THE persistent insecurity that has become the bane of Nigeria’s political economy for nearly two decades from a bird’s eye view could have started on the Plateau, in September 7,2001. Barely 4 days before September 11 on the USA; it rocked the city and state to stupor when it first manifested in ethno-religious garment, but kept changing its chameleonic nature, confusing the undiscerning of its hidden interest, and snowballing full cycle: Boko Haram, cattle rustling, herdsmen/farmers clash; and government’s reaction from cattle ranching, cattle colony, and now Ruga. As it lasted, killings bloodshed, kidnappings, rape and forceful occupation of indigenous peoples’ ancestral farmlands became the narrative.
WHICH is why, last week Thursday, August 15, 2019 at Laminga, a suburb of Jos City, the Conference of Autochthonous Ethnic Nationalities Community Development of Association (CONAECDA) and celebration of UN year of Indigenous Languages, 2019 of the 19 Northern States, raised their voices to join other Nigerians urging the Federal Government to recover lands forcefully occupied by invaders in the north and return same to their ancestral owners to protect their languages from going into extinction.
THE Fulani herdsmen cum Boko Haram terrorism which today has been rated the third most deadly terror group after the likes of ISIS, Al-Qaida, Al-Shabbab, has rendered rural Nigeria a killing field, and its stock in trade is to attack communities by night, kill, maim, loot, kidnap, rape and outright forceful occupation of the indigenous peoples ancestral farmlands, after chasing away the surviving ones. As if adding salt to injury, no order from government of the day has ever been given to arrest any of such criminals who have constituted themselves as a “government within a government.”
THE kid gloves treatment and impunity has continued to spark national and international outcry. The whole thing portrays the government in bad light, and is tantamount to have taken side in favour of the Fulani herdsmen, an attitude that is said to have further emboldened them to any resistance by other Nigerians. And while the killings last, the Federal Government’s preoccupation with only what matters to the Fulani herdsmen alone, shows it insensitivity to the plight of victims of such uncalled for violence.
TODAY, out of a total of 40 million people estimated to be in IDP camps as a result of conflict and violence at the end of 2017, 76% of IDPs are concentrated in just 10 countries, one of which is Nigeria. Africa as a whole is said to host about 15 million in 2018, and Nigeria has 24 million people as IDPs. Can there be peace, security and togetherness upon the foundation of injustice? Can there be peace with millions of Nigerians reduced to beggars in their own country, without education and no hope of settling down to normal life in their abodes? Any wonder why insecurity has defied the nation’s security measures, but rather peak to an all-time high without cessation.
The consequences of all these, is a diminishing capacity in the political economy, especially in the agricultural sector, worsening food security and ultimately, frustrating the Federal Government’s policy measures to diversify the national economy from a mono-cultural oil based, to agriculture, solid minerals manufacturing etc. rendering it an exercise in nullity. Could these be attractive to foreign investors?
WE, without reservation join our voices to the helpless ethnic indigenous communities, under CONAECDA, to insist that the Federal Government under PMB must call a spade-a spade, to resettle these peoples to their ancestral farmlands without further delay.
The conference of the ethnic nationalities consider the current security challenges a serious threat to the existence of minority languages in the North, where communities have been displaced and lands invaded by foreigners. If the spirit of Nigeria’s constitution is being practiced, where is the clause on unity in diversity, live and let live, not loading it over minority people groups?