Some people might argue with my use of the term “genocide” to describe what is currently going on in benue, but i think i am justified in doing so. Considering that what is going on in benue did not start today (it actually started in 2011) and the astronomical figures of deaths that is bandied around in the media (some as high as 10,000 deaths since 2011 till date), i think any rational person should be able to understand my reason for doing so. If you still don’t get it, the massacres in benue are systematic, planned and well funded by a group of people which i shall talk about later in this piece. Let me conclude my preamble by giving you some food for thought. How did ilorin, a predominantly yoruba town become a fulani emirate? How did certain local governments in plateau state, a predominantly christian state fall under the control of the hausa/fulani who as every historian knows are settlers and not aborigines of the state? Finally, how did black Egypt which produced the pharaohs who built the great pyramids of old become an arabized Egypt today? Think about these things.
I doubt if President Muhammadu Buhari has the political will to rein in the murderous bands of fulani herdsmen which are responsible for the genocide in benue. Since the Usman dan fodio led jihad in the 19th century which overthrew the weak, corrupt, and ineffective kings of the hausa states, the fulani emirs which succeeded them established a new power structure which fused political and religious power in the traditional institution. That is why the Sultan of Sokoto is the primes inter peres among the hausa/fulani Kings in Nigeria; the leader of the arewa nation and also the leader of over 80 million muslims in Nigeria through his lifetime presidency of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA). As a matter of fact, for over 30 years after Nigeria’s flag independence from Britain, no man could become President, Prime Minister or Military Head of State without the support of the Sultan of Sokoto until General Sani Abacha cut him to size in the mid 90’s. Where am i going with all these stories? Recent revelations in the media have alleged that the trustees of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore-the apex socio-cultural fulani organization, includes 5 prominent and powerful traditional rulers in the North who are also fulanis. Also, there is no prominent fulani in Nigeria who does not have at least one herd of cattle including President Muhammadu Buhari. What this implies is that most of the fulani herdsmen committing these genocidal acts in benue and elsewhere do not own these cattle but are mere guardians on behalf of their masters who can be found among the top echelons of the society. Therefore any move by Buhari against the fulani herdsmen or their sponsors will lead to the destruction of his political base in Northern Nigeria where he currently enjoys cult following. Is there still any wonder why despite the biting fuel scarcity and other challenges besetting this administration, millions of people still turned out to receive Buhari in kano and kaduna States recently?
The President’s sending of the police and not the army to stop the killings in benue smacks of insincerity and double standards. Why send the army into the south east and rivers state to quell insecurity and then send an ill-equipped, underfunded and corruption ridden police force to do the same in benue? There are even allegations by some that the real mission of the police in benue is to prevent reprisal attacks on the fulani community by aggrieved benue indigenes and not to maintain peace or arrest the murderous fulani herdsmen as is being widely touted in the media.
Governor Samuel Ortom should stop wailing like a cry baby and begin to act responsibly as the Chief Security Officer of the state. It should also be clear to him by now that his call for the proscription of MACBAN and Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, as well as the arrest of their leaders is nothing but a pipe dream that would never materialize. He should begin to distance himself from the President politically if he refuses to take solid steps to stop this menace. This will send a strong message to the President regarding the 2019 elections as the benue people voted overwhelmingly for Buhari and the APC in the last general elections. Secondly, he should take the media evidence (including the tweets and the voice recordings) of threats issued by leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore to annihilate the benue people as revenge for the alleged rustling of 300 cows and file it as evidence in the International Criminal Court, at the Hague in Netherlands, charging them with crimes against humanity and genocide against the benue people. Finally, the governor should urgently send a bill to the state house of assembly seeking the creation of a security outfit in the form of a vigilante whose members would be empowered to bear arms. This security outfit which would be made up of locals would work alongside the security agencies to defend communities and villages from villainous attacks from fulani pastoralists and for intelligence gathering purposes to forestall future attacks on innocent and hapless citizens.