Jos Herdsmen attack: A Clear Case of Government Failure To Secure Citizens
By BnF News Reporter
On Tuesday night, a group of armed herdsmen attacked Nkyie Dongwro village of Miango district of Bassa Local government in Plateau state and slaughtered at least 29 persons and injured many others who were taking refuge at a place designated as an IDP camp.
The attacked villagers were actually persons that were internally displaced by an earlier communal clash in the same locality. The displaced persons had to to relocate to the attacked location which was being managed by soldiers of the Operation Safe Haven.
The attack, which comes as the latest of many other recent attacks that had claimed the lives of about 40 persons, was carried out some 48 hours after the state government had placed a dusk to dawn curfew in the area following the killing of six person by the same attackers some days earlier.
According to survivors, the suspected Fulani herdsmen came all armed and were engaged by soldiers in shootout.
A survivor who was interviewed by Channels TV said “the Fulani were exchanging bullets with the soldiers who asked us to go into the classroom; they continue to exchange bullets, then later we hear that they have chased them away. But later they came back to attack us and the soldiers were not there…”.
Going by the account of the survivor who spoke from the hospital bed where he was receiving treatment for injuries sustained, the soldiers actually engaged the Fulani herdsmen in a shootout.
Sadly none of the attackers were listed as part of the casualties even after the soldiers had “engaged” them in a shootout.
Commander of Operation Safe Heaven, a military task force on Jos crisis, Major General Anthony Atolagbe, confirmed that the military will investigate alleged involvement of soldiers in the killings. He said the concerned soldiers have been moved to the task-force headquarters in Jos for questioning.
So, one may ask; what happened or what was the end result after hours of discharging thousands of tax-payers bullets at the so called armed Fulani herdsmen?
The Chief of Staff to the Commander of Operation Safe Haven, a Brigadier General, said on Channels TV interview that it rather vaguely that “the military did not abandon the IDPs”; which left the question in the lips of everyone unanswered - “Where were the soldiers when the herdsmen came for the ‘second’ attack?
Giving the experiences Nigeria have garnered in northeast, allowing these kind of attacks to go on without government and its security organs taking decisive actions against the perpetrators would be disastrous. The armed Fulani herdsmen, may not be as organised as the Boko Haram insurgent; they may also not have declared an evil intention of grabbing a part of Nigeria; but Nigerian government must understand that they have the capacity to organise within a short time and carry out embarrassing attacks like the one that took place in Miango village.
The president of Nigeria must rise above the lowly ebbs of condemning attacks and lame directives to the security organs to bring perpetrators to book. The federal government must issue a declaration that should send jitters up the spines of the Fulani herdsmen and their kinsmen in places of authority who have refused to stand up to the bestial excesses of their brothers.
A TV presenter on Channel’s Sun Rise Programme, said “how can the life of one Fulani boy be accounted for with that of 30 other non-Fulani?” Where are the courts of Law? Are herdsmen high and above the Law courts when it comes to addressing the grievances over the life of their kinsmen or their cattle? Does the constitution of Nigeria excempt the herdsmen from its law?
If the federal government can create laws that now provide potion of the country’s lands for grazing, why is the same government not taking action when it comes to the excesses of some unscrupulous elements that are illegally carrying assault rifles as a weapon they could use to seek redress for their personal grievances.
President Muhammadu Buhari must come out clear as a leader that everyone can trust. The death of 29 persons should be treated as a mere statistics. The effect goes down beyond our imagination. The death cannot be brought back to life. And when death occurs in an unlawful manner, the only way government can heal the would of the bereaved is by taking sincere actions that will truly bring the culprits to book.
Playing politics with lives of the people or simply put, refusing to do the needful will only help to put manure on the already sown seed of discord.
The federal government must understand that unlike the states of Borno, Adamawa or Yobe where the innocent residents were (or still are) Boko Haram’s punch back, folks from Plateau and Kaduna state are not like that. The unfortunate Jos and Kaduna crisis should be lesson that we should all have learnt from.
It is good to hear that the military says it is probing the actions or inactions of the soldiers in the Sunday attack on Miango District. But that probe should be carried with speed so that victims of the attack can be seen to have been served with justice.
While the military is probing the Miango massacre, let the Nigerian government rise to the occasion and do the needful so that the peace can permanently be restored in the Jos Plateau.