Published On: Wed, May 29th, 2019

Between Buhari govt and PDP (2)

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WEDNESDAY COLUMN by USSIJU MEDANER

info@medaner.com | justme4justice@yahoo.com

Considering the nature of nomadic herdsmen around Africa, even though moving with traditional weapons as cutlasses and machetes is common among them, they have, in recent times, added weapons like guns to their traditional arsenal. The nomadic herdsmen of East Africa for instance carry weapons to protect themselves and their herds from the attacks of wild animals. In Central and West Africa, the nomadic herdsmen carry weapons to protect their herds from cattle rustlers. Fulani herdsmen have lost millions of cattle to cattle rustlers in Nigeria. It has been revealed that cattle dealers in Lagos fund killings in some parts of the North to be able to acquire cheap cows from cattle rustlers: https://www.sunnewsonline.com/blood-money-how-lagos-cattle-dealers-fund-zamfara-killings/ Losing their source of livelihood makes them victims of rustling. They now resort to hawking fruits in cities and petty trading which is not a common means among the Fulanis. This makes them prone to being recruited into villainous acts by bandits/kidnappers.
Despite the efforts of the government in curbing the security challenges in the country, there is the need for the employment of more broad approach. Primarily, there should be intense intelligence gathering, collation and processing of various data. The number of registered veterinarians in Nigeria for instance, is too few compared to the number of cattle processed daily for slaughter. The veterinary workforce within the country needs to be increased. In addition to this, each animal within the herd of cattle and if there is any “defense weapon” of each herdsman should be tagged and tracked with smart chips. This would aid in identifying the exact location of each nomad, his animals and weapons which would be very essential in identifying those around any point of crisis.
The various security agencies should be more collaborative with each other which is another aspect of intelligence sharing . Intelligence gathering must be incentivised so as to be able to get real time information more easily. The security around our borders should be strengthened for any unauthorized and suspicious movements.
There should be more job opportunities for the increasing youth population especially those who have lost their sources of livelihood to rustling. One of the ways, if I may suggest , is to do more by increasing the standards of the ease of doing business which has been largely improved in the last four years.
Moribund industries in the country (especially in the areas with security challenges) should be resuscitated to improve the economic standards of both the state and the citizens. Loan schemes should be created for those whose livelihoods of herding have truncated by cattle rustlers. Certain amounts should be made available for them to be able to start their cattle business again and suitable payment plan.
Today, the Tiv and Junkun clashes across Taraba and Benue states have again culminated into a needless bloodbath induced by the age long rivalry between the two closest tribes ; the continuous clashes in the last weeks has led to the deaths of countless Nigerians.
Farmers were daily killed by the militants of the warring communities but we hardly hear about it in the mainstream media as is the case with certain killings. Governor Ortom and Darius , the chief security officers of Benue and Taraba States have no one to blame for their incapacity and had to quietly sue for peace and understanding.
We must all know that Nigeria is a federal state where each state is a federating unit wholly governed by a governor who is the chief security officer of the state. What is the PDP-led administration of Wike doing to abate the cult killings and demolition of peaceful co-existence in Rivers State? What is Ortom and Darius doing right now to settled and bring peace between the Tivs and Junkuns? Nothing! Yet no one is hearing any complain of mass killings from them or their media support houses. Buhari’s name is not involved ( again).
The president gave an order for the clamp down on insurgents and bandits in Zamfara and other affected States and since then all wailers and media houses went to sleep. No one is commending the security agencies by trying to root out the bandits and restore peace to the affected states. Even in their attempt to smear all good deed of the president, they still made attempt to propagate fake news of the Nigerian Air Force killing innocent people in in their operation.
Before 2015, the north east was not really a battlefield, but a slaughterhouse. The Boko Haram was inflicting pain on the populace of the region without adequate responses from the government. The region became dilapidated, unsafe and uninhabitable, to the extent that almost 17 LGA’s were under the control of the insurgents.
President Muhammadu Buhari inherited this mess from the previous administration of the PDP. The attention of the world was focused on Nigeria while our vocal section of the media houses were in business prospering from attacking the president. The opposition rained attacks using the killings in the Northeast as a spear. No one at any time considered the genesis of the insurgence, or the incompetence of the previous administration to address the issue regarding the insurgency when it should have( from the start).
Today, years after, unbelievable progress has been achieved in the region, the state governors are now building enduring and magnificent edifices of international standard as the region is undergoing reconstruction. PDP is not seeing this and neither is the report of good things coming out of the Northeast which is a hot cake for their media houses( then).
So how come about the claim of total breakdown of security in Nigeria where the activities of Boko Haram have become receded? Security situation in the Northeast and most North-central states including the FCT has greatly improved unlike in the last few years when people cannot afford the comfort of public gathering including regular visits to markets for fear of when the next bomb would blast.
Or were they referring to the violence in Zamfara State where the security are dealing the right treatment to the bandits? How many killings have you heard from the state in the last two to three weeks aside the growing number of decimated bandits by the gallant officers and men of the security forces ?
Or maybe still, Mr. Secondus and the PDP were referring to the incompetence of the state governments of Rivers, Benue and Taraba states that failed to reconcile warring communities; l to bring peaceful coexistence to their citizens from internal and cult clashes which continue to ravage the states. The insecurity in these states would abate when these men stop playing politics with the lives of their people.
The governors of these states made a lot of noise castigating the president about killings involving “Fulani herders” before the elections. Suddenly, there are quiet like if the herders have repented. The killings have changed places and we now hear of Jukuns killing the Tivs or the other way .
In a recent interview with Sunday Vanguard, the former governor of Kaduna State Alhaji Balarabe Musa said that there would be a rebellion or a coup d’état if the situation in the country deteriorated. In the first instance, referring to the situation of the country, the security challenges facing various parts of the country are being handled by the security operatives, villains are being arrested on daily basis but there is also the number of individuals (a percentage of the entire population as stated above ) engaged in criminal activities. In an article by The Washington Post, it was revealed that in the United States, the youth aged between 15 and 30 constitute 10% of the population but commits 63% of the homicides : (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/18/10-percent-of-the-population-commits-63-percent-of-the-homicide/).
If 5% to 10% of every population have the tendency to be delinquent, this makes the figure for our country( Nigeria) somewhere between 10 to 20 million individuals. This is part of the reason that despite the arrests made by our security agencies daily, the crimes seem to be “persistently” committed.
Considering the prison inmates population of our country, it can be inferred that our security operatives are working to see that crime is rooted out of the streets for good. Nigerian prisons are more congested than the United States prisons: (http://prisonstudies.org/country/nigeria, https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/youth2018.html).
But this endeavour by the security agencies is rendered inconsequential by the most of the local press which focuses only on the crimes committed while ignoring the efforts of the security outfits in handling the situation. The section of the media also complicate issues by terrifying more in the masses and making the situation more gruesome than it truly is.
Another major problem is the nature of policing: community policing is a good step towards tackling the menace. The recent development where the FG is deciding to send allocations directly to the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of each state in the federation would improve the efficiency at LGAs and strengthen the idea of community policing. The chairman of each LGA is the chief security officer of the local government and is burdened with the task of managing security breaches within the area before further intervention is required from higher tiers of government. He is to carry out his duties with the assistance of the police department in his LGA.
The NFIU/ FG policy of sending local government allocations directly to the LGAs, the local government administration would regain activity and be able to handle some security challenges before it gets out of hand. This would be via some interventions with the DPO and some other security details sent to the LGA to reduce the security burden on the state government. The funds sent to the LGAs cannot be abused because the National Financial Intelligence Unit will monitor money withdrawn from the account, hence these funds would be used judiciously to better the LGAs: the local government administration would be able to create more jobs thereby reducing redundancy among the youths in the LGA. There should be adequate funding for the security agencies as well as accountability in the use of the funds
Some interventions do not actually require doling out cash to individual. For instance, in the North where cattle are being rustled (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/229604-600-herdsmen-killed-two-milolion-cattle-rustled-two-years-miyetti-allah.html), creating an incentive scheme where each victim of rustling is given calves worth ₦2 million which could be about 50 in number, in loans, they could start a new life and those who may be engaging in any form of crime would consider this as a way out of their criminal lifestyle. The repayment plan should be soft in order not to discourage participation. Ranches should be created where necessary and the routes they used to follow which have been mostly destroyed by development should be studied and modified to meet the current realities of the geography of the country.

*GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA*

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