Between President Buhari And The Other Evils.
As a Benue indigene with the interest of Benue at heart, I had expected President Muhammadu Buhari to have acted as quick and as decisive as possible to the herdsmen militia attacks on Benue farmers and other parts of the country. This, was because, I voted him with the believe that he has the capacity to trim the insurgents to size and give them a bloody nose.
It was unfortunate that the attacks continued, while maybe the president was planning a security strategy. But the good news is that “operation whirl stroke is able to achieve the results” operation Ayem Akpatema” could not achieve by bringing peace to the troubled areas of our dear, Benue. So, I join the Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom in commending the president over the success recorded so far by soldiers in bringing peace to the state after over 8 years of continued attacks.
However, in an event where politicians who have failed this country are conspiring against President Buhari, making it look like the president is the one killing Nigerians, we must review the past and ask them to shut up and deal with issues or their failures.
Obasanjo and Benue Genocide:
It was in October 2001 that the world was shocked by what the military under Obasanjo did in Benue State where the whole of Sankara (Ukum, Logo, Katsina Ala LGs) was cordoned off by soldiers with an armada of armored tanks that were given air cover by helicopter gunboats. The military juggernaut then proceeded to unleash systematic terror on unarmed civilians, a type that has not been heard of in Nigerian history. More shocking was the genocide at Gbeji where soldiers gathered unarmed civilians in the market square, supposedly for a peace meeting and shot them at point blank range. Others at the gathering were shot in the legs, drenched in petrol and decisively set ablaze. Over a hundred people died in this incident alone.
A special target for the invading army was the country home of Obasanjo’s former Chief of Army staff, General Victor Malu (late). A few months before then, he (Malu) had disagreed with Obasanjo over military issues and was dropped. Obasanjo therefore sent soldiers to his family house at Tse Adoor in Katsina Ala local Government who razed it to the ground; Malu’s mother of over 80 years was drilled and beaten by the soldiers while his blind uncle of over 90 years was thrown into a burning house where he roasted to death as his traumatic wife watched before she was later shot dead.
After this, roadblocks were mounted and Tiv tribesmen who plied the highway in vehicles were brought down and shot. In fact, the damage done to human life at Zaki Biam was minimal because as news of the mass slaughter of Tiv men by soldiers spread, our people in Zaki Biam who could run, all fled the town into the bushes, still, the soldiers made sure they leveled all buildings in Zaki Biam including that of Benjamin Chaha (former Speaker House of Representatives).
When the then Senate President Chuba Okadigbo visited the fields of the Obasanjo’s genocide, in disbelief, he said the brutality used to destroy Zaki Biam was not used even during the Biafran civil war. By saying this, Obasanjo fought him until he was removed as Senate President and later died mysteriously. Obasanjo didn’t pay Benue people a visit in the face of all his atrocities.
Jonathan and Herdsmen Killings.
The herdsmen attack on farmers gained prominence during President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime. In the year 2012 in Jos, Senator Gyang Dantong and the Majority Leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. Gyang were killed by herders while attending the mass burial of about 70 victims of Fulani herdsmen attack on villages in Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government areas of the state. The number of people killed on this day was shocking to every ear.
In Benue state, while Governor Suswam was the Governor, herdsmen attacked and displaced Benue farmers and makurdi residents up to mobile barracks in the head quarters of Benue. The peak of it was when the herdsmen militia had the effrontery to attack Suswam’s convoy and walked away freely. Suswam didn’t use this for campaign, maybe because at least he did some projects unlike Samuel Ortom whose projects are in audio formats that can only be heard and not seen. But the interesting thing is, all of these happened while Jonathan, a Christian from the south was the President. In all of this, President Jonathan didn’t pay Benue People a visit.
Do not also forget, our son, Sen. David Mark, a christian was the Senate President, what did he do?
Atiku and Benue People:
When you look at the functionality of our presidential system of government, the office of the vice President is more or less supportive. However, the office has constitutional contributions on national issues. In the case of Atiku, we all know that except for his dream of becoming the president, he successfully disagreed with Obadanjo when he was his vice, but he never disagreed with him over the Tiv genocide.
Atiku is honoured with one the highest Tiv traditional titles “Zege Mule U Tiv” meaning the “big shelter of Tiv people” but when herdsmen militia attacked farmers, the only senseless defense by him was that “…it is a misnomer to use the term ‘killer herdsmen of Fulani extraction’ or ‘killer Fulani herdsmen’,,
Be reminded that Atiku is also Fulani, he rears cattle as well. So, because he was born to a Fulani trader and farmer, Garba Abubakar, Atiku is also a “Fulani herdsman”. There are allegations that he is the highest financier of the herdsmen and also one single man who has the highest number of cattle in the West African sub region. As a herdsman, Atiku has no record of ranching his cattle, meaning his cattle are among the ones freely and openly grazing and causing trouble so why do you expect him to support open grazing prohibition.
Accordingly, when few days ago he was confronted with questions on the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law in Benue, a law that prohibits free or open grazing, Atiku simply opined the unconstitutionality of the law and further emptied his rejection on the law, thus:
“We have to look at the constitutionality of those laws. I’m not sure whether they come with the provisions of our constitution which guarantees freedom of movement, the right to reside wherever you want in the country and so on, and so forth. So we have to look at that. “The constitution does not restrict the movement of people in Nigeria, so, any law that restrict people from moving freely and doing their legitimate business can’t be upheld”. This man has not won election but he has rejected the law, the only thing Governor Samuel Ortom is using for campaign, imagine what he will do if he has the power.
President Muhammadu Buhari
President Buhari also rears cattle and because he is a Fulani man, he is a “Fulani herdsman”. But then, there are records that President Buhari has ranched his cattle. As a people, we all had expected the president to have acted as swift as possible in bringing peace to Benue state and other parts in spite all the challenges. But we must remember that even Governor Smauel Ortom recently commended the president for bringing peace to the state through “operation whirl stroke” that has chased the enemies away and returned peace to the state and indeed across the country.
Of course, President Buhari is human, he’s not perfect, he has his own shortcomings. However, on the issues of security challenges across the country which his administration inherited, I think the President has outperformed all these men ganging up against him. I think leaders like Obasanjo need to be told what tyranny and impunity are and be reminded of their genocide fields in Benue and all his atrocities over the country. Do not take Obasanjo, Jonathan, Atiku, David Mark and Ortom..seriously.