IT is reassuring that President Buhari is now talking tough on the unrelenting insecurity across the country. It is no longer the tepid press releases expressing preparedness to deal with the criminalities and lawlessness ravaging the country.
In its frantic bid to arrest the unexpected escalation of killings, kidnapping, and sundry criminalities in Zamfara, Katsina, and adjoining states, leading to massive exodus of people to escape the rampaging terrorists being cynically referred to as “bandits”, the federal government had probably discovered that the Miyetti Alah Cattle Breeders Association [MACBAN] is behind the serial kidnapping along Abuja-Kaduna high way, cattle rustling, murderous herdsmen and the killings related to illegal mining of mineral resources in Zamfara. The banditry scourge has really gone out of hand which prompted a hurried meeting of the Internal Affairs Minister, the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), other security agencies, traditional rulers in the north, and the leadership of MACBAN.
As report would have it, the federal government has disingenuously resorted to appeasement and pacification of MACBAN by giving a whopping sum of N1billion to them to prevail on the supposed bandits ravaging the north to down their lethal weapons. It is unheard of the world over that government resorted to pacification and appeasement to criminals since they have through the ingestion of hard drugs, hallucinating and disorienting substances deadened their conscience devoid milk of human worth. These hardened goons and dare-devils have crossed the dreaded “Bamuda Triangle” by the saturated blood of their victims; and it would amount to a barren effort to bring them back to reason as human beings through supposed disorientation and rehabilitation and moral and patriotic preachments.
I align myself to the position held by Nigerians that it is unimaginative for the federal government to resort to appeasement and pacification of law breakers which by implication, amounts to subtle resignation to fate or capitulation to criminals and their sponsors. The long term implication might be that criminality has rewards and therefore misguided elements will be inspired, hence a fillip to more criminality, brigandage and banditry in the country.
One would recall that Governor Nasir el’Rufai of Kaduna State once resorted to appeasement and pacification of herdsmen in his state but serial banditry and “revenge mission” by the supposedly aggrieved foreign herdsmen have not stopped the invading Christian communities in South Kaduna without the saving grace of security agencies.
Still fresh in the mind of Nigerians is the much-trumpeted repentant Boko Haram captives and perceptive Nigerians have not seen the good side of the supposed rehabilitation that would make them good citizens even when there is ample account that most of them are not citizens of the country. Then why the preoccupation with the so-called rehabilitation of captured Boko Haram since the religious fundamentalists have never relented in their onslaughts in the North-East flash points of banditry.
History thought that the only language hardened bandits, religious fundamentalists and extremists understand is the punitive force of the law which more often than not, is the expeditious execution of captured terrorists to instill fear on the members and sponsors.
Dismissing the speculation about the engagement of MACBAN while briefing newsmen after the curious meeting, the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu, had to confirm the appeasement and pacification of the group said: “We have talked together and they have agreed to work with us and they said those bandits in the bush are not of Fulani extraction. So they are ready to work with us to flush out the bandits in the bush”.
Well meaning Nigerians really exhibited trepidation over the efficacy of this suspicious measure which could be described as“self-defeatist”, to say the least. This is because the severity of the banditry scourge in the northern part of the country, especially the daily blocking of Kaduna-Abuja high way by bandits is yet to abate. Consequently, travelers out of fear have abandoned boarding vehicles for trains.
Perhaps, the pertinent questions that would satisfy Nigerians is; why it has taken the Minister of Internal Affairs and the security agencies too long to trace the source and spring of the alleged “foreign Fulani herdsmen” slaughtering Christians in Kaduna South, North Central Geopolitical Zone and the South and occupying their ancestral lands while the people are languishing in makeshift refugee camps and dying in droves to MACBAN. Is the appeasement and pacification morally and constitutionally sound given the humongous provisions in the annual budgets for security for the country? Is it because the tide of banditry scourge has shifted to Zamfara, Katsina and indiscriminate killings and kidnappings ravaging the north by the alleged bandits that a probable solution has been found?
If MACBAN could be pacified and appeased [and the leadership has the brazenness in not denying culpability in the pervasive and intractable insecurity ravaging the length and breadth of the country], how will the relatives of hundreds and thousands of innocent Nigerians and foreigners alike be pacified and appeased now that the source of their death and huge ransoms paid for releasing kidnapped victims who are alive has been discovered?
Nigerians would have rejoiced if the federal government, having identified that MACBAN has hand in the banditry scourge, had declared MACBAN a terrorist organization and round up its leadership.How can such inhuman organization be allowed in the country for such a long time and curiously shielded from the expected prying and eagle-eyed security agencies? Can one say that security agencies play diversionary and discriminatory roles with a covert agenda against some sections of the corporate Nigeria?
It would be recalled that when the Niger Delta Militants were blowing oil and gas pipe lines, the federal government mobilized all the land, sea, and air arsenals to rout them thereby dissuaded them from criminalities that truncate the socio-economic growth and development of Nigeria.
The federal government had to declare them “terrorists and proscribed IPOB”. Then why can’t such measures be taken against MACBAN for sponsoring the wasting of hundreds and thousands of innocent Nigerians? Why a pat-on-the back and doling a whopping one billion spread over two years probably to reward evil they perpetrated?Does it show fairness and equity in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious component of Nigerian society?
It is worth recollecting that the surge in indiscriminate killings and kidnappings in Zamfara State stemmed from the vicious exploits of the illegal and unlicensed miners of the vast mineral resources in the state, even as revenues which ought to accrue into the Federation Account were finding their way into private accounts of the northerners while the revenues from mining of oil and gas in the Niger Delta are domiciled into the Federation Account. Why the double standard in the accountability of revenues from the nation’s mineral resources which is on the exclusive list?
In other words, MACBAN is an octopus involved in the illegal mining of natural resources which could have boosted federal revenue for distribution in the federation account for the benefits of all the states of the federation. The unresolved issues with the people and their traditional rulers ignited the killings of villagers, kidnapping and sundry criminalities in Zamfara, which spread to neighbouring states of Katsina, Kaduna, etc, hence the suspension of mining which revealed the hidden huge revenues that would have been part of the federation account.
It is believed that certain truth is yet to be revealed for the unceremonious rising tide of killings and kidnappings of both the rich and poor in Zamfara, Katsina, even in the very village of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, where the in-law of his security aide was kidnapped.
It is pertinent to recall that during the Agatu massacre in Benue state last year or two, MACBAN threats to the Benue State Government to abrogate the law banning open grazing goaded the foreign murderous herdsmen to unleash horrendous blood-letting that shook the world. The calls by the state governor, Samuel Otorn on the federal government to hold MACBAN responsible, even to proscribe it was not heeded to.
It is curious that MACBAN, as a business organization, could exhibit such brazen boldness and intrepidity to threaten national security and even demand appeasement and pacification to help stem the heinous killings and kidnappings of both Nigerians and foreigners in the country.
One is of the view that time has come for Nigeria to spearhead the abrogation of the supposed “ECOWAS Protocol” as events have revealed the hidden agenda of the military regime in the thoughtless opening of Nigerian borders to herdsmen from the Sahel Region to enter the country in the name of liberalizing economic activities. It has been discovered that it was part of a ploy to swell the population of Moslems for motives that fly in the face of secular provisions in the constitution. Nigeria being a multi-religious society cannot afford a discriminatory treatment for a religious group.
A cross section of Nigerians, having seen the covert agenda hidden in ECOWAS Protocol subscribe to its immediate proscription so that Nigeria will have firm grip of its sovereignty and protect its porous borders from the infiltration of invaders.
The ulterior motive which has created loopholes in the immigration laws and security management of the country has snowballed into the pervasive and intractable insecurity in Nigeria triggering unchecked influx of the so-called foreign herdsmen from the neighbouring West African countries.
The president, in one of his prevarication and rationalization of the inevitability of the supposed “herders-farmers clash” and displacing the owners of lands by the herdsmen, hinted that the serial and hysterical killers are not indigenous herdsmen but foreigners and even terrorists dislodged from insurgency in Libya and other restive and insurgency-infested countries.
Then the question remains: if the government had really recognised the source of the killer herdsmen, why should the security agencies not given a free hand to deal ruthlessly with them instead of the open kid-glove treatment, appeasement and pacification running into N100 billion over a period of two years as reports had it? I really believe that Nigerian political leaders should stoutly brace up and decapitate the “Frankenstein Monster” staring menacingly in the face so that the country will not slide inexorably to the brink of a failed state status.
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