ARREST ALL KILLERS, NOT BENUE KILLERS ALONE

The Nigerian Senate yesterday gave the Inspector General of Police (IG) 14 days to arrest and prosecute Benue killers.



While the
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) welcomes this development, we see the need for
clarification and modification of Senate’s request.



In the first
place, we need to ask whether the killers who should be arrested are just
herdsmen who have been accused of killings in Benue. If this is so, there is
need for modification particularly in the light of the exposure of a killer
army being sponsored by Benue State authorities and the claim by herdsmen that
the Benue militia had been killing Fulanis in the state. Therefore IG must not
only arrest killer herdsmen but also arrest, detain and prosecute killer
militiamen in illegal camps in Benue.



Secondly,
IG’s deterrent action must not be limited to Benue alone. He must spread his
dragnet to Taraba, Plateau and other volatile states where killings of all
forms have occurred. The herdsmen have complained that 1,000 of their men have
been killed in different states while two million of their cattle have been
rustled. No serious security outfit can close its eyes to this allegation if it
wants enduring peace.



What MURIC
is saying is that arresting and prosecuting herdsmen alone for killings in
Benue can only give Nigeria peace of the graveyard. It will not last. For
lasting peace, we must fish out those who have been killing herdsmen and
rustling their cows. That is comprehensive justice. Only a holistic
disciplinary action can halt the cycle of violence.



MURIC is
deeply concerned that nobody was arrested when 732 Fulanis were killed in
Mambila, Plateau State. We are greatly worried that the security agents looked
on as 82 women and children of Fulani stock were massacred in Numan, Adamawa
State by Bachama militiamen. Again, what did the IG do when 24 Fulanis were
killed in Lau? What did the army do when 96 Fulanis were cut down in cold blood
in Kajuru, Kaduna State?



Our
pertinent question here is: are Fulanis not human beings like other Nigerians?
Can we imagine the total number of lives lost by the Fulani within a period of
seven months? To us in MURIC, every Nigerian life is precious. Killers are
killers no matter where they come from. But we must not stigmatise a whole
tribe because of the criminal activities of a few. We must separate killers
from their tribes and their religion.



There are
law-abiding, patriotic and good citizens among the Christians, Muslims and
traditionalists but criminal elements are also in all faiths. It is the same
among all ethnic groups. The fact that Evans is a kidnapper does not make all
Igbo indigenes kidnappers. As we have criminal Fulanis and Tivs, so we have
erudite scholars, seasoned lawyers, high profile politicians, experienced
administrators and business moguls among them. Oyenusi, a Yoruba man, was the
first armed robber executed by a firing squad in Nigeria, but does that make
all Yoruba people armed robbers?



Those who
ethnicise or religionise killings are enemies of Nigeria. They are deliberately
inviting anarchy. But we must exercise caution because nobody knows who will
survive a national pogrom. How can anybody in his right senses say the killings
in Benue are targeted at Christians?



Are the
people of Zamfara also Christians? Killings in Zamfara have been occurring for
years yet nobody did anything. The Nigerian Army, the police and DSS went to
sleep. The press looked the other way. 23 locals were killed in Daraga in
October 2011. 48 lives were terminated in June 2013 in Kizara village. More
than 200 people were massacred in April 2014 in Unguwar Galadima. 50 were
slaughtered in Kwanar Dutse in February 2016. 36 were killed in Bindin in
November of the same year while another 23 people were killed in Tungar Kahau
and Mallamawa, all in Zamfara State alone. All the victims were Muslims but
nobody showed concern.



To cut a
long story short, we charge the IG to conduct a comprehensive and impartial
investigation, arrest, detention and prosecution of all killers among the
herdsmen, Benue militia, Bachama terrorists and all criminal elements who are
cutting short the lives of innocent Nigerians. We urge the press to avoid
assymetrical journalism and to Nigerianise their reportage, particularly in
sensitive cases like that of Benue.



 



Professor
Ishaq Akintola,



Director,



Muslim
Rights Concern (MURIC).




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