By Dr Bala J. Takaya and The Middle Belt Forum
The genocide in Benue, Southern Kaduna, Adamawa, Plateau, Taraba, Kogi and Niger states by alleged herdsmen is several times, over and above the havoc of Boko Haram in the North East. Why then has the federal government not declared war on these killer terrorists?
The deliberate and consistent elimination of the autochthonous tribes in the North and Middle Belt attests to a systematic plan to exterminate all ethnic nationalities in the North and Middle Belt.
The conspiracy of silence and inaction of the Federal and State Governments is completely unacceptable.
From previous experiences of attacks during the Yuletide in Goska in Southern Kaduna, parts of Plateau and Benue, it is known that these parts of the Middle Belt are prone to attacks when lot of people lay down their guard to celebrate. Why then was security not beefed up knowing the high possibility of these attacks exists?
We demand an explanation for what happened in Southern Kaduna and Benue State during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. The events of 2016 Christmas period should have made the government and its relevant security outfits provide security in the whole of the Middle Belt and across the country. The States and the Federal Government have not deemed it necessary to ensure a meaningful engagement for a permanent solution to the genocide in the Middle Belt and that is why it has continue to fester with deadly toll on human lives.
We have observed with dismay that the Federal Government once in a while sends half-hearted sympathies to the devastated communities on Social Media but renders no help either in terms of food, shelter or medication for the injured or displaced ones.
No visit by government officials or even NEMA. Even international NGO’S have not been encouraged to render any help. There are no functional IDP camps in any of the devastated areas or visits by government officials.
This gives the impression of collaboration with the terrorists for maximum casualties.
We do not share the view that these are ordinary Fulanis inflicting such calamity on the Middle Belt people, considering the sophisticated weapons used, the mode of operation and the sophistication with which the killings take place; there is more to these attacks.
Life in the middle belt is not only short, nasty and brutish, but virtually worthless, and near non-existence. Governments’ primary responsibility is to protect life and property. But in the Middle Belt, the case is the reverse.
The great Maitama Sule of blessed memory, when he led Northern Elders to Congratulate Buhari on his electoral victory, said, and we quote “Justice is the key – Irrespective of the tribe or religion or even political inclination”. Behind every crises in the world is injustice and the solution is justice and fairness. Don’t compromise justice for anything. I am asking you to do justice to all parts of Nigeria to bring peace.”
Where is the justice?
The Middle Belt is the food basket of the Nation but fast becoming desolate.. This is because the mass killings are only a subset of the overall killings. Individual households cannot go to their farms, if they do, they would be dead. These types of killings are not reported, but are a daily occurrence. The consequence of this to the nation would be made manifest sooner or later.
We call on the United Nations and all democratic, peace loving people of the world to come to our rescue and stop this Genocide because the Nigeria Government has failed us.
We call on our people wherever they are to be law abiding. We call on our people not to provoke anybody or group of people, but defend themselves if provoked by these heartless and mindless killers. We call on the law enforcement agencies to bring these criminals to justice as a demonstration of their sincerity in curbing these killings. We call on the Federal Government to try Boko Haram members openly so as not to give the impression that there are people in high places sponsoring terrorism that must be protected.
We call on all Nigerians to join hands together to fight the evil that is taking over our nation. For it will not stop at the Middle Belt only, but across the country as witnessed in Ondo, Edo, Ekiti, and Delta, Cross River and River States.
Nigerians of all ethnicity and religions must join hands with the Middle Belt to fight this evil. If they don’t, it will reach them. And when it does, there will be nobody to defend them.
The Blood of our innocent people is crying for JUSTICE. Please let there be justice.
THE STRENGTH OF SOME OF US IS GREATER THAN THE STRENGTH OF ONE OF US, AND THE STRENGHT OF ALL OF US IS GREATER THAN THE STRENGTH OF SOME OF US.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
LONG LIVE THE MIDDLE BELT
LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
By Dr Bala J. Takaya and The Middle Belt Forum