lives. This is evident in President Buhari’s silence over the numerous attacks carried out by herdsmen in Benue State, and Nigeria as a whole over the past few years. The president — a typical Fulani — has been reluctant to act against the notorious herdsmen.
Fulani herdsmen — the new face of psychological oppression in Nigeria — having graduated from carrying bows and arrows, their deadly arsenal now gloats of sophisticated weapons, including AK-47 assault rifles which they deploy against host communities across the country.
Their several attacks, again, are artificial. Once more, in August 2017, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Shehu Garba, said that president’s office required redesign in view of its demolition by rodents amid the president’s long stretch of sick vacation. He added that following the three months time of neglect, rodents have made a considerable measure of harm the furniture and the aerating and cooling units, clarifying that it was inconceivable for his boss to work from the office in that condition. Do I need to remind you that it took the President eighty-one days to resume to his office.
Corruption takes front burner
Were it not for corruption, all of the aforementioned cases wouldn’t arise. One cannot but begin to ponder on the aims and objectives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Were the commission viable and productive, a mysterious human-snake would not have the courage to swallow such huge sum of money. The EFCC has swung itself to an agency where industrious criminals and politicians negotiate and bail themselves out of corruption-related charges. A critical look of the EFCC logo — an eagle — suggests it posed for a passport photograph rather than rooting out offenders. You are right if you say it is a one-eyed eagle or it choose to look in a particular direction while deserting the other.
Operation python dance by the Nigerian Army in the South East comes to mind. Nigerians are fully aware of this operation: to cut the excesses of Biafra formenters. But then, this activity only happened in the east, not North. Where did the strange cash-gulping Python evolve?
Civil servants have devised means of stealing in millions since top officials have continually gone scot free whenever their corruption cases are uncovered. The EFCC must stand for what is was established for. The suspects in the aforementioned money-swallowing snake case must be brought to book alongside her accomplices.
Proceeding onward, several attacks by herders against Benue residents were successful due to negligence from the Federal Government and security operatives who failed to carry out their mandate where and when necessary. Obviously, Federal government is oblivious of the right step to take to ending herders clash with farmers, but corruption and looting would not allow our leaders to carry out their mandate of securing the lives and properties of the citizenry.
If government is desirous of stopping the incessant killings and fights between farmers and herdsmen, it should create train/cattle depots and limit the footprint of the herdsmen further south thus reducing conflicts.
In addition to moving the cattle via trains, perhaps the Federal and State governments should establish refrigerated railway wagon systems which will be deployed to bring down already butchered cow meat from these numerous depots to centres of population further south. This will greatly reduce the herdsmen footprints and therefore the frequency of conflicts.
While Nigerians persistently anticipate the capture and arraignment of the cash gulping snake, we encourage the Federal government and its offices to be persevering, genuine, straightforward, or more all, fear God in propelling the nation.
Odunsi, an investigative Journalist, can be reached on [email protected]