Herdsmen Menace: Between Incompetence And Insincerity, By Taiwo Adisa

Taiwo Adisa

As he made his presentation, it was clear Abaribe had to stumble through stress and pain to give meaning to Buhari’s London statement, blaming the killings across Nigeria on trainees of the late Libyan leader Maummar Gadaffi.

Abaribe, a former university teacher, and Deputy Governor in Abia State, could only come to one conclusion, the president is incompetent.

His submissions did not go down well with members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, who promptly said so by accusing Abaribe of improper language. A rowdy session ensued in the Senate thereafter.

The digression towards politics on this matter would satisfy the politicians temporarily. They would say Abaribe is a PDP Senator and could be playing the cards of his party ahead 2019, but the issue outweighs politics. Citizens’ lives are at risk. The 1999 Constitution in its chapter two stipulates that fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy shall be sanctity of human lives and security. It indicates that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government…” Thus, any attempt to tar Abaribe’s submissions in colour of party flags will fly to nowhere.

There are germaine questions embedded in his submissions. Why are Nigerians being subjected to the guns and knives of invaders and all the security forces could offer are discordant excuses? Why would

Nigerian officials gleefully announce to imperiled citizens that those responsible for killings inside the country are “foreigners,” who are free to graze their cattle on Nigerian farms as a result of one ECOWAS Protocol on free movement? Why are we losing the essence of humanity, the fundamental right to life?

And it just looks like excuses would always suffice. One excuse at a time with none co-relating to the other.

When the lands of Benue, Plateau, Zamfara, Taraba and many others became killing fields, the Minister of Defence would activate the theory/excuse of “blocked grazing roots.” When the Inspector General of Police was taken to task on the killings in Benue, his excuse was the passage of anti-grazing laws in states; he had to admonish the governors to put ranches in place before enacting anti-grazing laws.

And when the President had to answer questions about the endless mindless killings in his country in London, he played the Gadaffi excuse card; the killers are trainees of the ousted and killed Libyan leader.

Where do the discordant excuses lead the Nigerian nation? Nowhere, you will say. But excuses are more or less a display of hopelessness if not helplessness. Yet, we pilloried General TY Danjuma for asking citizens to defend themselves?

Beyond the show on the floor of the Senate, Abaribe’s submission has awakened us to the wishy washy handling of the matters of security in recent times. The Abia lawmaker was practically calling attention to

the dangerous statistics out there which indicated that no fewer than 1, 500 have been killed by the marauding gunmen under the watch of the president. And many more are dying as the days go by. Human lives have for too long been reduced to statistics. It would look too heavy for the heart to handle if you add that some officials of government earlier claimed that deaths under Jonathan’s watch outnumber that under Buhari. So recording the so called lesser number of deaths is an achievement in itself.

I support Senator Abaribe, when he insisted in his response to Senate President Bukola Saraki’s call for decorum that he was only trying to put meaning to Buhari’s London submission and that a clear disconnect appears in the statement credited to the Commander-In –Chief  and that of his foot soldiers.

If incompetence is offensive to APC chiefs, let us recall that leaders of that party freely used words like “clueless,” “drunken sailor,” “kindergarten Presidency” against the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan and no one shouted hate speech.

But incompetence may not just be the only fitting description of the Nigerian situation right now. There is obvious lack of sincerity of purpose. When insurgency threatened to break out in the South East in the name of IPOB, the same Buhari government raised soldiers who orchestrated python dance steps and crushed the group, though it only led street protests and sit-at-home campaigns to canvass a Biafra Republic.

The same government had met force with force in the Niger Delta and only had to re-strategise its amnesty programme following the resilience of the Niger Delta militants.

It should therefore surprise many that the Buhari government, which is fully aware that those terrorising Nigerian villages and cities are remnants of the Gadaffi Army would only seek to meet the dangerous

gunmen with police action. Even the police chief sent to take charge of Benue, one of the most attacked states in the heat of the killings made a detour and landed in a neighbouring state.

In all, this government has not just shown obvious incompetence as Abaribe had said, there is clear insincerity of purpose in the handling of this challenge.


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