Any way you slice it, President Muhammadu Buhari has created a caste of privileged untouchables in terrorist herdsmen. They are his sacred cows. They are free of the inhibition of law and order. They are at liberty to kill without let or hinderance.
Buhari has made celebrities out of the Myetti Allah nihilist. He adores their barbaric lifestyle. Their crimes do not count with him. The more they extend their binge killing, the more star-struck he becomes.
In Buhari’s book, a genocide perpetrated in the name of cattle rearing is acceptable. He views the freestyle killings as essential. The serial massacres and the mass burials are a necessary trade-off that must continue for the pristine ethos of all-important Fulani nomadism to survive modernity.
Buhari has no sense of irony or shame. In the aftermath of the wanton killing of people in Plateau State by Myetti Allah, he issued a self-indicting press statement expressing his fantastic success in presiding over the degeneration of the country he leads to a slaughterhouse. He regretted that human life was becoming cheap in Nigeria.
Mr. Buhari told a half-truth when he said that Nigerian lives were becoming worthless. The other untold half is that he is actively compelling the depreciation of human beings at the expense of the cattle herds. He is aggressively implementing a policy of perverse speciesism which promotes the prosperity of livestock at the cost of human posterity.
It’s hard to miss the fact that Buhari’s concern about the Plateau carnage did not touch on the issue of irreparable annihilation of hundreds of fathers, mothers and children. His crux of his lamentation was that people were ‘politicizing’ the killings. His unscrupulous adversaries have ‘’continued to pursue their quest for instability and chaos which they hoped would give them an advantage in the coming elections.’’
Buhari has no regard for the sanctity of human life, an ideal ingrained in the collective unconscious of the human race. In the midst of widespread grief and angst, Buhari was seeking to divert the traffic of sympathy to himself. The narcissist was selling himself as the ultimate victim. He was parading himself as the missed target of the killings.
Buhari was playing politics over the bodies of Nigerians. He was assaulting the sensibilities of the living in a time of mourning. He was retailing his trademark blame-somebody propaganda. He was indulging in his pastime of blaming his imaginary enemies. He was talking of winning the next election not averting the next loss of human lives.
Each time the herdsmen run amok and leave the Nigerian press scrambling to determine the correct number of fatalities, Buhari neither acts like a grieved man nor a hurting leader. He gives the nation ritualized handwringing. He makes vacuous remarks. He wheels out an anodyne condemnation of the killings and frames the disaster within his illusory context of ‘’herders/farmers clash.’’
When he visited Plateau Jos, Buhari said that it behooved Nigerians to pray the killings to cessation. He outsourced his commander in chief responsibility to God. The Almighty will stop the killings if Nigerians importuned Him.
Buhari knows the asymmetry of the violence. He knows the herdsmen are the bloodthirsty provocateurs. But wild horses won’t make him admit it. The hypocrite sticks with avoidance of the nagging challenge of criminality. He would dish out hogwash but never authorize a comprehensive operation against the terrorists.
Buhari is given to hyping his integrity. He is empty of that virtue. There is a vacuum of values at his core.
No man of integrity can countenance the routine slaughter of his fellow humans when he is in a position to stop it. No upright leader will protect an in-group of mass murderers from his own official obligation to guarantee the security of life and property of the larger society. No decent man will circle the bandwagon of a legion of evil.
In reality, Buhari is a callous caricature of a human being. What beats beneath his chest is a cold rock. He is so unfeeling that he might well be a piece of sculpture.
Buhari has infected his administration with the groupthink that the herdsmen are entitled to deracinate, depopulate and devastate anywhere they fancy. The herdsmen must not be interrupted in the quest to annex any land. They must not be implicated for any atrocity they commit under the guise of pastoralism.
The result: the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Femi Adesina, says ‘’members of the opposition are responsible for the widespread killings.’’ The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, says the presidency has proof that corrupt politicians are fueling the crisis in order to wrong-foot the incorruptible angel president.
What’s more, the Minister of Defense, Mohammed Dan-Alli, claims that the terrorists deserve an apology. The states passed laws inimical to nomadism. The anti-open grazing laws pushed the herdsmen to kill in protest. And the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, warns that state governments must appease the herdsmen rather than passing ‘provocative’ anti-open grazing laws.
The Nigerian state is on the side of the Fulani herdsmen. The herdsmen know it. That is the secret of their brutal bravado.
In spite of the spate of attacks, Buhari has not deemed it urgent to sack the incompetent heads of the security agencies. Almost all of them are from the North and share the same tribe with the herdsmen. He probably figures there is no need changing a winning team!
On June 1, 2017, 5 Christians killed a Fulani herdsman. They were promptly arrested and prosecuted and sentenced to death –with lightning speed that is alien to the workings of the Nigerian judicial system.
In contrast, on 29th October, 2016, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo said, at a townhall event with some Nigerians in Houston, Texas, that security agencies have arrested about 800 herdsmen over the wave of extremist attacks but reportedly ‘’decried the slow pace of the criminal justice system which is affecting the prompt trial of such suspects.’’
20 long months after, the trial of the 800 have yet to begin. The suspects have been secretly released from custody. Their cases have died a natural death.
Yet, Osibanjo, the professor of law and minister of God, dutifully follows the trail of the bloodshed. He flies to the newest scene to condole with the victims and hold out hope that the Buhari administration is working to ‘’review the country’s security architecture.’’
The cliché has been sounded countless times. It has not slowed the killing streak. The body count keeps rising. And the Buhari keeps comforting Nigerians and shielding the terrorists.
Muhammadu Buhari is the patron saint of Myetti Allah. He is their licensor and guarantor. He is the cause and source of their audacity. They owe their immunity to his grace and good pleasure.
The killings will continue. Buhari’s sacred cows will not be touched. They will do more wickedly. And the dead will keep burying the dead. It’s a vicious circle.
Nigerians are special in three qualities: the limitless elasticity of their pain threshold, their boundless capacity to rationalize man-made disaster and their incurable Stockholm syndrome.
Buhari may win a second term because Nigerians barely have more sense than cows.
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu
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