By Femi Oluwasanmi
In the recent times, the news of self-help has continues to flood the Media with different militia groups under the guise of pressure group engaging in verbal war and supremacy on the claims and counter claims on those responsible for the “killing virus” across the country. In the west is a yoruba freedom fighter attacking Fulani settlement in his bid to send the killer herdsmen away from the zone. While in the East is the Eastern Security Network (ESN) destroying the belongings of perceived enemies of peace in their land.
Though, this usurpation of government duty has received a lot of commendations from the affected areas but it is a confirmation that Nigeria is gradually degenerating to the status of a failed State. Enforcing his eviction notice, the activitist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo (aka, Sunday Igboho) on 22nd January, 2021, at Igangan/Ibarapa area of Oyo State created a scene that led to the destruction of a building and cars belonging to Seriki Fulani, Alhaji Saliu Abdulkadir, accused of aiding evil in the town.
This display turned Chief Igboho to a Messiah that the Ogun State government allegedly invited to flush out killer herdsmen from the forest in Yewa area of the state. Though, this claim was immediately refuted by the government but the death and destruction that followed his visition remain fresh in the memory of the victims of mob action.
Meanwhile, the reason for the formation of government in human society is to discourage the “principle of an eye for an eye” and protect the weak from the exploitative tendency of the strong which is inherently part of human nature. Unfortunately, this seems to be the narrative in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, insecurity has eaten deep the fabric of the country’s peace and unity to the extent that what ought to be the source of strength is speedily becoming the source of fear with the ongoing clashes between the herdsmen and farmers and the inability of those entrusted with responsibility to protect to defuse the tension.
Based on the constitutional provisions, the primary justification for the existence of government is to protect lives, livelihood, property among others. In times like this, it is expected to serve as an unbiased mediator in resolving issues. However, with the response of the presidency to an order from the governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, asking all herders to vacate forest reserves in the state, it obvious that the federal government is more concern about the herdsmen than the farmers.
Reason for this preferential treatment might not be unconnected with the fact that the majority of those controlling the apparatus of the country are from the region prominently known for cattle rearing. For instance, in his reaction to the Governor’s order on 19th January, the senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity encouraged the state government to tackle all forms of criminality but not to breach the rights of herders in the state.
This emotional statement further aggravated the feelings of those that believe the Fulani-herdsmen continue to occupy peoples farm land illegally, rape peoples wives and daughters and in some cases kill those that tried to resist them because they know nothing will happen despite the slogan of the government on zero tolerance for crimes.
In an attempt to prevent the unscrupulous elements masquerading as herdsmen from using these clashes as a shield to further their evils, the current administration developed Rugga Programme as a catalyst to this growing clashes but because of the in ability of those at the corridor of power to separate their emotion from the solution, the programme gradually became a Nothern programme rather than National programme.
Ordinarily, one would have expected the government to roll out programmes where loans will be given to the cattle rearers to go and look for land and build ranches for their cattles. Instead, what was made manifest was a situation where the government abdicated its role as an arbiter and became an actor by trying to acquire people’s land for the purpose of building settlement for herdsmen doing private business.
This great departure increases the feelings left by the amalgamation of 1914 and refreshes the memories of those who see the formation of Nigeria as a mistake of 1914 and mere geographical expression gasping for oxygen to survive and opened a wide gate for warlords masquerading as Messiahs in the national discourse to the extent that those in the diaspora yearning for a better Nigeria have to create a GoFundMe platform for people to donate.
To worsen the case, those that are entrusted with the responsibility to provide the oxygen for the country currently on a ventilator seems to be the ones directly and indirectly firing more arrows to the sicking soul through their actions and inactions.
This mishap on the side of the government prompted former president Olusegun Obasanjo to described Nigeria as a country trending the path of failure. A claim that made the presidency to gave the former president a title of the “Divider in Chief”. However, with the surge in the act of self-help and numbers of warlards masquerading as liberators, it is obvious that Nigeria is about to join the league of failed States.
This is because, it is only in a failed state that peoples lives and livelihood will be wasted by the killer herdsmen and those responsible will not be found not to talk of justice. Infact, it is a great disservice to the struggle of those that fought for the nation’s independence and that is why warlords parading as liberators can have the temerity to whip up sentiment capable of fast tracking the journey of the country to an “hobbesian state where life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
To prevent this, government needs to wake up to its responsibility, fish out killer herdsmen, strips itself off the garment of sentiment by checkmating the conducts of those striking the cords of ethnic and religious tones at the corridor of power and beyond so that the country will not move from frying pan to fire in the quest to defend the undefendable claims and counter claims on the victims of security laxity gradually becoming the second label of Nigeria at the international arena.
Femi Oluwasanmi, Ibafo, Ogun State.