Friday, January 6, 2017

Grazing Reserves And Southern Kaduna Massacre

By Gbemiga Olakunle
We are watching with breathtaking amazement the level of destruction of lives and property reportedly going on in Southern Kaduna. The conflict in the area has claimed about 808 lives, while about 57 persons suffered life threatening injuries in the hands of suspected Fulani herdsmen. The body language of The Presidency on this situation is troubling. President Muhammadu Buhari has not uttered any word of condemnation on the reported mass killing that can be likened to genocide.

However, the Sultan of Sokoto has reportedly frowned at the wanton destruction of lives and property in the area. The respected traditional ruler and head of the Muslim community in Nigeria, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, has even advised President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir El-Rufai to put an end to the crisis in the area. In his condemnation of the killings, the Sultan declared that fundamental Islamic law forbids the unlawful destruction of lives and property, except for a just cause. While defending his principal, the presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, was also quoted as saying that there is no need for the President to speak on the killings since the Kaduna State Governor, El-Rufai, is on top of the matter as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the State.
Rev. Father Paul Jatau has, however, accused the governor of being complacent in his handling of the contentious matter. In fact, the Rev. Father went ahead to allege that it was the refusal of the Southern Kaduna residents to turn their lands into grazing reserves for the Fulani herdsmen that formed the bedrock of the crisis. About 808 human lives are reportedly lost in a particular section of a Federating Unit within the Federal Republic of Nigeria and yet the Presidency has not deemed it fit to utter a single word or condemnation whether it means it or not!
We are talking of human lives here and not those of chickens. Even if such lives belong to other animals, what does it cost the authorities concerned to condemn  such unwarranted destruction in unmistaken terms before going ahead to investigate the matter with a view to getting to its root and stopping it? Since the Sultan of Sokoto and the President of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has strongly condemned the destruction and advised both the President and the Governor of the affected State on what to do, there is no need to further over-flog the matter.

The concerned authorities have their own living consciences, too. Fulani herdsmen again? Their issue has become a recurrent decimal in our National Security discourse.It is either they are involved in the destruction of human lives and property, the destruction of farmers crops, kidnapping for ransom and, sometimes, armed robbery. We thank God that the Sultan of Sokoto- himself a foremost Fulani man and scion of Othman Dan Fodio – has used several fora to condemn and distance himself from the activities of these rampaging Fulani herdsmen. It was revealed that these culprits are foreigners and not Nigerians. And if, indeed, they are itinerant /migrant Fulani herdsmen from foreign lands, should the government at whatever level continue to watch as they systematically disrupt the peace of our nation or any part thereof?
This should be food for thought for those concerned. In its own reaction to massacre, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the Southern Kaduna killings in the strongest terms. It also directed its members through a statement credited to the General Secretary of the body that Sunday January 8, 2017 should be observed as a day to identify with the travails of the residents of Southern Kaduna through prayers and a mourning mood. Black has also been recommended as the dress code for the day to reflect the mood of the people.
The year 2016 might be a wailing year with a lot of gory tales for the people of Southern Kaduna as their loud cries and agonies were not considered loud enough to attract an appropriate response from those that should be concerned, but they should rest assured that the Heavens have noted their plight and will intervene on their behalf by moving the hearts of those in authority to render the  justice due to them and their assailants “…Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning”-Psalm 30:5(b), KJV.
Olakunle writes via 

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