FEATURE ARTICLE

Aonduna TonduTuesday, February 13, 2018
[email protected]
New York, USA

THE BUHARI KAKISTOCRACY AND THE WAY FORWARD

t is a monumental tragedy that Buhari, who benefitted from unprecedented goodwill on the part of the diverse but equal people of Nigeria in his ascendancy as president in 2015, has turned around to recklessly and irresponsibly betray that sacred trust and yearning for redeeming democratic change by perpetuating the image of himself as a divisive, biased, nepotistic, sectional and abdicating extremist at the head of perhaps the most dangerous kakistocracy in the history of Nigeria.

Today, Buhari's name is synonymous with tragic failure in almost every critical ramification of governance. Notwithstanding the shrill, bad-mannered, often half-baked and cantankerous rationalizations of its spokespersons, the Buhari regime has, through its actions and inactions, sought to shrink our public spaces by inflicting a debilitating legacy of self-serving, narrow-minded, dubious and ultimately perfidious schemes and practices that are a direct and unrelenting assault on Nigeria's ethno-religious diversity and democracy. In short, President Buhari's appalling misrule is exacerbating our country's schisms to an extent that calls into question his legitimacy to preside over what should have been, after the locust years of the sleazy and disorienting PDP-led Jonathan administration, a reinvigorated economy of hope and prosperity for all. The alarming desecration of the Nigerian presidency that is evident in the now uncountable scandals involving the sickly Buhari and his henchmen is a pointer to the inescapable reality that the man lacks the requisite moral authority to manage the delicate configuration of the Nigerian mosaic.

We owe it to our children and posterity in general to alert the nation and the whole wide world that a myopic and nefarious agenda, conceived by centrifugal forces of Fulani irredentism and domination with jihadist undertones, is currently being pursued by an equally nefarious and desperate clique of blood relatives, in-laws, carpetbaggers, other "useful idiots" and unsuspecting acolytes around an increasingly detached and insular president full of mischief who has taken refuge in the corrosive company of that reactionary mafia and its confederates in the media, traditional circles, the academia, in government, commerce and industry, the army and other security forces. It is significant to note that the obvious spike in deadly attacks by marauding herdsmen in Benue and elsewhere is coinciding with the brazen but short-sighted drive for Fulani hegemony under the Buhari presidency. What this sad state of affairs does suggest is both the complicity and pathetic dereliction of duty on the part of Mr. President and his administration regarding the ghastly massacres, ethnic cleansing and land seizures that are accompanying the invasions by mainly Muslim Fulani herdsmen in predominantly minority Christian areas of Benue State and the Middle Belt per se.

It is indeed tragic that Buhari has woefully failed in his constitutional responsibility to secure the lives and property of the citizens of Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, the Middle Belt in general and much of Nigeria as they grapple with the gruesome mass murders and other atrocities perpetrated by killer herdsmen in what are clearly orchestrated pogroms of genocide and territorial occupation. It is abhorrent that the president and his government have demonstrated inexcusable reluctance to decisively deal with the menace by murderous Fulani herdsmen who have been rated by Global Terrorism Index as the 4th most deadly terrorist militia in the world. Equally abhorrent is the refusal by Buhari and his notoriously clueless, underachieving regime to tackle the threat constituted by the Nigerian sponsors or backers of the killer herdsmen militia operating under the outfit known as Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and what is said to be its faction but is, by all intents and purposes, its franchise, namely, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH). It must be observed here that the MACBAN hardly ever condemns the violently truculent and extreme positions of the MAKH. Most times, as is the case, respectively, with the anti-open grazing law in Benue State and the New Year's day horrendous mass killings by Fulani herdsmen in Logo and Guma local government areas there, the crudely egregious rants, the sheer bigotry, the xenophobic chest-beating, the obscurantism, the obnoxious justifications of evil, the trivialization of a genocidal enterprise, not to mention the pettiness and blood-curdling nature of the macabre narratives by either the MACBAN or the MAKH, do tend to share the same ideological ancestry and orientation. All that, to make the vital point that it is futile to try to draw any distinctions between either outfit. It is more useful to try to understand and expose the nature and activism of the parent body and its support for the terrorist Fulani militia.

It is important in this regard to refer us to a 2014 document by Aonduna Tondu bearing the title "Impunity, Terror and the Murderous Onslaught by Fulani Herdsmen in Benue." In reaction to the perennial attacks and killings by marauding herders, Tondu wrote the exposé in which he sought to inform the public about what the MACBAN and its adherents were all about concerning their mission in Benue and much of the Middle Belt as well as sensitize the country as a whole about the organized evil as constituted by the politics of violent land grabs and mass slaughters by criminally-minded Fulani herders and their sponsors or supporters. We appeal for the patience and understanding of the reader as we quote, rather extensively, from that article whose topicality and narrative of denunciation and strategic thinking are as relevant today as they were when it was first published.

"...Also unacceptable is the pernicious narrative by individuals or groups like the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association whose chillingly haughty, rabid, primordial and often knee-jerk pronouncements have tended to either trivialize the massacres and suffering being inflicted by the Fulani herdsmen or acted as apparent impetus to the perpetrators of the orgies of atavistic mayhem against the people of Benue. And the peace-loving citizens of the state also unequivocally reject the dangerous agenda of what are effectively terrorist and illegal seizures and occupation of Benue State territory by Fulanis armed with AK 47 assault rifles. It's worth observing that these terrorist seizures and settlements of Benue farm lands are coinciding with and are indeed the main objective of the orchestrated attacks and killings by these well-armed herdsmen.

The Miyetti Allah Association and other backers or sympathizers of the latter must be told in no uncertain terms that they are being obnoxious and unhelpful when they futilely and irrationally seek to defend the Fulani aggressors by mischievously and arrogantly harping on the so-called "grazing rights" as an alibi for the deadly assaults by them in Benue State. The irresponsible and single-minded obsession with "grazing reserves" does betray a mindset that is dismissive of serious existentialist concerns like the right to life of members of indigenous communities and related issues which the bestial encroachments by Fulani herdsmen are trampling on. The colonialist orientation of the rampaging itinerants and their Miyetti Allah Association supporters does also reveal a dogmatic, if blind refusal on their part to consider modernist, less socially destabilizing approaches to breeding cattle and other livestock that would require the herdsmen to remain in their states of origin and not constitute threats to national security, not to mention the fact that their violent , scorched earth onslaughts are tantamount to an agenda of orchestrated pogroms against host communities whose economic and commercial life is being profoundly disrupted or destroyed by their criminal activities.

Escapist and flippant, the grazing reserves mantra is also a piece of cultural cum philosophical fossilism. Its unbending anachronism can be said to preach a form of political and administrative rascality by seeking to divest states or societies of origin of the primary responsibility to efficaciously provide for their citizens in ways and means that take into account current developmental trends. In stark terms, it is ethically, politically and fiscally repugnant, to say the least, to impose on Benue State and its people, the awesome and debilitating responsibility of depleting their meager resources (land, water, food, financial, etc.) that can barely meet the vital needs of their growing communities, not to mention the palpably harmful instability-related consequences of subjecting them to criminal, armed and unwelcome occupation.

The Benue State government, its people as well as the federal authorities and all men and women of goodwill must act immediately to dispel the legitimate fears in some quarters that the barbaric and bloody incursions by predominantly Muslim herdsmen do signal a strategy of invidious land grabs - precursor to a latter-day enterprise of Islamist proselitization and hegemony (cultural, linguistic, economic, political and otherwise) in the minority Christian state of the Middle Belt. History has shown that any unbridled and uncontrolled forms of settlements by intruders (especially those that bear arms and are animated by religious zealotry, overt or subtle) do invariably overwhelm the indigenous or host populations to the point of irremediably destroying the socio-economic levers that hitherto acted as a necessary equilibrium for social peace and order. One only needs to look at Plateau State to understand what is at stake in Benue State today regarding the terrorizing presence of Fulani herdsmen there. We cannot afford another Plateau State-like scenario of endemic ethno-religious conflict. That is why all those dangerous criminals said to be Fulani breeders and their accomplices must be fished out, punished and eventually removed from Benue."

The above nuggets of instruction and caution are useful in the understanding of both the context and philosophical basis of the efforts to find lasting solutions to the endemic criminality associated with the terrorizing activities in Benue State and other places of the so-called herdsmen. The legitimacy of the equitable and popular Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 of Benue State is not in doubt and only mischief makers and supremacists of the MACBAN mould have so far irrationally and grotesquely sought to impugn its unimpeachable merits as a recipe for sustainable social peace and stability (We note that Emir Sanusi of kano, himself a patron of the MACBAN, has hastily, erroneously, and in a prejudiced manner, criticised the Benue law as allegedly being anti-Fulani). That is why one is baffled that instead of transparently and unequivocally subscribing to the spirit and letter of the law as regards the primacy of the international best practice of ranching, some of the Buhari regime's operatives have unconscionably opted for unacceptable abdication through the proposition of unpalatable schemes like the "cattle colonies" boondoggle which is apparently a variant of the discredited grazing reserves mantra. Incidentally, Professor Wole Soyinka has already taken Minister Audu Ogbeh to the cleaners when the latter tried to irresponsibly justify heinous capital crimes by insinuating, à la MACBAN, that what he wrongly considers as the historical neglect by the government of the welfare of herdsmen is somehow responsible for the premeditated and coordinated mass murders of 1st January in Guma and Logo, hence his strange cattle colonies proposal.

Mention must also be made of the obstinate and curious refusal by Buhari and his government, to, in the light of the rampant killings by herders across the country, stamp out the unwholesome activities of the MACBAN by declaring it and the Fulani militia as terrorist brands. In this regard, one must dismiss as fallacious the position by the current Sultan of Sokoto that the MACBAN of which he is the Grand Patron has no control over the conduct of the Fulani herders responsible for much of the mayhem in Benue and the rest of Nigeria. As the ideological, political and financial backbone of the Fulani herdsmen, it is mindboggling sophistry on the part of MACBAN to glibly claim that it bears no control or responsibility over these elements and their criminal ways. It is one of those tragic contradictions of the deeply alienating Buhari presidency that while it did needlessly and insolently engage in a pointless, cruel and self-serving lecture to Benue people and their leaders on accommodation and "restraint" - virtues which Benue citizens have historically shown they have in abundance - , it adamantly and blindly refuses to do the right thing by calling the MACBAN and its killer protégés to order.

Buhari's scandalous performance during his meeting with Benue leaders in Abuja has reinforced the terrible image alluding to his characteristic lack of empathy, not to mention his lack of humanity and compassion, toward those that are not of his Muslim or Fulani stock. Buhari added insult to injury by asking the Benue people to be accommodating of the killer herdsmen and their sponsors. The thoroughly ill-mannered and unpresidential outburst by Buhari during what should have been a fruitful summit with Benue leaders was a subliminal, if hubristic re-enactment of his infamous 2000 encounter with the then Oyo State governor during which he falsely and tempestuously accused the latter and the people of Oyo of killing his fellow Fulanis ("my people") in what were clashes between Fulani herders and local farmers. In an unfortunate resort to primordial impulses, the president did once again seek to establish the same "We versus them" dichotomy when he unabashedly tried to hector Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and his august delegation with his bullying but impudent and aberrational reprimand that they (the Benue leaders) restrain "your people". What an atrocious case of President Buhari doing what is tantamount to blaming the Benue victims of the organized mass killings and other heinous crimes by his fellow Fulanis! Buhari is a clear danger to inter-communal relations and by extension, to Nigerian unity. Of course, Buhari and his Miyetti brothers (He is a former Grand Patron of the outfit) must be reminded that the Benue people have always been both generous and accommodating toward other Nigerians. That accommodating spirit is reflected in the anti-open grazing law as well as in their welcoming disposition in general.

Tragically, Buhari and his lacklustre government have been fiddling while Benue and the rest of Nigeria burn. In the specific matter of the reported threats by MACBAN and its affiliates regarding their willingness to violently resist the implementation of the anti-open grazing law in Benue, Buhari and his allies not only failed to act on the warnings (through official correspondence and press releases) emanating from the Benue State government as well as admonitions by individuals and civil society groups. Tellingly, in the wake of the New Year mass killings by the Fulani militia, Buhari issued a tepid, bewildering and insensitive statement through his spokesperson in which he sought to cast aspersions on the integrity of Benue's anti-open grazing law! Earlier, we did allude to the shameful attempt by Buhari's surrogates to reject the impeccable and universally accepted solution of ranching by proposing the backward and highly provocative scheme of cattle colonies.

It is apparent that there is a disturbing streak of both sadism and unbearable inhumanity in Buhari as is evident in his attitude to the recent mass slaughters in Benue and their immediate aftermath. This reiteration of the following indicting examples : The president's worrisome refusal to forcefully and transparently go after the terrorist Fulani militia and their sponsors apart, the thoroughly callous and vile belittling by the morally challenged IGP Idris of the planned massacres in Benue, Buhari's futile and spurious attempts to denigrate the good people of Benue and the anti-open grazing law that is a product of their sovereign democratic will, his morbid obstinacy to dance on the fresh graves of the victims of the killer Fulani herdsmen and their supporters by callously and needlessly hosting ghastly bazaars of campaigning for his re-election even as he wickedly and in an unstatesmanlike fashion, rejected attending the mass funeral in Makurdi or sending a government representative. Buhari did further damage to his sinking reputation by not allowing the nation's flag to fly at half-mast in memory of the fallen in Benue. And he and his bumbling, insensitive regime have done worse. In a terrible display of mean-spiritedness, perfidy and abuse of office, the president and his subalterns have egregiously caused a sickening distillation in the media of unintelligent propaganda alluding to the existence of an imaginary armed militia belonging to the Benue State government. This is Buhari's clumsy, kneejerk but very revealing way of coming to the defense of the killer herdsmen and their sponsors responsible for the mass slaughters in Logo and Guma. In other instances, the convenient but false alibi of the alleged rustling of the sacred and above-human Fulani cow has been invoked by the terrorist Miyetti Allah association (and its allies in or outside government) to justify the genocide by the psychopathic Fulani militia in Benue State and elsewhere. The latest propaganda ploy has to do with the desperate but futile attempt to obfuscate and divert attention away from truly doing what is right in order to neutralize the deadly menace posed by Fulani killer herdsmen. For instance, instead of decisively dealing with the very credible and persistent reports that the murderous and terrorizing Fulani militia attacking Benue are mainly operating from bases in Nasarawa State, we are curiously being told that ISIS has been discovered in Benue, Kogi and Edo. Strangely, we are left guessing as to what the Buhari regime is doing about the alleged infiltration by foreign terrorists. Nigerians are discerning enough to merely accept the peddling of convenient alibis and morally reprehensible justifications of evil by Buhari and his fellow poltroons like his ghoulish and ethically-challenged minister of Defence called Mansur Dan-Ali.

The other day, after a security council meeting that was reportedly attended by President Buhari, in a wickedly pompous but nonsensical tirade, no doubt echoing the terrorist Miyetti Allah, the minister of Defence did obtusely and in Ku Klux Klan-like fashion, try to justify the organized mass murders by the killer Fulani militia in Benue and across Nigeria. He gruesomely threatened the inevitability of those murders and associated mayhem were the delusional and criminal intrusions by the Fulanis and their cattle not to be accepted by host communities! "Look at the issue (of killings in Benue and Taraba), what is the remote cause of this farmers' crisis? Since the nation's independence, we knew there used to be routes whereby the cattle rearers took because they are all over the nation. ..If those routes are blocked, what do you expect will happen? These are the remote causes of the crisis. But the immediate cause is the grazing law. These people are Nigerians and we must learn to live together with each other. Communities and other people must learn how to accept foreigners within their enclave, finish!"

The primitive and darkly primordial pro-Fulani militia vituperation by this Buhari Defence minister is more than a rabid and reprobate justification of the perennial murders by Fulani herders. It is also an incitement to homicide and other atrocities. Remarkably also, the Freudian slip inherent in Mansur Dan-Ali's curious outburst does deserve close scrutiny on account of its deeply offensive and irredentist implications. It bears mentioning that fanatical proponents of narrowly-defined Fulani nationalism in Nigeria and beyond do hold the fantasy of Fulani hegemonic revivalism "without borders" around a strong tribal figure and with Nigeria as the fulcrum for such a power-mongering, irredentist agenda à la Italian Risorgimento. For these jihadist revivalists, the coming to power of one of theirs, namely, President Buhari who happens to share dual kinship with them(as a Fulani and hegemonist ), has been a godsend of sorts. It goes without saying that Fulani irredentists see Nigeria as key to the projection of their supremacist ideology in especially the West African sub-region. It is the same mindset of tribalist domination and exclusion that is informing the complicit conduct of Buhari and his regime regarding the criminality of the Fulani militia and the foreign elements amongst them as revealed in the vile admonition by Minister Dan-Mansur. Interestingly, in a kneejerk manner, Mansur Dan-Ali exhibited primordial allegiance and solidarity, first with the killer Fulani militia terrorizing Benue and the rest of the country, and secondly, with the foreign elements (most likely of Fulani stock or culture) amongst the latter. Revealingly, neither empathy nor compassion was shown by Buhari's Defence minister toward the victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing by the deadly Fulani militia and their allies.

It must be stated clearly that under no circumstances should Nigeria be made a dumping ground for any group or clan imbued with divisive clannish and primordial yearnings. A security and immigration arrangement that pays lip service to our laws while at the same time pandering to criminal local as well as alien elements that are unleashed on unsuspecting communities in Benue State and elsewhere must be rejected. Such a skewed and unjust arrangement is inimical to our electoral democracy, to our national ethos of tolerance, justice, equity and unity. It is simply antithetical to good governance and development. The president should distance himself from his dangerous Defence minister by having him arrested and tried after his immediate sack. This should not in any way exclude the imperative on the part of the international community (through the relevant bodies of the U.N.) of having the defence minister, Buhari and key members of his regime account for the pogroms being perpetrated by the Fulani militia and its mercenaries. Significantly, also, it requires reiterating that apart from being indicative of the unbendingly pro-Fulani militia, pro-Miyetti Allah bias of Buhari and his regime, the execrable interjection by Minister Dan-Ali is an eloquent testimony to the grim reality that the Nigerian presidency under Buhari is peopled by the worst elements in the country, hence the apt allusion to it as a sinister kakistocracy that is inimical to the overall wellbeing of the nation.

Reassuringly, in stark contrast to the dispiriting and divisive narratives emanating from the dark bowels of Aso Rock Villa today, it requires mentioning that Governor Ortom has courageously and democratically made known his rejection of the so-called cattle colonies being irresponsibly and controversially peddled by Buhari and his stooges. The point has to made that Ortom is not alone in his solemn and sober rejection of the cattle colonies ploy. In much of the country and especially in the Middle Belt and the South, the criminal impunity associated with the rampant massacres by killer Fulani herdsmen, amongst other considerations like the paucity of land, has hardened opinions against the Fulani cattle colonies scheme with its potential consequences of exponentially increasing criminality and instability in the land. Cattle breeding, like crop farming, is a private business and government must not be seen as favoring herders over owners of other private enterprises.

We hasten to make the solemn declaration that Governor Samuel Ortom, the Benue State legislature, the entire leadership of Benue - political, traditional, religious, intellectual and otherwise - and importantly, its people, have all shown an unparalleled sense of duty and responsibility in seeing to it that the immensely pro-people law has been passed and is being implemented (and must remain implemented to the letter). This should send a clear and unmistakable message to all and sundry that Nigeria is a country of laws and that the peace-loving, law-abiding citizens of Benue State have opted for the rule of law in the face of the organized mass killings and other atrocities being perpetrated against them by the rampaging and homicidal Fulani militia. Benue and the rest of Nigeria rightly expect nothing short of full protection by President Buhari who swore to uphold the nation's constitution.

Let's conclude this exposé by sounding a note of extreme caution and urgency.

In a tragic but paradoxical turn of events, the coming to power on May 29, 2015 of the Buhari-led kakistocracy did immediately usher in palpable danger signs that the president and his little gang of fellow provincialists imbued with a scary sense of sectarian and primordial allegiances were hard at work and had remorselessly and stubbornly unleashed a sinister vision of ethno-religious superiority and exclusion. In their abiding truancy, this clique from the backwoods of Daura truculently refused to heed to wise counsel regarding the urgency of tackling the myriad challenges confronting our economy. In their misguided determination to foist a crude agenda of Fulani Islamist domination on the rest of the country, they cynically inflicted incalculable damage on Nigerian democracy by deliberately destroying the cohesion that had made the APC such a formidable and popular vehicle of hope and democratic change. By so doing, Buhari and his mafia of fellow dim-wits thought they could more easily impose their parochial vision. Their exclusion of the APC and the various power blocs that came together to help it win the 2015 election has meant that governance by the Buhari regime has been devoid of the useful and necessary input that would have meant such a difference.

At a political and existentialist level of significance, the APC must engage in the necessary soul-searching as the nation grapples with the avoidable Buhari debacle. Buhari and his small but eerie clique are dangerous for the party, dangerous for democracy and most certainly dangerous for the corporate survival of Nigeria. Buhari and his confederates are incorrigible. The president and his fellow kakistocrats did hijack a popular mandate and malevolently turned it into a reckless vehicle for the projection of devilish sectional and tribal hegemony. The APC and the entire country should be humble and yet sober enough to acknowledge that they made a terrible mistake by supporting the election of Buhari in 2015. It is time to ask the president to do the right thing by indicating well ahead of the end of his tenure his decision not to seek re-election in 2019. That should allow the APC to reinvent itself by working hard in order to win the next election with the singular but pressing objective of fulfilling the mission and the progressive mandate for which it was massively elected in 2015.

We are well aware of the now trending narrative of a so-called "third force" as a possible political and electoral alternative to either the APC or the PDP. We believe that the groundswell of resentment and repudiation by the Nigerian people at this critical juncture of Buhari and what he and his cabal have come to symbolize in the present scheme of things as is reflected in our position here does necessarily suggest the potent possibility of a democratic alternative that is a pragmatic negation of the nightmarish Buhari cul-de-sac. The Nigerian people (and by extension their representatives) are fundamentally a pragmatic lot and that pragmatism is exemplified in their overwhelming vote for change as promised by the APC rainbow coalition that has sadly been desecrated by Buhari and his clan of narrow-minded hedonists and "bokoharamites". If the need arises, the pragmatic pan-Nigerian political class will once again assume its historic responsibility and unite (under a formidable patriotic banner that may not necessarily take the glittering form currently being envisaged by Obasanjo and his associates) in the best interest of the nation in order to show Buhari and his fellow irredentists the door. That imperative will come sooner than later should Buhari recklessly and irresponsibly reject the popular clamor for him to quickly indicate his intention to quit at the end of his current sinecure. What this means is that any attempt by the president to impose a clone through rigging will be robustly resisted. Importantly also, Bola Tinubu, amongst other key (erstwhile?) allies of Buhari, should do the decent thing by unequivocally repudiating the man and what he has come to represent. Tinubu and other stakeholders should not be seen as providing succor to those that are complicit in the organized murders of innocent compatriots, not to mention their being responsible for the ruination of the Nigerian economy and the numbing paralysis, violence and social divisions now plaguing a country that is on the precipice of perdition.

Buhari, his little gang of fellow ethno-religious extremists and their caricaturist vision of Nigeria do stand condemned as being too noxious for the unity, stability, economic wellbeing and democracy of this potentially great country. Like the ANC was courageous enough to reject the sleaze-tainted vision of President Zuma, the leadership of the APC must do the right thing and repudiate Buhari and his agenda of North-centred cum Fulani segregationist dominion and hegemony as observed in his badly skewed appointments that are clearly meant to ensure the stranglehold of Muslims and Fulanis on the security apparatus as well as the critical levers of the country's economy. The NASS has a role to play by calling the president to order as far as the security failures of his government are concerned. NASS should pass legislation making it mandatory for the president to adhere strictly to the national character clause in the appointment of security chiefs and the overall composition of the security architecture of the country. A situation whereby the security set-up of the country is dominated by individuals of the same faith and ethnicity does not bode well in a pluralistic and volatile society like ours. When security chiefs (or those under them) are perceived as busy defending the parochial, selfish and primordial interests of the president or certain privileged groups (instead of Nigeria's national interests) like the terrorist Miyetti Allah, one is bound to be faced with worsening criminality and instability. As for the Muslims and especially the Fulanis of this country, they should in their decent and moderate majority rise up and strongly reject the divisive tendencies of a small but pernicious clique around Buhari and their reactionary, supremacist view of Nigeria that is bound to harm Fulani or Muslim interests in the long run. We should go back to the "equality in diversity" principle enshrined in the constitution. Benue State which has borne the brunt of the organized killings and depravity by the Fulani militia and their backers should, both in the short and in the long-term, work toward the enhanced security of its citizens by putting in place fiscal, economic, administrative and other legal measures aimed at the sustainable empowerment of the people and especially the most vulnerable in the rural areas. A place to start is in the area of security by way of armed vigilantes (financially and technically assisted by the federal government) like the kind operating in the North-East against the terrorist Boko Haram. In the aftermath of the New Year mass killings and wholesale destruction that are a continuation of the dark series of generalized and scorched earth despoliation of entire communities in Benue (and also in Nasarawa), the state's legislators in both Abuja and Makurdi had, in a joint communiqué, called for, among other things, a region or state-based national commission to handle the reconstruction needs of devastated communities. This is the right way to go.

More than ever before, Benue and other states should of necessity vigorously pursue the serious matter of restructuring as sine qua non for a better governed Nigeria. In that regard, state police is an idea whose time has come. We reject the diabolical fantasies being concocted by terrorists of the Fulani militia hue and their supporters and will never be rendered hewers of wood and drawers of water on our ancestral land. Benue and all of Nigeria must be secured at all times through a security arrangement that protects our people, their various economic activities and their way of life from the menace of criminals and bandits, both local and foreign. There are no second class citizens in this nation and Buhari and his gang of fellow kakistocrats have no right to set this country on fire with their paralyzing parochialism, not to mention their hegemonic, corrupt and unpatriotic ways, including their sabotage of the national economy as is the case in their gross dereliction of duty regarding the scorched earth mayhem being perpetrated by the killer Fulani militia. Every decent and honest Nigerian knows that ranching is the correct path for cattle rearing and the president should immediately do what is expected of him by educating his Fulani base and the entire citizenry as to its merits instead of engaging in diversionary committees and chimeras like the cattle colonies misadventure.

Finally, we call on the International community through the U.N., the AU, the various embassies (especially those of South Africa, the USA, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, respectively) to use their good offices and halt the genocide and other atrocities in Benue, Nasarawa State, much of the Middle Belt and elsewhere in Nigeria by the terrorist Fulani militia as well as see to it that the culprits are arrested and tried either in Nigeria or at the International Criminal Court. Enough is enough!

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