By George Onmonya Daniel
The problem of the President Buhari’s government is its lack of respect for any tribe in Nigeria, not listening to anyone, lack of empathy for the people who were killed and being killed in this whole Fulani militia intimidation and killings of people in their ancestral home to force them into negotiations, stupid arrogance and the assumption that because they are in power they can do anything they want.
The recent case of federal government’s attempt to impose the grazing reserve project on Benue State government and its people, without consideration for the laws of the state simply shows how moronic some of the people working and advising President Buhari are.
First of all, there are hundreds of families in Refugee camps in Benue State, and both the Benue state and federal government haven’t done much about their plights. Their villages were attacked, some of these villages set ablaze and burnt down, and their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, killed, and they are driven out to no man’s land, the refugee camps around Makurdi and Benue State.
Without resettling this people, without bothering to, with no concrete plans at rebuilding and resettling them, with so many people still hurting, the president’s people, without consulting the Benue State government or caring about the feelings of the people of Benue, quickly went to Benue to start their cattle colony.
The strategy of this government in resolving this herdsmen/farmer crisis, if there is any strategy at all, is utter disregard for farmers, the people living in their ancestral home. The federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari has never shied away from open support for the Fulani herdsmen.
It is just a one way affairs, the farmers must give the Fulani herdsmen land, they have no say in this. Is it not common sense that no one would want to be the neighbor of their killers so soon? It was Thucydides who wrote that, “people go to war out of honor, fear and interest.” The federal government doesn’t study, so it wouldn’t understand that it is out of honor, fear and interest, that is making all the States reject the cattle colony they want to shove on their throats.
The divisive herdsmen/farmers debate is still ongoing, but it is obvious that the federal government is not willing to listen to anyone. They don’t even want to convince anyone why the cattle colony or whatever they call it, is good for the people where they are building them, or engage with them, they just want to do it their own way. Not caring about the views of the farming communities is a recipe for disaster.
Epictetus said, “we are not troubled by things, but by the opinion we have of things.” The opinion of the farming communities of the Middle Belt is that this whole thing is the politics of land grabbing, thanks to the morons in Abuja, chaired by Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Audu Ogbe, who without thinking refer to whatever plan they have for the Fulani herdsmen as Cattle COLONY.
The federal government is doing everything wrongly on this whole herdsmen/farmers situation. They are giving the impression or have already given an impression that because the president is Fulani, he wants a Fulani colony for his people; he is taking side with his people, by overlooking atrocities committed in the name of herding and under the guise of cattle rustling.
The federal government is inflaming the crisis. Some of the people advising President Buhari are not just insensitive and lack savvy of understanding how things work, they make President Buhari look so incompetent and even foolish.
What the herdsmen have done overtime on this issue is to use violence and threats of violence as a means of negotiations. The federal government seems to encourage that sort of behavior, that’s why instead of ask the security apparatuses to do their jobs, they are negotiating with all sorts of criminals.
They are negotiating with Boko Haram, bandits, Fulani herdsmen, people who have no genuine reason of picking arms against the Nigerian State. How many of the negotiations have worked?
President Buhari and his people should listen to everyone on this issue. Their action on this whole establishment of grazing reserve in Benue State without agreement of the Benue State government and its people simply shows lack of respect to the people of Benue State. The people are seeing it as an invasion, plot to colonize them, and it is not going to work.