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Editorial

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Recent killings by Fulani herdsmen and criminal gangs across Nigeria have further heightened the state of insecurity across the nation despite billions expended on the armed forces to protect and defend Nigerians wherever they choose to live. In the last one year, hardly did a week pass without the gory tales of mindless killings by these herdsmen and criminals. While the massacre by Boko Haram insurgents had become a characteristic trait, the ones by the Fulani herdsmen, which have been ongoing for years, appear to have constituted a much bigger menace.

Recent killings by Fulani herdsmen and criminal gangs across Nigeria have further heightened the state of insecurity across the nation despite billions expended on the armed forces to protect and defend Nigerians wherever they choose to live. In the last one year, hardly did a week pass without the gory tales of mindless killings by these herdsmen and criminals. While the massacre by Boko Haram insurgents had become a characteristic trait, the ones by the Fulani herdsmen, which have been ongoing for years, appear to have constituted a much bigger menace.


These herdsmen have become a law unto themselves as they invade communities, kill and destroy with impunity, without security agencies stopping them. Till date, those involved in the countless attacks and killings are yet to be prosecuted. Among their targets, the Middle Belt, particularly Benue State appears to be the worst hit. The herdsmen have continually raided communities, killing and burning houses. In the recent attacks, which claimed over 70 lives according to media reports, security operatives deployed in the communities apparently went to sleep because their presence did not deter the attackers. While hundreds affected by the attacks wailed and cried for help in Benue and other states, President Muhammadu Buhari and his security chiefs did not take any major critical action until the recent deployment of the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and special units of the force to the state.
Though Buhari, in his rhetoric condemnation acknowledged that: “We seem to have lost value for human life,” he is yet to show the political will by deploying the military like he did to crush the IPOB, the Biafra separatist group that was unleashing terror on Hausas in eastern Nigeria in retaliation for attacks on Igbos in the north.
Aside the Benue attacks; the herdsmen had also recently killed scores in Kaduna, Nasarawa, Taraba, Plateau, and other susceptible places across the country. In all, the federal government seems to have compromised or become incapacitated in its duties of protecting citizens, irrespective of religion or tribe. President Buhari's failure to take measures to put an end to the disorder has implied a tacit endorsement of the raids and giving support to the notion that because he is Fulani, he's backing powerful forces behind the marauding cattle herders. Nigeria Moment is concerned that these killings have continued unabated, despite repeated assurances by federal authorities that it is on top of the security situation. Clearly, mere issuance of statements condemning these attacks has not stopped them from escalating and will definitely not. President Buhari must demonstrate that he is capable of ending these killings and restore law and order in these communities. A lasting solution can only be achieved if the president is sincere, open minded and rational in his approach.
Given the dimension of these perennial attacks, many questions had arisen, which the federal government and the Fulani-dominated security team of the president must answer. For instance, why have security agencies been unable to curtail these attacks, despite their so-called deployment in these troubled areas? Why has the president failed to order the military to comb the bushes where these herdsmen are based and arrest them in the same mode as the militants in the creeks of the Niger Delta, or agitators of self-rule in the southeast? What is the source of sophisticated weapons that these marauders carry, and why has the government not forced them to surrender their arms.
Providing answers to these questions are important as it presents the path to unraveling and ending what could easily be termed genocide. The president must explain why he failed to act to forestall the Benue attacks, despite early warnings from state Governor, Samuel Ortom and a former Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada and Second Republic senator, Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher. We totally condemn government's lukewarm attitude to the preservation of Nigerian lives which habitually have allowed these bandits to operate unhindered. Until President Buhari orders a serious counter security operation against these criminals, the assumption would remain that he is sympathetic to their cause since he is also a cattle breeder.

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