After three tumultuous years, Nigerians are entitled to ask what sort of administration, is Buhari’s Presidency? When it comes to the value of human life, is he insensitive, callous, or just incompetent? How could the Nigerian political class, security chiefs, ministers, senators and members of the House of Rep be sleeping peacefully in their hotel rooms guarded by heavily armed security men, while inhabitants at the foot of the plateaus and plains of the savannah are slaughtered by herdsmen and armed bandits? Will these senseless killings herald the political obituary of Buhari’s presidency?
I know I am treading on some very sensitive toes and making some people angry as hell but that does not concern me. What concerns me is the fact that human life is too precious to be wasted in senseless killing, so, I will ask again; what happened to the mentality of Buhari, the Commander in Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces and his security chiefs that life has become so cheap in Nigeria? This is an accurate assumption given how easy it for them to move on with life in a country where human lives are destroyed with impunity.
The grassland and food basket of Nigeria has become a type of boot camp designed to destroy human lives. People have been pushed into accepting violence, death, and destruction as a new way of life. This new standard has desensitized the average Nigerian to the importance of life. We have accepted as the new normal, bloodstained farmlands as our source of food. What a county; what a Presidency; what a tragedy.
It is disheartening to watch elected government officials in Abuja and appointed security chiefs capriciously shrug their shoulders after these mass killings across Nigeria. These herdsmen roaming about and committing mass murder freely at slightest provocation are formidable enemies of the Nigerian state. For this government to dismiss these mass killings as acts perpetrated by “foreigners” is complacent nonsense. People willing to kill tens of Nigerians within our country are not cowards; they are deadly vicious terrorists and must be treated as such.
Clearly, the Presidency, the Nigerian Army, and Police have a desensitized “value” of life when it comes to the killing of their fellow citizens. Nigerian Lawmakers and politicians overlook the outright killings and kidnap of countless citizens by bandits and even worse, the senseless murders committed by herdsmen. The fact that the Nigerian government has not shown the urgency needed to tackle this menace suggest that they don’t care. The message that it conveys to Nigerians is that our lives have no value.
There’s a difference between violence and senseless violence. What is currently going on in Middle Belt is senseless violence. Agreed that the tit-for-tat conflict between farming communities and nomadic cattle herders is an age-old conflict, disputes between local communities and herdsmen is not a justification for this madness and senseless bloodletting. Herdsmen should not solve problems through mass killings. For Nigerian security agencies to keep ignoring the slaughter of Nigerians is childish; to simply bemoan it, but continue to give protection to the corrupt political elites is senseless.
The tragedy of Buhari’s Presidency is the triumph of incompetence of the Nigerian security apparatus. This administration appointed incompetent security chiefs to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians. The security chiefs in Nigeria have not shown enough empathy with the victims of these senseless killings. If they do, they should have done something concrete to minimize it as well as bring the perpetrators to justice. That they have failed woefully in this regard is enough reason for all of them to be removed. That they have not been fired shows the frightening level of incompetence in this administration.
The Nigerian government should strive and get all security agencies to attach more value to human life the same way they go after political opponents. President Buhari, the National Executive Council, the National Assembly should wake up from its slumber and take up this responsibility of preserving human lives. The present Nigerian government must purge itself of the incompetent security chiefs, and any strand which has alienated it from the cries and pains of its citizens whose life has been made ‘nasty, brutish, and short’.
On our part as Nigerians, it is time to stop fueling communities with hatred using the notion that it is either my way or the highway when it comes to disputes over grazing land. Without a doubt, the refusal of these communities and the herdsmen to sit down and resolve their problems is an impediment to this decade-long disputes. Anyone that denies this truth is a part of the problem. Most importantly, the failure of Nigerian security operatives to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of these violent crimes is a tragedy.
Until mediation, peaceful resolution and prosecution of perpetrators of the heinous crimes become part of the ongoing conversation, violence which keeps escalating and the value of life will continue to diminish. There is no reasonable explanation why this evil should continue to befall fellow citizens. The political class that is gallivanting in Abuja must act and not neglect one of their primary responsibilities. The ever growing dark, ‘animalistic’ instinct of these killer herdsmen must be checked and now.
Finally, opinions vary and speculation is likely to continue. But few, if any, will dispute that the enduring tragedy that will define Buhari’s presidency is the present worthlessness of human life. Nigerians should not become numb to the bloody trail of misery and death resulting from the conflict between farmers and herdsmen or from the heartless armed bandits that terrorize communities in Northern Nigeria. The good news is that it is not too late to change the script.
Prayers for the victims or expression of “shock and pain” will not change anything. We need action. The first step to changing the script is the sacking of the Police IG and the ministers for Interior & defense, followed by a complete overhaul of strategy. Until this is done, Nigerians are right to believe that Buhari’s Presidency is a tragedy with little to no regard for human life. As such, we should start writing the political obituary of his Presidency.
Together, we can.
You can email Churchill at Churchill.firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi