The Nigerian Armed Forces have for some time been carrying out sustained military campaigns to subdue the Islamist monster called Boko Haram. This extremist terrorist organisation has visited Nigeria’s North East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa with a savagery that defies logic and understanding. Obviously disturbed by this ugly development, the Federal Government unleashed the might of the Nigerian military on the Boko Haram insurgents.
But while the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has empowered Nigerian troops in the current effort to wipe out the Boko Haram scourge, it has paid scant attention to the now frequent invasions of Nigerian farming communities by heavily armed herdsmen alleged to be of Fulani ethnic stock. In fact, no week passes without a report in the media of fresh attacks carried out by these herdsmen who have for years made the South-West, South-South, South-East and North-Central zones of the country the theatres of wanton killings and destruction. Agatu community in Benue State which has been frequently targeted in the past was recently in the news again over another clash that claimed no fewer than 300 lives, while seven villages were razed and deserted. Few weeks before the Agatu bloodbath, herdsmen had reportedly invaded communities in Buruku Local Government Area of the state and left 12 persons dead and several buildings destroyed.While the people of Benue are counting their losses in human and material terms, so also are the people of Abbi community in Nsukka, Enugu State mourning their dead and the destruction of their farms after another Fulani herdsmen invasion. In the same vein, six traditional rulers in Ijebu-Igbo, Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State were reported to have accused the herdsmen of destroying their farmlands and defiling women.
The traditional rulers said activities of the herdsmen and their cattle pose serious threats to security in the area. Apart from the vague promise of the Minister of the Interior, General Abdulrahman Danbazzau, that his ministry would do more to tackle the menace, the Federal Government appears unperturbed over these brazen acts of aggression by these armed bandits, who the Police Inspector General, Solomon Arase, describes as aliens. These attacks are well publicised. The devil-may-care attitude of the Federal Government is unconscionable. With these bandits driving people out of their lands and occupying them with their cattle going unanswered, communities may be forced to take their destinies into their own hands and arm up to protect themselves and their communities. This may not bode well for the unity and stability of the nation. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to live up to his sworn oath and responsibility to protect Nigerians from external aggression and internal threats.