In the political annals of
Nigeria, this is only the first
time that Nigerians in their
large numbers are slaughtered
by well-armed militia
who share ethno religions
affiliations with the holder
of the office of the president
of the federal republic of
Nigeria.
The Fulani speaking
nationality has become
notorious for the reason that
some of its rogue members
have armed themselves
with sophisticated weapons
similar to the type used by
any military of a modern
day nation and these militia
are on the rampage all across
Nigeria in what is regarded as
a quest to dispossess farmers
of their farms so as to fend for
the growing numbers of their
cattles.
For these emerging killer
gangsters who seems to be
enjoying Federal government
tacit approval, grazing of their
cows are much more elevated
in the hierarchy of scales than
respecting the sanctity of
human life.
What makes the scenario
remarkably historical is that
both President Muhammadu
Buhari and his vice Professor
Yemi Osibanjo are busy
rationalizing these cocktails of
mass murders either expressly
or through their political
surrogates even as the killings
are becoming unabated.
The lackadaisical tendencies
of the heads of all the security
institutions who do nect to
nothing whilst these killings
go on is making people to
believe that these killings
are officially licenced. The
unfortunate thing again
is that the killings which
go on without concrete
mechanisms to stop tge
trends and bring decisive
justice to the perpetrators
has exposed a serious lacuna
in the which should be
corrected. The overwhelming
powers of command and
control ceded to the holder
of office of President over
the Armed forces should be
shared amongst the Federal
legislative body and the
head of the Executive so that
if as it were, if convincing
evidence aboundto show a
lack of willingness on the
part of the Presidency to
authorise immediate and
effective crackdown of such
insurrection and mass killings
as are committed by armed
Fulani herdsmen, the Senate
can convoke and direct the
Armed forces to play their
constitutional role.
Even as we debate the zero
response level of the current
administration to these mass
killings, it must be borne in
mind that the theatres of these
grand mass killings orchestrated
by Fulani herdsmen have now
shifted to Southern Kaduna
State, Benue State and Adamawa
State.
There are reports of revenge
killings of Fulanis in a part of
Taraba State by another counter
force.
These killings therefore calls for
a sober reflection with the aim of
proffering lasting panacea to end
these episodes of blood cuddling
violence of epic proportions
which on the last count has
resulted in the untimely and
gruesome hacking to death of
over 10,000 innocent Nigerians
by armed Fulani herdsmen.
What makes it more compelling
that Nigerians must rise up
and collectively demand an
end to these killings, is the fact
that officials of government are
busy providing some irrational
excuses for these bands of mass
murderers who are apparently
being treated as persons who are
above the laws of the land.
The constitution is the sum
total of the laws of the land and
in a very unambiguous provision
in section 32 (1) states that all
lives are sacred and sacrosanct
and must not be taken extralegally.
Legally speaking the offence of
murder is a very serious crime.
In a technical sense, murder is
also called culpable homicide.
The Black’s Law Dictionary
defines homicide as the killing
of one person by another and
criminal homicide as the act of
purposely, knowingly, recklessly
or negligently causing the death
of another human being.
Coke C.J equally defined
homicide as: “When a man
of sound memory and age of
discretion, unlawfully killeth
within any country of the realm
any reasonable creature in rerun
natura under the king’s peace,
with malice aforethought, either
expressed by the party or implied
by law, so as the party wounded
or hurt, etc. die of the wound or
hurt, etc. within a year and a day
after the same.”
Legal scholars therefore say
that homicide is the legal term
of killing a man or human being
whether lawfully or unlawfully.
In the Law repository of
Nigeria, tge law blogger affirmed
that it is with the development
of mens rea doctrine that
there came into existence the
distinction between lawful and
unlawful homicide as well as
different degrees of liability for
unlawful homicide.
The blogger recall that what
qualifies as a human being
capable of being killed is
provided for by section 307 of
the Criminal Code as follows:
A child becomes a person
capable of being killed when it
has completely proceeded in a
living state from the body of its
mother, whether it has breathed
or not and whether it has an
independent circulation or not,
and whether the navel-string is
severed or not”
A central statutory law in
Nigeria called the Criminal
Code provides that any person
who causes the death of another,
directly or indirectly, by any
means whatever, is deemed to
have killed that person, except
in the cases explicitly provided.
A case in point is encapsulated
in the English case of R. v.
Dyson, the accused who
inflicted injuries upon the
deceased more than a year and
a day before the date of death,
as well as further injuries within
that period that accelerated
the death, was charged and
convicted of manslaughter, but
had his conviction quashed on
appeal for misdirection, because
the trial judge directed the jury
that they might find the accused
guilty even if they thought that
death resulted solely from the
earlier injuries.
So why and how come the
current administration seems to
be handling the ongoing bloody
violence by armed Fulani
herdsmen with kid gloves even
when the President swore to an
oath to protect the constitution?
Shehu Sani, a former activist
and current senator representing
Kaduna central seems to have
attempted the resolution of the
aforementioned conundrum.
In his book appropriately titled
“The killing fields: Religious
Violence in Northern Nigeria”,
he wrote as follows: “Nigeria
is a country with appropriate
credentials for dysfunctional
conflicts.”
He argued also that Nigeria
has since the end of the civil war
continued to have a recurrence
of violent ethnic and religious
conflicts that have scarred
the nation’s socio-political
landscape.
Shehu Sani affirmed that many
of the conflicts in Nigeria are
long-standing feuds that have
been surfacing from time to time
and never fully resolved.
Again, Senator Sani has
located many of these conflicts
as wholly brouggt about by
the structured problems of the
country.
Importantly, he blamed
militarization of the political
space for the blood cuddling
violence.
The Nigerian society, he said,
has been deeply traumatized by
successive military dictatorships
and it will take many years of
consistent work to rebuild trust,
faith and integrity.
Lastly, he submitted that the
culture of violence, reprisals and
revenge is deeply embedded in
the psyche of the society and that
there is so much “unfinished”
business at the level of social
equity and broad human rights
issues that must be addressed.
If the book was written
recently since the advent of the
incessant armed Fulani attacks,
I’m sure the author Shehu Sani
would have included the fact
that armed Fulani herdsmen
are today rated global as some
of the most dangerous terror
networks next after Boko Haram
terrorists. He also missed out the
aspect of the loud conspiracy
of silence from the highest
political class over the killings.
Although in a recent FaceBook
post, Senator Sani accused
President Muhammadu Buhari
of pampering and protecting
the Fulani terrorists unleashing
violence all across Nigeria.
Then again, why does
Nigeria persistently witness
the occurrence of armed
Fulani killings and the Federal
Government under the watch of
President Muhammadu Buhari
seems cool with the entire
episodes?
Has this anything to do
with a weak legal framework,
weakened security institutions
or is it just the deliberate
undermining of extant laws
on murder by the Federal
Government officials manning
internal security most of whom
are also Fulani by ethnic origin?
I believe that although our
institutions especially the
security institutions are so
weak basically because the
law concedes the command
and control structure to the
authority of one person,
but there are abundance of
statutory provisions which if
activated and the mass killers
are appropriately punished
in accordance with law, the
situation will radically improve.
It is therefore the case of
deliberate undermining of
extant laws.
I say this because there is
no other way to describe the
attitudes of all the heads of
the security forces who have
consistently gone to sleep whilst
well-armed Fulani herdsmen
terrorize different communities
and continue inflicting pains,
deaths and bloodshed on a
scale unimaginable even in the
wildest horror movies in the
Hollywood.
The conspiracy of silence and
the apparent lack of political
will to sanction legally the
mass murderers has definitely
presented Nigeria to look like
the Hobbesian society whereby
life is short, brutish, miserable
and might by all means has
become right. Thomas Hobbes
may have written about present
day Nigeria in his political
treatise titled the State of Nature.
Also a notable theologian in
the person of Reverend Father
Luke Nnamdi Mbeto in his
book “The Reshaping of African
Traditions” reminded us that
Western scholars have often
viewed Nigeria and Africa as
a dark continent inhabited by
savages who have no respect for
the sanctity of life.
The criminal acts of mass
murders by armed Fulani
herdsmen and the clear
permisiveness of these orgies
of bloody violence by the
Politicians show us as persons
inhabiting a very dark zoo
where survival is by the
strongest and politically well
connected.
Mbefo wrote thus: “Besides
the fact that the Africans were
seen as savages is the added
prejudice that informed
European appreciation of this
race of people”.
Linnaeus in his system
of nature (1735) had
distinguished five varieties
of the human species and
allocated each definite racial
characteristics. According to
this classification, the black
race belongs at the base. Here
is the table content:Wildman:
Four-footed, mute, hairy;
American: Copper-coloured,
choleric, erect; Hair: black,
straight, thick; nostrils: wide;
face: harsh; beard: scanty;
obstinate, content free;
paints himself with fine red
lines. Regulated by customs;
Europeans: Fair, sanguine,
brawny. Hair yellow, brown,
flowing; eyes: blue, gentle,
acute, inventive. Covered with
close vestments. Governed
by laws; Asiatic: sooty,
melancholy, rigid. Hair: black;
eyes: dark; severe, haughty,
covetous. Covered with
loose garments. Governed
by opinions; African: Black,
phlegmatic, relaxed. Hair:
black, frizzled; skin: silky;
nose: flat; lips: tumid; crafty,
indolent, negligent. Anoints
himself with grease. Governed
by caprice.
That this characterization
of the African influenced
European activity in Africa
is evident on the eve of
decolonization, Fr. Mbefo
observed.
Equally, he noted that the
argument is not whether
Linnaeus was correct or
incorrect in his classification
and characterization. His
ideas therefore helped to
formulate European strategy
in white relations with the
black savages.
But the entire picture and
impressions being created
by ongoing savage massacre
of farmers by armed Fulani
herdsmen has truly validated
the pathetic characterization
of an African as a savage and
someone who is governed by
caprices.
The only way to show the
World that we are not all
irrationally animalistic is for
Nigerians in their millions to
speak out and demand that the
killers and their collaborators
are brought to decisive justice
now.

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  • Innocent Okezie Ugwonaruenyi

    The present security architecture of Nigeria is in the hands of one ethnic group – the Fulani people. This is against the principles of Federal character provision enshrned in the constitution. Surprisingly, every other section of the country keeps mum.