It is important we take a deeper look at the ongoing herders’ vs farmers’ clashes that has claimed a lot of lives in the country especially because President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to offer a satisfactory response.
It is true that the killings predate this administration but it also is true that the killings have escalated under this administration while the leaders have refused to address this new confidence the attacking herdsmen have. The president by his actions and that of his handlers continue to downplay the extent of the killings and deflect from those responsible.
The prime suspects in these killings have remained the Fulani herdsmen that have consistently issued threats to different groups in the country in defence of the killings including state Governors. None of the members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has been arrested nor prosecuted for the incendiary statements while journalists like Ahmad Salkida and Jones Abiri are routinely hounded by the Department of State Services (DSS) on charges of incitement and treason; brewing suspicion.
Exactly eight months ago, President Buhari received in audience a delegation from Benue, one of the worst-hit states by the marauding herdsmen. Buhari urged the delegation to ‘accommodate’ their fellow ‘countrymen’ and made no mention of mitigating the damage done to the communities through federal compensation or a more robust police or military presence to protect lives and property.
In April 2017, while in London, he ascribed the killings in the country as an aftermath of the post-Gaddafi era in Libya which according to him led to the proliferation of arms and killers who made their way into Nigeria. As expected, Nigerians rejected this assumption from the president. However, it appears Buhari still has some baseless excuses off his sleeves. While addressing some Nigerians in China the president blamed the killings on the shrinking of the Lake Chad basin which according to him has made the herdsmen to seek for greener pastures in other parts of the country. What the president never said but may have inferred from this statement is that herdsmen where left with no choice than to kill in order to graze in their new locations.
This statement is the third we’ve heard from the president which shows how dismissive of the killings Buhari is and his inability to protect Nigerians from the killer herdsmen. These statements have shown the president is not concerned about the plight of his citizens apart from politics.
It is important we ask the president where his interest lies. Nigerians or the Herdsmen?