By Oji Odu
Had members of the Executive, National Assembly, and the leaders of this our great country earlier received information one day that the wives, children and other close relatives they left at home while performing their Executive and legislative duties in Abuja had been gruesomely murdered by alleged Fulani herdsmen while in their farms, or worshipping their God in their Churches or Mosques, would this plaguing herdsmen killings not have been checked?
Would they have taken it as the Lords doing, and continued to describe the inhuman and barbaric act with various high sounding English terminologies, or would they have risen up in anger and put a stop to the daily mournings the nation has been subjected to? This is because both the knife and the yam are in their hands.
Nigerians have expressed dissatisfaction to President Muhammadu Buhari’s reaction to Tuesday, April 24, 2018, herdsmen’s latest killings at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Ukpor-Mbalom community in Gwer-east of Benue state.
The President in his reaction in a statement by his Aide, Femi Adesina, had described the murder as vile and satanic insisting that the perpetrators of the crime were clearly making attempt to stoke up religious conflict and possibly plunge our communities into endless bloodletting.
“I extend my sincere condolences to the government and people of Benue State, the Mbalom community, and especially the Bishop, priests and members of the St Ignatius’ Catholic Church, whose premises was the unfortunate venue of the heinous killings by gunmen.”
“This latest assault on innocent persons is particularly despicable. Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshipers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting,” he said.
Buhari noted that the country will not bow to the machinations of evildoers, adding that the assailants would be hunted down and made to pay for the sacrilege committed.
The killings came barely few days after an attack in Naka community, where two persons were feared dead and several houses burnt to ashes, and while President Buhari was assuring Nigerians that the perpetrators would be brought to book, they attacked again on Wednesday and Thursday morning, April 25th and 26th. “ I dare you to catch me if you can,” they seem to be taunting the President and his government.
In his reaction, Paul Ameh, a Sociologist, told the Magazine: “ With the trend, it seems the government is helpless and cannot do anything to check this herdsmen menace. But I tell you that it is not so. This country has the needed human and material requirements to curb these needless and barbaric killings. The issue is that those to give the order seem to be dragging feet for their selfish religious, socio-cultural and political reasons.
“ I don’t think Mr. President has given the right order. For Christ sake, the Nigerian President wields enormous powers. I don’t know what is withholding him from exercising them, especially now that he wants to go for a second term. Let President stop condoling the bereaved, ‘speak the word and see if his servant will not be healed.”
In her own reaction, an angry Mrs. Unyio Johnson, lamented thus: “ We are tired of their condolences. We are tired of their playing politics with the lives of Nigerians which are worth nothing, and shows when our people are murdered in foreign countries and our government does nothing.
“We are tired of being made homeless in our land and the government stands and watches, even withdrawing our security and forcing us not to defend ourselves. The way it is going, what is good for the goose is gradually reaching the gander.”
Following protests on the killings, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Benue Valley Professionals Network (BPN) have condemned the attack.
In his reaction, Special Assistant (Media and Communications) to the CAN President, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, stated that Christians had become endangered species in the country, while regretting that the security agencies have failed the nation by their inability to curb the killings and asked President Buhari and his security team to end the killings.
“CAN reiterates its position that our security agencies have failed the country; Christians have truly become endangered species in the country. Until they wake up from their slumber, the killing of innocent Nigerians with impunity will remain unabated.
“We also ask those who have friends and family in high places to plead with President Muhammadu Buhari, his security team, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria to use all power at their disposal to end this senseless slaughter of unarmed defenceless people in the Benue Valley, Middle Belt, Zamfara and everywhere else in the country.”
While appealing to the global community to come to the aid of the farming communities in Benue and other parts of the country by ending the terror attacks across the nation, it stated:
“We reject in totality the ungodly idea that cattle matter more than human lives and call on all who have an iota of human feeling in them to end this madness before it consumes us all and leaves us without a country.”
Many believe that the President can do something to check the mindless killings of the helpless and unarmed innocent, but will he do it? Are there powers above him that are influencing his taking urgent steps to check the menace?
Not a few Nigerians feel that he is dragging his feet. “Speak the word, and let your servant be healed”, they seem to chorus to the President.