By David Dimas
I never imagined I would be writing about this topic again. But I guess I was wrong. In the early hours of Monday December 4th 2017, two communities in Demsa and Numan Local government areas were attacked by alleged Fulani herdsmen. A friend’s wife was killed in the attack. At the end of the carnage that lasted for hours, the communities’ traditional leaders, with men, women and children were dead and houses set ablaze. Survivors and eye witnesses said the aggressive hitmen were well-armed.
When news of the violence got to the presidency, the Vice president Professor Yemi Osibanjo, in company of the State governor Senator Jibrilla Bindow swiftly visited ground zero to access the amount of destruction carried out by the assassins.
The Federal Government‘s choice of sending the vice president to ground zero while the president goes on campaign in Kano State against the backdrop of another mass killing in the country is callous.
This poor political mathematics has, indeed, left the people of Numan and Demsa with no choice but to hold the view that either the president is sitting on the fence or he has been caught between two stools regarding killings by these alleged Fulani herdsmen.
As a consequence, the government has to be prepared for tough negotiations with the people of Numan and Demsa as they are now prone to drive a hard bargain come 2019 elections.
In the past, high ranking officials, appointed to put wool over people’s eyes, have been quick to front the narrative that the violent herdsmen who attacked in one part of the country were not Nigerians but that they migrated from neighboring countries. If it had stopped there and the “foreigners” never struck again, there would have been little cause for alarm. But that’s not the case. If my memory serves me right the alleged Fulani herdsmen have struck in Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Enugu, Ekiti, Imo, Zamfara and Adamawa States. How come then well-armed ‘foreigners’ are able to move around the country freely killing Nigerians in almost ten states but remained undetected? Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, some leaders and elders are still living in denial.
This perpetual denial of carnages by herdsmen across the country does not in any way present the leaders as sincere and ready to stop the rampaging killers especially as the president has hardly spoken against this mass execution of Nigerians by the alleged “foreigners”.
Nigerians had, at the start of this slayings, imagined that the incident was a storm in a tea cup which would blow pass in no time. But again time and the killers have proved us wrong.
The herdsmen versus farmers’ crisis has continually set off a chain reaction of blood bath that would forever resonate with families of farmers, herdsmen and first responders.
I dare say that there is an ignored bigger picture behind this crisis. Ours is a country where hypocrisy and denial reigns supreme. It will take a shift in consciousness at a foundational level to stop Nigerians from always pushing our beloved Nigeria to the edge of uncertainty. We are gradually becoming a society where genocide is been normalized because truth itself has been robbed of significance. We need to take stock of our situations and be honest with the remote course of issues in order to get lasting solutions.
Here is an unnecessary but important reminder to our leaders and elders: No amount of propaganda can penetrate the stubborn wall of evidence.
The need for a federal solution to this blood and guts is long overdue. We cannot allow reactionary religious beliefs and tribalism to undo what the return of democracy to Nigeria has helped us achieve so far.
This is the subject that Nigerians, especially Numan and Demsa people, are sincerely concerned about.
David Dimas is a Pastor, Author, Inspirational Speaker, Blogger, IT Consultant. He writes from Laurel, Maryland, U.S.A