By Tochukwu Ezukanma
A onetime Chinese leader, Mao Tse Dong, once said, “We advocate world peace but there can be no peace without war”. Interestingly, history has consistently attested to the validity of this maxim. The history of Europe, for example, was replete with wars between European countries up till the mid-20th Century, when European countries fought a comprehensive war and a comprehensive peace dawn on Europe in a comprehensive way. As the federal government of Nigeria has refused to restrain and punish armed, violent Fulani herdsmen, only a determined fight against them will end their murderous lunacy in North Central Nigeria. The peoples of the area must engage the Fulani herdsmen fire for fire. For until the herdsmen are beaten to a bloody retreat, there will not be peace in the region.
General T Y Danjuma’s recent call on the peoples of the North Central states to defend themselves against murderous Fulani herdsmen is most appropriate. The general is neither voluble nor flippant; he is a man of few, but direct and blunt, words. So, he made that call not in remissness with words. His impressive career spanned through politics, business and the military. He is one of the most important powerbrokers in Nigeria. He is a consummate insider with a lucid insight into the operations of the army and other security agencies. In addition, he has a firsthand knowledge of the political operators that run this country. As such, he is in a vantage point to appreciate the absurdity of the peoples of North Central Nigeria expecting protection from the federal government. Thus, he urged them to defend themselves, on their own, against Fulani herdsmen.
Ordinarily, it is the purview of the federal government to defend the lives and property of Nigerians. It is prosaic knowledge that one of the central responsibilities of government is the protection of lives and property. The Buhari administration has failed woefully in this respect. And the peoples of different parts of Nigeria, especially, the North Central states of Nigeria have remained under relentless attacks from bands of marauding mass murders euphemistically termed “Fulani herdsmen.” The Buhari administration has turned a blind eye to the atrocities of these Fulani terrorists. Unimpeded, they rampage through defenseless farming communities, leaving death, devastation, pains and sorrow in their wake. .
The Fulani herdsmen are the foot soldiers of wealthy and powerful cattle owners, whose umbrella association is known as the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria. They are invariably subject to the authority of Myietti Allah. The average herdsman lacks the wherewithal to acquire sophisticated assault rifles. They are armed by their masters in the Miyetti Allah. Buhari is a member of Miyetti Allah. Not surprisingly, he has demonstrated an emotional attachment to the organization, its armed terrorists and its hidden agendas. His government refuses to rein-in the bloodthirsty herdsmen, protect the farming communities, and prosecute culpable herdsmen and their suspected sponsors. Consequently, the people of these communities remain at the mercy of Miyetti Allah armed terrorists and their sociopathic relish for killing, raping, maiming and burning down entire villages. As the death toll, number of burnt down villages and displaced persons from the herdsmen murderous binges continue to mount, President Buhari and his security chiefs vacillate, equivocate and quibble.
Evidently, it is futile for the afflicted communities to continue to wait on the federal government for protection from Fulani herdsmen. Also, futile is Governor Samuel Ortom-styled emotive publicity (publicized mass burial and public funeral). It poignantly dramatized the inhumanity and murderousness of the herdsmen and the failure of the Nigerian government to put an end to their unrelenting decimation of the innocent. It evoked the sympathy of Nigerians and the world. However, it portrayed the governor in a bad light; it depicted him not as a courageous leader capable of taking the initiative to defend his people, but as a whimpering wimp desperate for attention and pity. Over all, it did not, in any way, reduce the danger and insecurity that mar the lives of his people that live under the daily fear of Fulani herdsmen attacks.
The first human instinct is self-preservation. And in recognition of this fundamental reality, the law makes provision for self-defense. It allows the individual to fight back, and even, kill his would-have-been assailant in self-defense. Until the federal government can uphold its constitutional obligation to defend the lives and property of the farming communities in the Middle Belt, Danjuma’s call for self-defense remains germane. They should organize, train and arm themselves, and then, resolutely and ruthlessly fight the Fulani herdsmen. Only then will these mindless Fulani mass-murders leave them alone.
Tochukwu Ezukanma writes from Lagos, Nigeria. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.