By Ayo Lijadu,
Since the government seems to have a mental block and appear to be at sea with regards to proffering a lasting and effective stoppage to the incessant attacks by these Fulani herdsmen, let me offer what I consider to be a list of practical steps that can be taken by the President and the Federal government to put an end to these attacks, or at the worst, mitigate them considerably.
- The Federal Government of Nigeria should immediately declare the Fulani herdsmen as a terrorist organization, just as it did to IPOB. This singular action will send a clear signal to these criminal marauders that they are not just taking up arms against isolated Nigerian communities, but against the Nigerian State, and that the Federal Government is treating them as enemies of the State deserving of being at the receiving end of every available military force the Federal Government can muster against such enemies of the State.
- All security Chiefs, starting with the IG of police and other Heads of Intelligence Units of the Armed Forces charged with providing internal security and intelligence, but who have thus far failed in their responsibilities of checkmating and curtailing these herdsmen menace, should immediately be relieved of their appointments, and other more competent personnel should be made to replace them, with a mandate to perform or face the fate of their predecessors.
- Just as former President Goodluck Jonathan privately engaged with his Niger Delta militant kinsmen, at the height of militant activities that threatened to paralyze the nation’s economy in that region, asking them to lay down their arms and stop the carnage, President Muhammadu Buhari should, as a matter of urgency, also begin to engage with his Fulani herdsmen kinsmen, ably represented by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, and instruct them to put an end to the criminal activities of their members, that is, the armed militant wing, failing which they, (the entire membership of the association), will be held vicariously liable for any further attacks and killings linked with the herdsmen.
- The Federal Government, in close collaboration with the States and Local government councils in the country that have either experienced attacks or are suspected to be prone to future attacks by these herdsmen, should do a mapping of all these identified, past and potential rural village community targets, for easy identification, accessibility, and planning purposes.
- With adequate data gathered from the mapping exercise, the Federal government, in collaboration with the state and local governments of those identified areas, should establish, arm, and train local vigilante groups, particularly unemployed youths of those communities, in the use of firearms for self defence against attacks of their communities. Since the Nigerian State is grossly under policed anyway, these newly established self defence/vigilante forces should be quickly integrated into the Nigeria Police Force, in particular under the nearest Police Command Units, but with a permanent mandate to remain at their local community duty posts to monitor security round the clock in those communities. Adequate temporary and permanent infrastructure to support their policing functions should also be provided.
With all the above suggestions diligently implemented, it will be difficult, if not near impossible, for marauding herdsmen to attack, annihilate, and sack whole communities, with little or no resistance from any quarter.
The BIG QUESTION, however is, DOES PRESIDENT BUHARI HAVE THE POLITICAL WILL TO SERIOUSLY CONSIDER, TALK LESS OF IMPLEMENTING, THESE MEASURES?
Is a politician and Actor from Lagos State