By: Andy Akporugo Jr.
THE PLATEAU MASACRE AND THE CIRCUS OF LOOKING THE OTHER WAY
Yesterday I was driven by my humanity to wish that Argentina triumphed over the Super Eagles in nothing less than a maul.
Although I knew that the fulfillment of that wish wouldn’t make me happy, it was sure to make me happier than if our national team won and we irresponsibly broke into mirthful celebrations in the midst of the carnage back at home, here in the Plateau. To be happy in this season is pure witchcraft!
But perhaps the bigger point to make is that the apparent confusion of the Federal Government about where to fish out the perpetrators of the mass slaughter of its citizens may in fact indicate some complicity on its part. Otherwise, the government has to be blind, deaf and irresponsible not to already have arrested that shadowy fellow named Danladi Ciroma and made him to give up the names of his accomplices in the crime. C’mon! The man just acted as the spokesman for the murderers when he gave in no unclear language the reason for their action and in fact, threatened more carnage!
His statement issued under his accursed breath, as Chairman of North Central Zone of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria, answers all the questions that the incident throws up, as I shall now demonstrate:
Question: Do you know who is responsible for the attack in Plateau:
Answer: Yes. They are my member Cattle Herders
Question: What’s the reason for the attack?
Answer: It’s a revenge. We are retaliating the attack on Fulani cattle. Look! ‘‘Fulani herdsmen have lost about 300 cows within the last few weeks: 94 cows were rustled by armed Berom youths in Fan village. Another 36 cows were killed by Berom youths. In addition to that, 174 cattle were rustled and the criminals disappeared with them to Mangu.”
Question: But why attack entire communities instead of defend your cattle against the specific persons who rustle them –
Answer: “The people carrying out these criminal activities are well known to the communities, but the communities are hiding them… The government of Governor Lalong has done a lot to restore peace, but the criminal elements hiding among their people are the ones frustrating the peace effort. …Criminals thrive a lot in Berom communities, but when the Fulani, who are always victims of their crime, react with attacks, they blame the government. These communities have leaders. Why hide the criminals? They should fish out the criminals and hand them over to the security agencies, to avoid death of innocent ones.
Question: This carnage is bad and should be discontinued. Shouldn’t you simply report cases of theft of your cattle to the relevant security agencies to investigate and prosecute the supposed cattle rustlers, instead of you taking the law into your own hands?
Answer: No way! “Since these cows were not found, no one should expect peace in the areas; even soldiers that went after the criminals to recover the rustled cows were shot by the armed rustlers (who) eventually escaped with all the cows.’’
And in any case, it is not our business or that of the police to investigate anything. ‘‘They [the communities] should fish out the criminals and hand them over to the security agencies, to avoid death of innocent ones.’’
Does one need to know and say any more before one becomes an accomplice? Perhaps, only to the Federal Government which up till today appears to be running round in circles, while gleefully winking its approval at the murderous herdsmen and their accomplices in and around it.