Middlebelt Killings: A menance that won’t go away

How safe are Nigerians? What is the worth of the lives of Nigerian an ordinary citizen to the country?

Once again, Nigerians have woken up to news confirming 86 people were murdered in Plateau State in a fresh attack, another one after many senseless others. We know what the pattern is; after the news breaks, we have massive outrage in the media and messages of sadness on social platforms, another letter of condolence from the presidency immediately followed by shameful political finger-pointing by politicians who amazingly think of it as an opportunity to score cheap points! These are followed by a short a period of silence, then without warning there is news of more attacks and counter-attacks.

How events have played out with the Fulani herdsmen violence in this country is appalling, disheartening and despairing.  Appalling because it has slowly become our reality in Nigeria to wake up to news of horror about how several innocent men and women have been slain in their fatherland; disheartening because we are continually faced with blatant disregard for life apparent in the incessant gruesome murders of the aged, the youths, even the children have not been spared from the horrors and they too have been introduced to intense fear and awareness of their frail mortality.

It is despairing because there is no hope in sight for the end of the killings and absolute destruction of properties, for the perpetrators to be brought to book, for justice to be served for the innocent blood that continues to flow. There is no assurance of security of Nigerians living in the country and trust has been lost with no hope of restoration in the government that has sworn to put the lives of the citizens if the country first.

A couple of weeks ago, it was Benue state that was struck once again. There are over 180,000 Internally Displaced Persons IDPs in Benue state alone as a result of the killer herdsmen complete annihilation of villages.

Instead of arrests, what we hear is how we should ‘accommodate’ them and welcome them, yet the killings have not stopped. Even when armed forces are deployed, hasty arrests of locals in the areas are made, one or two notable persons accused and arrested then bailed when the dust settles.

The reality is that killer Fulani herdsmen are holding Nigeria and her citizens at ransom, the bloody body trail continues to pile and litter through dates and states yet the government have neither been able to stop the killings nor make any tangible arrests.

Several persons, bodies and organisations continually decry and protest against the killings, some even call for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari over his inability to tackle the ceaseless herdsmen killings and security challenges confronting the country, but like in times past we hold out little hope of anything being said or done beyond making a fresh batch of campaign promises.

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