That was the insensitive quip from the self-acclaimed leader of the Yoruba’s just after he had gone to ‘mock’ the Afenifere leader who had just lost his daughter in a hail of bullets. This particular killing brought very forcefully to the national conscience once again the madness that is in the senseless killings that have been going on almost unabated in the country.
As he came out of the house, he was surrounded by press men who now asked questions and, in his response,, he retorted with this offhand quip. Now, this is the tragedy that faces us as we struggle with the greatest level of insecurity since the civil war.
Instead of us to tackle very assuredly the menace that is kidnappings, killings and violence we have gone into an opaque academic exercise of labelling the villains. It is either Fulani herdsmen or Igbo drug dealers or Yoruba ritualists, and while we are still at it lets just throw the Bini prostitutes into the debacle.
All these distractions we simply do not need because in my books these are just ‘isolated’ bandits carrying out their day jobs without any structures or cohesive plan to decimate a particular ethnic group or even take over the government. If we continue to look at this as ethnic insurgency against other ethnic groupings then we continue to miss the plot and these sons of the devil will continue with their dastardly acts of fomenting the worst kind of terror on the people in peace times.
The security apparatus are looking quite overwhelmed, bugged down with red tape, dearth of resources and administrative inefficiency that we even begin to pity them. The shallow ethnic sensibilities with corruption further incapacitating them, and by the time you add an inept and aforesaid corrupt judiciary, you get an ineffective response to this malady hence the resort to labelling and rumours as a thin counterfoil to the attacks.
So, if they are all Fulani herdsmen, then lets call the Fulani leaders to rein in their people and in quick response, those once will now ask for billions to enable them effectively mobilize to ensure cohesion. We saw this during the Jonathan era where ‘reparations’ were paid to sectional leaders to wrestle down the Ijaw militants who hid under the guise that they were fighting for resource control to unleash a certain kind of criminality on the people. The government even went ahead to design an amnesty program which saw them creating another avenue for thievery and compensating their immediate kith and kin.
This is what groupings and labelling of criminality causes. It leads to the creation of another level of thievery while the illiterate bandits continue with their carnage.
The simple solution is to declare a state of emergency and an effective war against banditry. What we have is a break down in the ability of the security system to effectively tackle these criminals. The kidnappers and the murderers certainly do not have any political ideology. They just have a job to do which is to kill, maim and rob. They do not belong to any certain groupings but just happen to come from certain tribes.
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There is no conscious effort to build a structure that would harness resources to strike at corralled ethnic groups. I am more than certain that the dogs who shot at the innocent woman at Ore did not even know who she was, talk less of deliberately snuffing her life out to send a signal that we are coming for the Yorubas. They just saw a weak defenseless woman on the road and easy target and struck. So, saying that they were Fulani herdsmen or Hausa cowboys is just an exercise in crass stupidity.
And this is where OBJ’s letter comes in. if we continue with this narrative then we are preparing grounds for a pogrom which will make the almost 6 million lives that were lost during the needless Civil War a joke. By the time we continue to label crimes and criminals as being from a certain ethnic group or being a deliberate policy of certain ethnic groups to attack and kill other ethnic groups then you begin to see statements from the OPC generalissimo and what would remain would just be the final whistle.
Let me state it very critically that what we have is a sporadic criminality carried out by Nigerians who happen to come from certain ethnic groups. This has been fueled by an ineffective security response, thereby giving the bandits a lee way as they hold the nation to ransom. This s not a deliberate and calculated attempt by a certain ethnic stock to foist violence on other ethnic groupings.
I have spoken, we can only just believe this and react appropriately or continue to expose ourselves to this level of carnage stupidly.
By Joseph Edgar…
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