Nigeria's integrity-challenged leadership

Posted by News Express | 1 July 2018 | 1,939 times

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For about three weeks within the month of June, I spent a short vacation in some parts of Central London, United Kingdom. During this brief period, I took time to read through the Metro and Evening Standard newspapers, which are distributed free of charge to all train commuters in the mornings and evenings respectively.

I also took time to move around and interacted with some British people, including some of their law enforcement officials. Let me say it here that the Metropolitan Police operatives are some of the friendliest police officials you can find anywhere in the advanced Western societies. 

These interfaces and the prolonged period I took, was to enable me not just study the British print media, but also watch and listen to some of their local television and radio stations. It was basically, to learn one or two things that has/have shaped the outlook of the strategic interventions of their law enforcement authorities in swiftly resolving violent crimes, and the efficient speed that the judicial wheel of progress moves in reaching certainty in determining such cases.

My understanding is that the British judicial system is alive and works optimally, even with some of the imperfections and setbacks caused by shortage of funds for such vital law enforcement agencies as the police.

I came out with the logical and scientifically verifiable impressions that most people in Britain are aware that the law enforcement institutions are operated in such a way that whosoever commits a crime must be caught in no time. And the process of criminal investigation, prosecution and convictions are clearly well-spelt-out; and there is appreciable speed. 

The workability of the law enforcement and judicial system of Great Britain makes it certain that there is effectivedeterrence for crimes. Psychologically and sociologically, it has been proven that if a potential offender knows that there are higher possibilities of being caught and punished, then the motivation for offending is drastically reduced.

On returning home to Abuja, the earliest stories that have broken are the killings going in Benue and, most recently, Plateau. According to media reports, in Plateau State, over 200 human beings were killed by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen. And the communities whereby these mass killings happened are approximately near the security points where soldiers and policemen are stationed, to enable them prevent such mass killings. But these killings have happened, in any case. The Plateau killings started on Saturday and lasted till Sunday of the past weekend. 

Yet, President Muhammadu Buhari and his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) were in Abuja - approximately two hours’ drive from Plateau State - engaging in a jamboree they called national convention, to elect party leaders who have been already hand-picked.

APC produced President Buhari. The party members gathered in Eagles Square, Abuja, which is about the size of a football pitch. But the size of the venue is not in issue. What is worrisome is the high presence of soldiers, police and even privately-hired security operatives numbering over 10,000 who were detailed to secure such a small venue, with very few number of people.

The Plateau communities, that were contemporaneously attacked by armed Fulani herdsmen while the Abuja jamboree lasted, were abandoned to their cruel fate. Survivors said they saw soldiers escorting cows and Fulani herdsmen, even when the killings were happening. This allegation is grave and must not be swept under the carpet. There is another allegation, from other flashpoints and frontline states, of armed attacks by Fulani herdsmen that jets were noticed dropping off weapons in some forests of communities where Fulani are gathered, readying for attacks. In Plateau, the consequences of collusion between soldiers and Fulani herdsmen are enormous, if proven. The outcome is that hundreds of women, toddlers, children and old men, including the sick and elderly were slaughtered like cows: all because there is the allegation that Fulani herdsmen lost 300 cows.

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) explained why perpetrators of Sunday’s Plateau killings struck.

In a statement, the chairman, North-central Zone of MACBAN, Danladi Ciroma, said: “These attacks are retaliatory. As much as I don’t support the killing of human beings, the truth must be told that those who carried out the attacks must be on revenge mission.”

He claimed, albeit ridiculously, that there have been recent reports of cow rustling and destruction of farms between Berom farmers and Fulani herdsmen. “The people carrying out these criminal activities are well-known to the communities, but the communities are hiding them,” he said.

His remaining irrational claims of how innocent citizens were killed because of ‘some missing cows’ follows: “Fulani herdsmen have lost about 300 cows in the last few weeks: 94 cows were rustled by armed Berom youths in Fan village. Another 36 cows were killed by Berom youths. In addition to that, 174 cattle were rustled and the criminals disappeared with them to Mangu. ”

Shockingly, even as this official of the cattle owners owned up to the dastardly criminal act of mass-killings in a very unambiguous way, President Buhari was in Abuja playing the blame game, and shifting the responsibility for the terror attacks away from Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association to his perceived political enemies.

Buhari’s government has consistently shielded the Miyetti Allah Association, whose leadership has never shied away from instigation of these killings. Shortly, thereafter, they claim responsibility for the killings, offering some illogical reasons. Yet, they have never been arrested; talk less of declaring them as terrorists. Same government erroneously manipulated the Federal High Court to obtain a kangaroo court declaration of unarmed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group, just for demanding self-determination. But Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has become the chief defender of Miyeyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association. He is abusing his office and power by not crushing these identifiable terror gangsters. 

It is very clear that Nigeria is a country facing integrity deficit among the political class, and a nation whose populations are left to be killed by violent advocates of land grabs and members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association, whose members are alleged to be holding strategic positions in the current government.

Rather than crack down on the armed Fulani herdsmen, this government chose to be dancing naked on the graves of the victims. The president is playing the blame game, even as his sectionally-dominated and biased security chiefs look the other way, while Nigerians are being killed massively. Yet, the government kept blaming political opponents.

Only a few days back, the former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) - whose community is affected in the ongoing genocide by armed Fulani - was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) headed by Buhari’s kinsman, a Fulani, only because he is a political opposition leader. There is an attempt to rope him in as a sponsor of the armed Fulani killings. What an irony!

The Federal Government’s DSS arrested and detained an outspoken Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who has consistently criticised President Buhari’s poor handling of security matters, only because he is an opposition leader. These tendencies by heads of security agencies are not only illegal, but pose a grave threat to national security.

Political rulers in Abuja, especially those in the executive arm of government, beginning from President Muhammadu Buhari, have turned Aso Rock Villa into a cesspool of nepotism, corruption, and evil plots against perceived political opponents. All these are perpetrated in an attempt to intimidate, harass, and violently downgrade any viable opposition standing in the way of the second term gambit of the current president.

Mr Scott McClellan, in his book, What Happened inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, captured, in graphic details, what the current administration in Nigeria looks like.

His words: “As I explain in this book, Washington has become the home of the permanent campaign, a game of endless politicking based on the manipulation of shades of truth, partial truths, twisting of the truth, and spin. Governing has become an appendage of politics rather than the other way around, with electoral victory and the control of power as the sole measures of success. That means shaping the narrative before it shapes you. Candour and honesty are pushed to the side in the battle to win the latest news cycle.”

Nigeria is not just in an auto-pilot dimension, but in a one-chance bus and, may crash, unless rescued by all good Nigerians. The other day the Minister of Defence, who is Fulani, was blasting and condemning the Benue and Taraba states’ governments for passing laws against open grazing, even as he blamed this for the killings by his kinsmen who seem to value cows more than human life. 

This is the worst show of shame, depravity and irresponsible insensitivity that I have ever seen among any modern-day government official anywhere in the World, talk less of a country that claims to be practising constitutional democracy.

All these deceptions, in-competencies and irrational insensitivity in this Nigerian government pose serious threats to national security and survival of Nigeria as an entity over a long period of time. 

I will explain what I mean shortly. But, let us consult experts to learn one or two things about why officials should not jeopardise, or sacrifice national security on the altar of ethno-religious pursuits.

“In the 1960s, it used to be believed that the greatest challenge to national security in Nigeria, especially with reference to rapid economic development, nation-building and political co-existence, was ethnicity. This was partially correct given that ethnicity was at the heart of the Nigerian Civil War 1967 –1970.

“Since the end of the civil war, especially in the late 1980s to 2000s, religious crises appear to have become the greatest threat to Nigeria’s internal peace and harmony. Many well-meaning Nigerians now argue that if not carefully handled, a religious war is bound to occur in Nigeria in the not-too distant future. The attention of policy makers and analysts has become squarely focused on religious conflicts as the most serious national security problem in Nigeria. From the Maitatsine religious crises in Kano, we now have the Boko Haram religious sect, especially in northern part of Nigeria, causing the greatest violent destruction of human life and property, surpassed in Nigerian history by only the civil war.” (From the book entitled National Security, Democracy & Good Governance in Post-Military Rule Nigeria, by Dr Dan Muo).

These killers must be rounded up, prosecuted and sentenced to death and executed  else, in the near future, those whose loved ones were killed will carry out surgical revenge. We are also in an era of advanced technology, so we must deliver closure and justice to these victims of armed Fulani terrorism or else Nigeria will not know peace in the near future. Peace is only that of graveyard, if there is no justice and equality of rights. Government of the day must stop the imminent doomsday scenario coming to us soon.

Source: News Express

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