A prominent Civil rights group – Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has faulted federal government’s deliberate refusal to arrest, prosecute and punish sponsors of armed Fulani terrorism for the ongoing blood bath in parts of Plateau State.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the one hundred percent blame for the spate of attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen falls squarely on the desk of the Commander-in-chief of Nigerian Armed Forces who has retained all the security chiefs who are of Fulani/Hausa Muslim affiliations just like the alleged perpetrators of the armed Fulani terror attacks in direct breach of the Federal Character Principles.
He said that the ease with which armed Fulani herdsmen operate freely, killing, maiming and destroying Nigerian farmers in the North of Christian origin showed that there was a serious decision at the top not to take action against the killings.
HURIWA said from all indications, some highly placed officials in the current administration, including the minister of Defence have already taken sides and may have decided not to take any measure to bring the armed Fulani herdsmen to book due to Ethno-religious considerations which runs contrary to the tenets, letters and spirits of the Constitution.
The group asked the presidency to stop shedding crocodile tears each time armed Fulani herdsmen slaughtered unarmed Nigerians in the hundreds.
“We have consistently called on President Muhammadu Buhari who ought to behave like the father of the nation for the duration of his four year tenure but we have called on him in the last three years to declare Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association a terrorist group and to round up and prosecute the top officials of this body who had in the past granted media interviews threatening to stop the implementation of the anti-open grazing law just as the plateau and Kaduna states’ branches had threatened to go after alleged cattle rustlers in parts of plateau and Southern Kaduna shortly before each of the deadly attacks had happened but our calls have fallen on deaf ears and indeed our national coordinator had instead come under direct threats twice by a powerful serving military General holding a strategic command position questioning why our group has consistently condemned the armed Fulani terrorism. Our lives are now under severe threats for speaking out to condemn the bloodcuddling attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.
“But rather than respect the constitutional oath of office he subscribed to and employ decisive legal based mechanisms to tackle the killings President Buhari had chosen to always issue dry press statements mourning the victims even as his Defence Minister had on many occasions blamed Benue, Taraba for the attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen because of the anti-open grazing law. On his own part the minister of interior whose officials have failed to stop the proliferation of sophisticated weapons used by armed Fulani herdsmen has stayed put in office and has refused to behave like a gentleman and quit honourably so Nigeria can have an effective Interior security minister.
“Nigerians must understand that the solution to these spate of killings rests squarely with President Muhammadu Buhari who has all the constitutional powers to decisively crush the sponsors and attackers who are not ghosts but are linked to Miyetti Allah because of the numerous threats this group had issued in the media before attacks are carried out but the President prefers to issue tepid press statements and after which another spate of organised killings by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen take place.
“By his constitutional oath, Mr. President ought not to pamper or tolerate Miyetti Allah even if the officials and members share same religious and ethnic background unless the current government is bent on scuttling constitutional democracy.
“We totally condemn the spate of killings in parts of Plateau state and other parts of Nigeria masterminded by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen. We totally reject the press statement by President Buhari reportedly regretting the killings when he has the power to declare the killers as terrorists but the government is currently planning to spend N170 Billion of tax payers’ money to seize/confiscate ancestral lands of Nigerians for the purposes of erecting ranches for private Fulani owners of cows. This is totally illegal and unconstitutional.
“How can this government be so insensitive and irresponsible to carry on with a jamboree of the political party in power at the center in the name of a charade called national convention with 5,000 armed policemen guarding less than 2,000 people but over 100 innocent children, women and old men were killed same time by armed Fulani herdsmen ?.
“Nigerians must speak out and hold sustained public protests and civil disobedient actions in absolute condemnation of these selective genocides now before armed Fulani herdsmen take their killings to other parts of Nigeria,” it stated.