Most of us living outside Nigeria heard the news about the horrific attack of serene Igbo community of Ndiagu, Attakwu, Akegbe-Ugwu in Nkanu-West Local Government Area of Enugu State by Muslim Fulani herdsmen the same way we hear about most of their bestial acts on social media.
The Vanguard Newspapers offered a potent compilation of the graphic incidents with a picture of a dead pregnant woman whose unborn baby was gouged out of her stomach. It was all awful, and as usual, the media left a slew of unanswered questions. This excerpt is how the Vanguard Newspaper puts it:
“ENUGU—Four months after herdsmen invaded Nimbo village in Enugu State, killing and maiming the villagers, another village in the same state was, yesterday, attacked by, at least, 50 herdsmen leaving death and tears in their wake. The invaded village was Ndiagu,Attakwu, Akegbe-Ugwu in Nkanu-West Local Government Area of the state. Some of the victims include 26-year-old Seminarian, Lazarus Nwafor, on a year apostolic work, who were slaughtered and a six-months-pregnant woman whose stomach was ripped open. Pregnant woman’s stomach ripped open, four severely injured during the attack. Four members of Ogbodo Nwarum family, whose house the slain Seminarian was a tenant, also sustained severe machete cuts from the rampaging herdsmen, who ripped open the stomach of a 6-month pregnant woman, Mrs Nwarum, in the operation that started at about 2:15 am.”
And if your experience was anything like mine, before you could even begin to come to terms with the awfulness of how innocent people were being butchered, you again confront by the inhumanity of government’s response about these whole incidents.
If you believe the rhetoric, that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari understands the widespread anger at the rampant unpredicted killings of Igbo people in Enugu- South East Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen, then you must be dreaming.
It’s the sort of thing politicians say when they want you to focus on their words, and not their actions.
Despite what this government will tell you today, President Buhari does tacitly support the mass execution of innocent people by his (Fulani herdsmen) kinsmen.
There are reasons for this: politics, tribal orientation, and religious leaning.
Of course, President Buhari– the man with the power to stop the killings – knows all this. He knows that when Nigerians criticise him, they’ll likely be mild, and brief.
Buhari also knows that whatever price South East politicians decide to extract – and whatever personal damage he’s done to his relationships with Southeast– the storm will pass as usual. The killings by Fulani herdsmen are worth their weight in political gold for Buhari.
Above all else, if the government of Buhari says publicly it opposes this atrocious Fulani herdsmen deliberate ethnic cleansing, privately, it harbours a much more pragmatic view.
Mr Buhari knows this because he has the signatures of multiple APC officials and his Fulani kinsmen (some elected, some not) on succession treaties (some public, some not) which outline how far he is prepared to go in support of Fulani herdsmen actions.
To my mind, President Buhari is weasel words will not be the solution, rather it will help set in train a fanatical religious cum political process that would ultimately pave the way for the deaths of many innocent people by Fulani herdsmen and their affiliates in terrorism.
Emeka Onwubiko is a Law Student at the University of Adelaide