By Abiodun Israel
Luke 3:14 (ERV) The soldiers asked him, “What about us? What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t use force or lies to make people give you money. Be happy with the pay you get.”
It is befitting to begin this piece with a quotation of Holy Scriptures. The subject of this piece, one Peregrino Brimah, who wrote “North`s Fulani Denial: Did Arase And Buratai Negotiate With Terrorists?”, almost ended the write up with a quote so it is befitting to continue from where he stopped by opening this piece with a quote.
I will not waste time with niceties or trying to hide my opinion of him. Blackmail. That is what Peregrino Brimah’s ranting is always about. This is why the opening Bible quotation for this piece is about blackmail. By the way, I opted for the Easy to Read Version (ERV) so he will have no difficulty understanding what the Holy Book says.
His claim about security bosses negotiating with terrorists was apparently meant to insult our collective sensibilities as Nigerians. Let me own up at this point that I have read many of his other offensive pieces, more out of keeping up with what his latest rant is than consuming his toxic output out of boredom.
One of the strategies of a blackmailer is to identify, whether true or not, situations that he could use to drag his subject into the mud. Once such information is acquired, the blackmailer then demonstrates the capacity to cause embarrassment for the subject. The marauding herdsmen became that situation for Brimah, who might have thought that the law enforcement bosses are ripe for picking. Unfortunately, Brimah got this one, like many before it, very wrong as the soaring image of the security bosses he tried to soil easily suctioned the bad blood he is trying to create.
Furthermore, he completely missed the point. The only verifiable point that could have been used against Nigeria’s security would have been the outburst of the Enugu State Governor, Mr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi that GOC 82 and the Commissioner of Police of Enugu state failed to respond to his early warnings. Brimah, being intelligent by half in the piece, did not exploit this for his aim. Instead, he tried to stoke hatred against one ethnic group by trying to convey that they are getting preferential treatment.
In my firm belief, right thinking Nigerians have by now learnt to take Brimah less serious when the subject of discussion is the Nigerian military or security services. Unlike, other paid activists who get briefs in diverse sectors he has exposed himself as running only one brief for the Islamic Republic of Iran through its embassy in Nigeria and those who have followed his piece know that country’s only target in Nigeria.
I suggest Brimah read the story about how the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase ordered the immediate arrest of a police officer, so far identified as Corporal Chukwu, who is said to be a collaborator in the attack allegedly perpetrated by herdsmen in Ukpabi, Nimbo community, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu state. If Corporal Chukwu is tried and found guilty, he will be the full embodiment of the rampaging herdsmen that Peregrino wants the northern elite to denounce and condemn. Is his long epistle about meeting with terrorists a ploy to throw security operatives of the trail of those we really should be looking?
If I sound miffed so far it is because I am seriously put off by this kind of attitude that compounds Nigeria’s by highlighting differences instead supporting solution. It gets more annoying when you come to the realization that the person highlighting differences might have done so for pecuniary gains rather than out of conviction. I think we should all be angry because if persons with this kind of mindset gain the upper hand we could find ourselves without a country. Please note the closing line that is couched to sound like a prayer whereas it was a veiled threat of “and that Nigeria may not scatter”.
Even though the Good Book admonished that “Be happy with the pay you get,” it is obvious by now that he is doing the bidding of his paymasters to get his pocket lined is dangerous to the populace. Creating the wrong impression around the massacre in Enugu state could only worsen tensions that are already high. Why would anyone then be drawing the wrong conclusions simply to be able to log in with client that something has been delivered in their interest.
Hear Peregrino Brimah, “If the Agatu massacre was not perpetrated at the behest of the Fulani then why did the Fulani meet with Arase to discuss it?”
I am wondering if news got to the planet he lives on that there were possibilities of retaliation by communities that lost people to rampaging herdsmen. I also feel nauseated that someone can take to the media space to label all Fulani as killers, whose leadership must be treated as terrorists by security operatives. Until investigations can indict specific individuals as being responsible for the senseless killings is it wise to criminalize an entire ethnic configuration and make them outcasts who cannot contribute towards finding lasting peace?
Anyone that has followed this writer’s work will know that this particular piece is not a stand-alone but a brick in a larger wall to cause strife and division in the country. The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), to which he is a spokesman, basically overpowered and outgunned the police in Zaria and environs for a long time. He defended the right of IMN to do this to the detriment of other Nigerians, in difference to Iran of course, and would have nothing against the police or even any other branch of Nigeria’s security having dialogue with its members. So a man who sees nothing wrong with treating a radicalized group, bordering on emerging terror group, with kids gloves have issues with security chiefs finding peaceful resolution to killings that have become tit for tat.
Sadly, this is not Peregrino’s first futile attempt to denigrate security chiefs whose crime is that they are doing their duty. I think it is becoming uncharitable of him even though I mentally try to make allowance for him as we all understand that times are hard and that the “man must wack” syndrome has taken a negative toll on him under the prudent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. His dislocation from reality is better appreciated especially when one factors in that he is constrained to living a false life style in a foreign.
However, there is a need to rescue Peregrino Brimah from drowning. If we must save ourselves the now too frequent harangue of this fellow, who has no qualms speaking for terrorists, then we must immediately consider rehabilitating the hapless being before he plunges deeper into what is consuming him.
Abiodun is a security strategist based in Lagos.