10 July 2012

Nigeria: What If They Die?


More than 100 people were killed in two days in Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State. We may be paying attention to the killings - which are routine - because Senator Gyang Dantong and the Majority Leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. Gyang Fulani were killed on Sunday.

Significantly, the newly appointed National security Adviser Col Sambo Dasuki, was in Jos three days before the latest killings that have further exposed the inability of governments to provide security for the people. Dasuki met stakeholders and promised peace was in sight.

How could ordinary Fulani herdsmen unleash this level of mayhem and all the famous Joint Task Force, JTF, could say was that the attackers had sophisticated arms and wore bullet-proof vests? Where is the assurance that Dasuki gave days earlier?

Sunday's attack is more saddening against the background that government seems to have run out of solutions to the killing of Nigerians in the North. Senator Dantong, 55, a medical doctor, one of a few politicians committed to their people, was attending the mass burial of 63 people killed a day earlier. The same attackers killed him and others at the event.

We are wondering what gave the Fulani herdsmen the effrontery to continue the killing. After an attack of such dimension, we expected JTF to protect the villagers from their attackers who would not allow them bury their dead. What we get are excuses that denote JTF's poor capacities.

The discovery of 50 bodies burnt in a Riyom church adds to the agonies of those who bemoan the absence of government when they need it. Who would protect ordinary Nigerians? When will the killings stop? Can government do more than bandying words?

"The Federal Government is working hard to ensure that there is a check on impunity. That much was demonstrated with the recent changes made in the top echelon of our security architecture especially with the appointment of the new National Security Adviser. We shall continue to re-invigorate our fight against terrorism and impunity and we are already taking concrete steps. The President assures citizens of their safety wherever they live," the Presidency said in a statement.

Senate President David Bonaventure Mark was assuring, "We must do everything within the ambit of our laws to ensure that this type of murderous act is stopped. As a nation, we must just rise against those who are determined to return us to a state of nature where life had little or no value."

When a nation loses its citizens and is afraid to condemn - and act decisively against - the enemy, it prepares itself for further assaults.

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