As We Wait For Buhari's Response To The 50 Nigerians Killed In Benue
The account of the massacre given by the governor of Benue state was harrowing. The raiders came in typical style and killed at will, men, women and children. They set fire to homes and farms, burning flesh, wood and brick alike. This time it was governor Ortom's very own village. These terrorists do not discriminate one farming village from the other. The same way they raid and set farming villages ablaze in Borno is the same way they light them up and fill the paths with blood in Benue, Enugu and Ekiti.
Their enemy is clear: the farmers and their farms. A weeping governor Ortom narrated how they burned hectares of rice farms. It does not take a rocket scientist to get what's happening here or what was happening in Borno; with the insurgent and not political Boko Haram, that is.
Chief of Internal Security, Buratai Agrees They Are Boko Haram
Dare I say, to our relief the Nigerian 'chief of global security,' Lieutenant General T. Y. Buratai has finally admitted that these men ravaging the middle belt and south of Nigeria are the same 'ol Boko Haram. It took a lot of convincing for the man Buhari has put in charge of Nigeria's internal security to admit this feature of the spread of terror that we have long wailed about.
The target is the farmers. Dislodged from the Sambisa forest, these enemies of farmers have spread wide in the hinterland and gone deeper than before. They do not attack towns. They do not attack senators and governors. Their enemy is the farmer. Their need can only be the land.
It was obvious these guys are Boko Haram. Was Khalid al-Barnawi not arrested in Kogi state. We all know Boko Haram has a fortress in the state. And the reports had been clear that as Muhammed Zurai/Zure confessed on the 7th of May, they gathered and plotted the Enugu massacre in Kogi state after being invited by kola paid from Nimbo Fulani herders...sorry, I meant to say, Libyan herders. It's interesting to realize that Boko Haram was a Libyan thing all along, is it not?
When and Will Buhari Condemn this Latest Terror Event?
We have no doubt grown accustomed to the senseless loss of life in Nigeria. Had 50 people been massacred in any other country in the world, it would have made repeated headlines and there would have been total local and global condemnation. But Nigerian farmers' lives do not matter...even with the tomato scarcity, they are just not that important. I'd say a Nigerian farmer's life is worth about 50 kobo.
When a handful of foreigners were killed in a hotel in Ivory Coast, we heard the President condemn the act of terror within hours. Likewise the murder of 32 people at an airport in holocaust Leopold's Belgium saw an immediate statement of condemnation from our President. But as darkness covers Nigeria, we are yet to hear a whimper. It's quiet in Nigeria. The day has passed; there has been no reaction from the President to the abrupt seizing of the lives of 50 Nigerians. 50 more Nigerians who will never experience the so-called change, and died when there was no power, no water, no work, no money, a skyrocketed dollar, hiked petrol and a promise of road tariffs. That's the memory they took to their graves...hoping they are buried and not rotting in the bushes where they ran.
Don't get me wrong. I know Buhari is busy and I know Ramadan starts in a few days so he has to prepare, but what about his aides, secretary and media men? When they do not speak on his behalf then you begin to wonder whether it is by policy and if there is a misconception that admitting terror strikes within the state in any way is deemed as failure of governance. Of course you and I know it is not; but do they?
...So Buratai Can Send Arase...
And don't ask why I bother. You and I know how our security department under overall boss Buratai works. If Buhari does not give marching orders to Buratai, he will not tell Arase to go and seek out those behind the carnage; or usurp Arase's role and investigate the crime himself. The perpetrators have had a full headway to escape back into their hideouts. It's already past the 24 hour mark after the attack when it gets most impossible to solve the crime. This is why I beg for Buhari's response and his marching order.
Will We Hear A Promise Of A "Crushing Response?"
Will Buratai promise us a crushing response as has been serially repeated in threat to the Niger Delta Avengers? I will not be holding my breath. It was mere people who were killed, mere farmers of tomato and not a pipeline bombed. We should be more upset when a pipeline is bombed than when a mere 50 human beings are slaughtered, should we not? Even though, borrowing from born-again Reuben's latest production, a bottle (liter) of tomato is more expensive than a liter of petrol. More than 10 times more expensive in fact, can we count on the promise of a crushing response to these terrorists who destroy our precious, photosynthesizing carbon resource, if we put the lives aside for a minute?
I must admit, I have had to agree with governor Fayose on many occasions these days. Like him I had campaigned for the devaluation of the naira long ago. Had it been devalued on time, perhaps the steady rate will be below 250 today. But when he organised and supported hunters to defend the community, I could not agree with him more while I prayed he will direct them on some form of professionalism in their conduct. Who will wait for Buhari to tell Buratai to tell Arase to act? You know how I supported the Civilian-JTF with words, money and non lethal tools. If the people sit down and wait for the government...any government, they will die on their seats. That is established.
So join me in saying a prayer that when Buhari wakes up today or tomorrow, he responds to the horrific act of carnage to our farmers and directs Buratai to direct Arase to go and get the culprits.
May the kind Lord give their families the fortitude to bear the loss and give the injured and maimed the strength to live on, and may He protect the unprotected.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah; @EveryNigerian; also on http://Naija.Live online radio