By Tunde Oguntola |
For the past ten years, the heightened insecurity that has ravaged the country has left in its wake spates of kidnappings, banditry and herder/farmer clashes.
The Fulani have long been with us as peaceful pastoralists. The bandits in question are reported to be foreign marauders. Innocent Fulani as well as farmers and villagers have been caught in the crossfire of this tragedy.
To protect the Fulani pastoralists, one of two socio-cultural associations that speak for them, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has insisted that there’s no going back on the establishment of its security outfit called ‘Miyetti Allah Vigilante Nationwide’, a stance which has generated divergent reactions.
Many stakeholders see this move as illegal, arguing that it negates the Nigerian Constitution.
They, however, blame the rising demand for the creation of the security outfit on the fact that Nigeria is under-policed, with the population-police ratio still far below international standard.
The United Nations proposes one policeman for every 450 citizens. Nigeria has about 200 million people and police personnel of about 370,000, a large chunk of whom are attached to individuals and corporate institutions. The police are mostly underfunded and ill-equipped, with its personnel underpaid and unmotivated.
Miyetti Allah has tried to calm nerves by pledging that the vigilante outfit would operate in accordance with the constitutional provisions and legal requirements of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The national president of the association, Alhaji Bello Bodejo, said: ‘’The Miyetti Allah executives have deemed it important to create our security outfit to curb criminal activities such as cattle rustling, kidnapping, and rural banditry.”
He says their women are being raped and their cows rustled, and when there is a kidnapping, it is blamed on Fulani herdsmen.
But the leadership of the National Consultative Front (NCFront) has described the move by Myetti Allah to establish a security outfit as unconstitutional and unacceptable.
The head, public affairs bureau of NCFront, Dr Yunusa Tanko, told me that although the Miyetti Allah association gave cattle rustling and killing of their members as reasons to protect themselves, it does not give them power to go against the laws of the land.
“Everybody in any part of the country must respect the law or else it shows a failure of governance. The rule of law should prevail, not creating a splinter security outfit. It is unacceptable for an association to have a security outfit,’’ he said.
On his part, the executive director, Citizen Advocacy for Social and Economic Right (CASER), Barr Frank Tietie, said such an outfit also portends a gradual collapse of the government and total abdication of responsibility to provide security and welfare to the populace by the authorities.
The government should embrace state policing; it is really the way to go!