Monday, March 12, 2018

Nigeria: Who Will Halt The Bestiality In Benue, Etcetera?

By Dan Amor
Irrational impulses are not surprising in the stress and tension that characterize a demented society. In an atmosphere of violence, reason is sometimes abandoned and humanitarian principles forgotten. The inflamed passions of the time lead men to commit atrocities. But the concern here is not with the psychological pathology of those who commit atrocities but rather with what has turned our nation into a slaughterhouse where human beings are daily killed with intimidating alacrity. Throughout modern history, atrocity propaganda has often mesmerized readers thousands of kilometres from the scene of the crime. Often, the improbability of the actions described suggests that the stories were little more than fantasies concocted for diverse reasons from even more diverse sources.

But the reading public in Nigeria has invariably evinced a morbid absorption with the most nightmarish aspects of this national tragedy. It is indeed fashionable to observe that material which should create a moral aversion to the cruelty of our present times often produces a perverse fascination instead. There is, candidly speaking, an alarming rate of mockery killings in Nigeria, especially under the Buhari administration. There are gruesome stories of rapes, mutilations, perversities and child and mother murders.
An extremely partisan and sympathetic public is willing to read and believe almost anything, if it were tinged with sadism. It is hard to explain why the change promised Nigerians by Buhari and his yea sayers has come with such enormous burdens including death. Much of the savagery connected with our current bloodletting could be explained in the violence inherent in the characters of the buccaneers who have misruled us for all these miserable years.
If truly democracy is preferred to military rule all over the world, why are Nigerians going through this hell of experience in a democratic dispensation? Why is the government turning a blind eye to the holocaust and pornography of violence going on in some states of the federation, especially Benue, Southern Kaduna, Plateau and Taraba? At first, they told the world that the Fulani herdsmen killing thousands of Nigerians in their homes and farms were from neighbouring West African countries. When the outrage became unbearable for them, they started mouthing attenuations that the killings were as a result of inter communal clashes. Now, almost everybody knows that this is terrorism sponsored and lavishly funded by highly placed Fulani billionaires both in government and outside government ostensibly to eliminate the entire Christian population in the north and impose Islam on all parts of Nigeria. Why are Nigerians objects of intimidation, genocidal massacre, annihilation, rape and abysmal extermination in their own country? Why would a sitting president say that the killings in Taraba were more than the ones in Benue and Zamfara and the following day more killings became manifest in Benue before his proposed visit to that state? Who will understand his hyperbole? What is the primary responsibility of government if not the protection of lives and property of its citizens?
Why is the Federal Government exonerating itself from responsibility and complicity in the bestiality in Benue, Taraba, Zamfara, Plateau, Southern Kaduna and some states in the Southern parts of the country, while blaming state governors for trying to curtail the mayhem in their respective states? Why are our security agents supervising the brutal killings of innocent Nigerians in their homes, farms and places of worship? What are our elected representatives in the National Assembly saying to this carnival of lawlessness going on in Nigeria since Buhari assumed rulership of this misbegotten country? Where are the popular media, members of the civil societies and human rights community? Where are the International Community, the Diplomatic Corps, the African Union, the European Union, and the United Nations? Why are other state governors silent whereas some states are burying their citizens on a daily basis? Is there any voice from any part of the world to speak up against this well organized and well coordinated genocide against armless and defenseless Nigerians? Where is God, the Defender of the defenseless in all this?
Why are Nigerian youths allowing themselves to be used in the senseless killings of other Nigerians? When will this madness stop? It might sound alarming to articulate that all criminals are victims of the attempt by the ruling class in society to maintain hierarchy. For, any other conclusion denies original innocence, or, in effect, advances that men are criminals before they are born. But we are often the unconscious prisoners of our type of society, of the conflicts occurring in it and of their hegemonic nature. Yet, we are not able to articulate and state thoughts which would liberate us and would help our institutions out of their vicious cycle. Where is that Nigerian who does not know that the real criminals in our midst today are those who force themselves on us as our rulers? There is no gainsaying the fact that even the function of our contemporary penal system is to maintain privilege. A history of the growth and transition of punishment and correction offers the clearest possible linkage between privilege and the manner in which societies suppress classes of individuals who are considered threats to the status quo or the existing social structure.
The dimension of the current spate of killings and political assassinations shows a high level of greed, complicity and injustice even among members of the sadistic ruling class itself. Consequently, it is necessary to strip from the social institution of violence its ethnic, religious and ideological veils and juristic appearance and to address it in its real relationship. It is the relationship between crime and privilege. The Federal Government's arcane theory that the solution to the barbaric killings of Nigerians by Fulani militias lies in the abrogation of anti open grazing laws by state governors and in the accommodation of the killers by the victims needs forensic interrogation. When did cattle rearing which is the private business of a few wealthy reactionary hegemonists become the responsibility of all Nigerians? Why would innocent Nigerians bear the brunt of the private business of a few interlopers?
It would, of course, be absurd to deny that government is responsible for the carnival of anomie that has enveloped this misbegotten country. Let me repeat: only demagogues and abstract doctrinaires with limpid hypocrisy can deny that a great number of abominable crime is daily being committed by governments across the world. Amidst considerable chaos and confusion, our predators are still walloping in affluence and under the best security system one can think of. This APC government is presiding over the worst form of divide-and-rule system in Nigeria. The National Assembly must be alive to its responsibility, otherwise, the victims might be forced to resort to self help. Nigeria is being pushed to another dangerous precipice. It hardly seems a time for timidity and restraint!
*Mr. Amor, a public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja

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