Killer-herdsmen sent a chilling message to Nigerians on their determination to continue perpetrating violence with impunity in the nation’s farming communities with a mindless bloodbath which reportedly left about 50 people dead in Benue State, on the second day of New Year and the following day too. The Police confirmed another 10 killed in a fresh attack on Friday night.
The only sensible response that the Federal Government could give to this gory massacre is to make its security agencies fish out the killers immediately and bring them to justice. The time has come for the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to demonstrate true leadership and say a decisive No to the herdsmen who are now riding roughshod over the nation and killing people at will.
This government must stand up and be counted on the side of ordinary Nigerians who have become game for these murderous herdsmen.
It should take the country back from the herdsmen who are now operating above the laws of the land.
The primary purpose of any responsible government, as also outlined in Section 14(2) (b) of the Nigerian Constitution, is to ensure the security and welfare of the people.
Any government that fails to do this, as is fast becoming the situation in the country, has failed in its primary responsibility and must, without any prompting, do a self-assessment of its continuing relevance to the citizens and the country.
We sympathise with all the victims of herdsmen attacks in the country, especially the ones just killed or injured in the Benue communities identified as Gaambe-Tiev, Ayilamo and Turan in Togo Local Government Area, and Umengaer, Tse-Akor and Tomatar near Tse-Abi in Nongov District in Guma Local Government Area.
The herdsmen reportedly launched the gun attacks in Benue as some Christians were leaving their churches after the New Year service on Monday morning, moving from one community to the other. Apart from those who died, a surgeon at the Department of Surgery of the Benue University Teaching Hospital has confirmed that over 30 injured persons are receiving treatment in the hospital, while many corpses have been deposited in the hospital mortuary. The incident also made residents to flee the affected communities. Nine members of the security outfit, Livestock Guards, were killed by the herdsmen.
It is simply unacceptable for killers of any ilk to take the lives of the people with impunity with the government not demonstrating much interest in bringing them to book. These herdsmen’s attacks have gone on for far too long. The attackers have flagrantly demonstrated their murderous inclinations in Enugu, Kogi, Plateau, Kaduna and so many other states. It is high time the president and his administration stopped their glaring indifference to this problem and brought it to a halt. Nigerians deserve to live in peace in their communities. They also deserve security for their lives and their farm produce.
We, therefore, charge the government to get a handle to this problem and prove that it is standing with ordinary Nigerians on this matter. The situation has become intolerable and the government has to demonstrate that it will no longer overlook the despicable criminal conduct of the herdsmen in this new year.