It will amount to an understatement to say that the Federal Government’s prompt response to some events, which occurred recently in the country, is commendable. The government deserves an accolade for its intelligent approach to preventing an impending civil war, which hovered over the country in the last few months.
However, its response seems to be misdirected, malicious and biased due to the fact that even as the country continues to wallow in insecurity, which has its roots in the North, the government has been quite inactive and incompetent in dealing with the Boko Haram insurgency. There is a pressing need to inquire from the government why it succeeded in calling the likes of Nnamdi Kanu to order within a twinkle of an eye, yet proved incapable of routing Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.
That aside, the Fulani herdsmen have appeared to be a worse menace in our society today due to the rate of killings perpetrated by them and the effect of their actions on the agricultural sector. These killer herdsmen do not destroy farm produce, but also steal, kidnap innocent rural dwellers and demand exorbitant ransom from their victims. How intelligent has the government been in putting an end to their activities?
Many pictures showing Fulani herdsmen in possession of guns like the Ak-47, while they are celebrated by their leaders, have surfaced online. Should whatever seems good for the goose not also be good for the gander? Many innocent lives have been lost, children rendered orphans and wives became widows overnight, no thanks to the gruesome brutality of these same herdsmen, but, quite unfortunately, the Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies in the country either turned a blind eye to such crimes against the people or simply decided to do nothing to check them.
It is quite interesting to see the DSS’ intelligence coming alive when it came to tracking down someone who has only been protesting peacefully in different states. The DSS was clearly on a mission to kill him. They vandalised his property and killed some of the people they met in his residence. The accused has been protesting openly against the invasion of Yorubaland by Fulani herdsmen. This makes the level of brutality displayed by the DSS operatives questionable.
The action of the DSS betrays its ulterior motive, which is far from a mission to nip secession in the bud. It also appears like a threat to the Yoruba, while serving as a warning to other tribes that have cried out against the murderous and destructive activities of Fulani herdsmen and their cows.
How credible is the killing of innocent Nigerians by the DSS? How many people has their target killed? How many people has he kidnapped or malevolently manipulated?
There is a need to remind ourselves that Nigeria is no longer in the military era in governance where the fundamental rights of the people are tampered with at will. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights listed by the United Nations General Assembly, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes the freedom to “hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”
It takes courage to protest against an incompetent government. Now that the Federal Government is bent on silencing the people with violence and unfounded accusations, it looks more like tyranny than a genuine effort to secure the people’s lives and properties.
It was reported that the DSS operatives stole the sum of N2million from their quarry’s home. The report got many people wondering if that was part of the exercise or just another case of stylish stealing on the part of the law enforcement agents. Are individuals not allowed to possess their hard-earned money anymore in the country? Since the life of an average Nigerian has become less valuable than that of a cow, it is now very clear that things have fallen apart.
Nigerians are no longer allowed to protest peacefully in their own country as any form of opposition to the decisions and policies of the present government is viewed as open rebellion against the state.
Although the slaying of protesting youths at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos still remains fresh in our memories, more lives have been lost after the sad event.
Where exactly is Nigeria heading to?
In the past journalists enjoyed freedom of speech and expression. The reverse is the case nowadays. They are not only unfairly treated or arrested for the wrong reasons, but also kidnapped, detained indefinitely or killed. We have moved to a stage where injustice become commonplace and nobody appears to immune to government’s brutality. Now the latest joke is that if it were possible for the current Federal Government to gain access to the people’s thoughts, everybody would be at risk of being prosecuted.
There is no worse leadership than a biased one. Recent events in the country have proved that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has the ability to bring an end to insecurity, but it has deliberately chosen to be inactive and silent about the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen, bandits and Boko Haram insurgents terrorising the entire country.
A competent and accountable government has nothing to fear. If the current government had kept its election promises, there would have been no need for the people to embark upon protests or attempt to secede in the first place. A glance at the unemployment rate in the country, which has pushed many Nigerian youths into condemnable acts, such as Internet fraud, prostitution, and the likes, coupled with the worsening insecurity, acute poverty and the government’s inclination to injustice and partiality, explains why a people driven by frustration are left with no other choice than to clamour for secession.
Why is the Federal Government interested in fishing out the sponsors of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho without showing any inclination to fish out those funding the operations of Boko Haram and other Islamist terrorist groups? How come Fulani herdsmen are still found in the possession of Ak-47 rifles and the government has not for once thought bothered to find out how they got the weapons? Why has the government chosen to hunt down people who are just protecting the interests of their people?
However, the government’s efforts should be appreciatively acknowledged and the fact that the presidency is eventually awakening to its responsibilities is worthy of commendation. Need I mention that the DSS will be more than capable in handling and tackling the insurgence of Boko Haram? It is high time the DSS went in search of the insurgents, considering the level of intelligence displayed and its promptness in tackling issues related to security.
The Federal Government ought to wake up to the fact that brutality can only aggravate the issue on ground. If law-abiding Nigerians are killed and their properties destroyed, while a particular tribe keeps getting favoured, the situation may get to a point where other tribes will join forces and the unprecedented may eventually happen. The government needs to know that it can only take the people away from the folk but can never take the folk away from the people.
*** By Damilola Adeparua