We know you are paid to work for the presidency, but when it comes to certain things, like the loss of human lives in mindless killings and slaughters from killer herdsmen, you are not paid to lose your soul and every shred of humanity you may have.
According to a report from Human Rights Organisation, Amnesty International, an estimated 1,813 persons have been killed in 17 states, twice the 894 people killed in 2017, and we are just halfway through 2018. The organisation says 378 persons have been killed in Benue, 340 in Plateau, 217 in Zamfara, 183 in Taraba, 160 in Adamawa and 140 in Nasarawa – the majority, by the activities of killer herdsmen. And the numbers keep coming daily.
Osai Ojigho, Director Amnesty International Nigeria says, “We are gravely concerned about the rising spate of killings across the country, especially the communal clashes between farmers and herders and attacks by bandits across at least 17 states.
“The authorities have a responsibility to protect lives and properties, but they are clearly not doing enough going by what is happening.
“The latest incidence in Plateau state, where armed gunmen attacked 11 villages on 23 June for at least seven hours and killed at least 200 villagers without intervention from security forces should be investigated.”
But instead of the federal government to focus its attention on bringing an end to the carnage, it has decided through its lackeys to engage in a war against the media and anyone who speaks against the killings. These acolytes of the president and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have begun a campaign on social media to call out seeming fake news and even go to the extent of dragging those demanding justice for the dead.
Spotting and debunking fake news reportage and dissemination is key and highly necessary, as the media is bound by its ethics to dish out the truth. However, just like everything in life, there are bound to be mistakes, and some mistakes are costlier than others. A case in point is the role the media played in stoking the flames that led to the Rwanda genocide.
Many of these presidential minions are well within their rights to sound the alarm against the media, what they don’t have a right to do, is to silence any dissenting voice. They do not have the right to shut down those calling for an end to the killings.
They do not have the right to attack those requesting that President Buhari does his job by bringing an end to this bloodbath. They do not have the right to tell people how to react and feel about the death of their fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, children – even toddlers were murdered.
They have absolutely no right to tell those affected to keep quiet while their relatives and livelihood are being killed and destroyed right under their nose. Many of these sidekicks have never spoken against the killings by these herdsmen, rather they are the first to scream at the rooftops whenever anyone calls their principal to order, or when someone voices out his or her opinion on the killing of innocent Nigerians by a group, believed to majorly come from a certain tribe. The same tribe as the president.
What exactly has President Buhari done to bring these killings to a halt? Nothing. The president directed the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to relocate to Benue after the killings in the state but had no idea that Idris did not spend 24 hours in the state. On being informed of the IG’s disobedience, Buhari during his visit to Benue, in a flippant manner said, “I am getting to know this in this meeting. I am quite surprised.” But we aren’t surprised. Because Idris is still the nation’s Inspector General of Police. This is how Buhari treated and is treating the situation. In a casual manner. There is no urgency.
But his social media loyalists are more concerned about their meal ticket than the sanctity of human lives. They will go at any length to malign, bully and even question the integrity of those speaking about the evil in the land. Pastors are being blamed for speaking out. Social commentators are being dragged on social media – Twitter especially – for calling evil what it is, evil.
This manner of propaganda against the media is unnecessary. They should channel their energy, resources and anger to the perpetrators of these heinous crimes – the herdsmen and their sponsors – and should quit labelling anyone speaking against the killings as wanting to see Nigeria burn.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina needs to find his conscience because he has clearly lost it. Adesina has reduced the lives of Nigerians to a kill list and a slugfest with the Peoples Democratic Party. Buhari’s entire media team has done next to nothing to help reduce the hurt and anger Nigerians are experiencing.
In three years, Buhari has only held one presidential media chat. And we know he has been since for a long time during his tenure, but the president has developed a penchant for speaking on key national issues whenever he is out of the country.
Buhari and his media bullies should just do their jobs. Nigerians want an end to the needless killings. The media is not the problem, the killer herdsmen are.
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.