Leaders of thoughts in the south-east have come down hard on the evaluations of presidents Buhari’s efforts so far in the spate of killings in some parts of the country. It says the presidents' performances, below expectations. They mince no word in submitting that government has taken side with the marauding killers
Former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Dozie Ikedife; Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma; President Emeritus, Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazuruike were united in expressing deep sadness at government’s complacency, which according to them is encouraging the killings.
They stated that it was preposterous that a government that unleashed terror on the South East not long ago in the guise of Operation Python Dance over agitations by unarmed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and also went ahead to tag the group “terrorists” has suddenly lost its voice as armed Fulani herdsmen embark on a killing spree and sacking of communities.
“The way that the Federal Government is handling this matter falls short of expectation. It looks like the beginning of something that has been planned for a long time. The government seems silence is suspicious. The way something like this has happened and nobody is taking responsibility leaves one wondering whether we have a government. These herdsmen use guns to sack villages and destroy farmlands. They sack towns and are killing people on a daily basis, yet the government has not called them terrorists. But they were in a hurry to call the IPOB a terrorist group even when they have no weapons and have not killed anybody before. On top of that, we have a bill on grazing reserves and cattle colony. Where on earth do we have that kind of thing in the 21st century? Cattle rearing should not be in the wilderness,” Ikedife told The Guardian.
He continued: “What is happening is fanning the embers of disunity and threatening the well-being of the country and the government is keeping quiet and seems unconcerned. It does not show that government is being responsible and sensitive enough; it falls short of expectations. The president says it takes time for him to make up his mind on something, but he cannot be silent when the house is on fire. You cannot be playing hide and seek when there are things destabilising the country.”
On Buhari’s failure to visit Benue State in the wake of the killing of over 73 since January 1st, he said: “He does not need to visit but he can do something from where he is because of his security and age, which must be put into consideration. Let him stay there and give instructions and those affected will carry it out.”
He stated that with the level of displacement and hunger being caused by the development, it would be impossible for the people to participate in the 2019 general election.
Ikedife suggested that “government must take a stand and say something. We must say that what is happening is bad, and put in motion plans to stop them. The government has to wake up. A government that regularly organises Operation Python Dance, Operation Crocodile Smile among others is now watching its citizens being massacred in their homes. This leaves much to be desired. It means that something is wrong somewhere and we are watching and waiting as the music is being played by the Buhari administration.”
Chief Uwazuruike, who is thoroughly appalled at the Federal Government’s reaction to the continuous killings expressed shock that “two mobile policemen were killed when these people attacked their station, but the Inspector General of Police and the Federal Government have swept the matter under the carpet. It is the height of insult to the Nigerian people. The same people are claiming ownership of an entire state and nobody is holding them accountable. This is, to say the least inhumane.
“Till today, the Federal Government has not sent any delegation to Benue State and did not attend the burial of the victims killed by the herdsmen. This is an indication that the Federal Government is partisan, compromised and insensitive to the plight of a certain ethnic region. To add salt to injury, the Minister of Agriculture, who of course is an indigene of Benue State is talking about cattle colonies. What in the world gave him that kind of idea? We have an insensitive Federal Government that has refused to take the blame for the loss of lives and property of the people that voted it into power in 2015.
“The day President Buhari flew to Kaduna State, it would have taken him few minutes to look in at Benue and empathize with the people, but he did not. This means that there are people he is meant to protect and care for, not the Benue people.
“When the IPOB without arms was canvassing a referendum, the Federal Government sent soldiers to march throughout the streets of Abia State, massacred IPOB members and silence their voices, but even with the scale of human loss in Benue, the government says it is a communal clash. On the one hand, those who bear no arms are branded terrorists, on the other hand, those who kill with AK47 are protected. As a lawyer, I know what murder is and we know that this one is pogrom and genocide. They were killed because they were farmers; they were killed because they were Christians, and they were killed because they are of a certain ethnic group.
Let the Federal Government do what is required under the constitution and protect the people. Let the government fish out the killers. More killings are going on within border communities of Benue and Taraba states on a daily basis. Government visited South East with Operation Python Dance and branded IPOB a terrorist organization, why is the same government complacent with people that are killing others daily? It is the height of insensitivity.”