By, Israel A. Ebije
The argument has gone back and forth on those behind killer herdsmen who have managed to establish human slaughter slabs almost in every major city capital in Nigeria. Some people “unfairly” opined that security operatives have turned a blind eye or are in cahoots with the marauders. Others opine that our own integrity saddled president, Mohammadu Buhari who is an ex-grand patron of Fulani herders in the country is complicit in the “genocide”. The military has generously piped to Nigerians that the marauding herdsmen killing Nigerians are indeed foreigners. Many Nigerians are either backing or opposing arguments surrounding narratives emerging from the unabated coordinated killing fiesta of Nigerian communities by Fulani herdsmen. Anger fueled by ethno-religious sentiments is gradually spewing out of modesty of speech rights limits as fingers are beginning to reach meters between eyeballs of those proposing or opposing the growing killing phenomenon.
President Buhari has strongly condemned the killing of 20 innocent Nigerians in Benue, which has led to at least 40,000 displaced. He has promised to burrow deep into the matter with the hope of unraveling those behind the despicable act only to proceed immediately to Kaduna for an all important train ride. Governor Ortum is rattled for the umpteenth time over the killing feast held more than frequently in a state he is expected to be chief security. Sadly, protesters who pelted him while condemning the gruesome murder of their kit and kins did not spare him. The recent killings in Benue is a sad reminder of terror based deaths with a staggering increase from 7,512 to 50,000 representing 300 percent deaths on account of terrorism in recent years according to UK Independent newspaper report.
In these entire sad trends, I am tired of hearing reports of the more than frequent killings of Nigerians in the hands of herders. While I take it for granted that Boko Haram is designed to kill, herding is a trade designed to provide meat and dairy for Nigerians. I am tired of protesters stoning governors who in the first place are not in control of the police or army. I am tired of hearing the army claiming herders are aliens yet almost allowed free access to inflict terror on Nigerians in their fathers land. I am tired of religious-based shenanigans brewing as a result of these killings. I am tired of hearing people distancing indigenous Fulanis from killings of innocent citizens, only to declare they are Nigerians once they are attacked back. I am indeed tired of the fear of a looming counter attack. Yes, one day the hunter will soon be the hunted and that will change everything.
It all starts with protests. Sadly, protests based on deep-seated anger quickly spew out of control. Only a few hours after the recent carnage in Benue, Ortum got the medieval treatment of stoning. Soon collateral damages will be incurred with spiral effect on innocent Nigerians. Drawing conclusion from the bitterness against “foreign Fulanis” responsible for the slaughter of Nigerians, it is easy to conclude that people are going to take up arms and defend themselves from real or perceived threats. For those emotionally isolated from the dastardly act by herders across the country, the evil wind set to blast into the face of all will not favor anyone. Once any or every herder becomes a spot for angry Nigerians, ethnic-based killings will spiral out of control across the country in a revolving scenery of reprisals.
In New Jersey, an appellate court ruled in 2017 that citizens can self-defend themselves when police apply excessive force. The case of Darnell Reed was instrumental to the ruling. The New Jersey ruling is a landmark projection against police brutality. Applying the rights of citizens to defend themselves in the Nigerian context on account of Fulani herders attacks, it becomes more than valid for citizens in flashpoint arrears in the country to self-defend themselves in the face of unbridled annihilation. The state and federal government are helpless in dealing with the hydra-headed monster and to make matters worse, the over 20 dead Nigerians killed in Benue will soon be forgotten, remembered only in another analysis as mere statistics. Nigerians are quick to forget, just the way this too shall be forgotten. Interestingly those bearing the scars of losing loved ones will never forget. They will wait for that single straw that will make them self-defend themselves in the face of the slightest provocation.
If the police and armed forces sit back with hands weaved around their jaws, the masses will weaponize to unleash operation Flush Foreign Fulanis (FFF). When that starts, nobody will listen to counter-narratives that will want people to believe it’s the indigenous Fulanis that are under attack. The time to make a resounding stand against marauding herders is now. Time is indeed ticking against herders in the country. With government stance against anti-grazing law, the more than frequent unprovoked attacks on farmers, there will be more dramas on account of the drivel that culminates discuss on this despicable affair.
Ebije can be reach via; [email protected] or @ebijeisrael