A pro-democracy and non-governmental organization, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has said President Muhammadu Buhari should blame himself for the killings allegedly perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen across the country.
HURIWA described as absurd the fact that Buhari refused to declare leaders of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, as terrorists but instead blame the media for the “escalating terrorism.” The organisation was reacting to the latest twist introduced in the debacle of armed Fulani terrorism by the Nigerian President while visiting China, in which he blamed the media for misrepresentation of facts regarding the armed Fulani attacks.
A statement by its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said Buhari should blame himself and not the media for what it described as the “escalating terrorism of armed Fulani herdsmen against mostly Northern Christian farmers.” The organisation said the “prevarication and the policy ambivalence of President Muhammadu Buhari over the deadly attacks of armed Fulani terrorism against famers should be blamed for the spike in the violence and the bloodcuddling nature of the coordinated attacks and not the professional job of reporting the killings by the media is the case of the crises.”
The Rights group asked Buhari to appreciate the “enormity of the violence and view the killings as senseless acts of terrorism and not mere farmers versus herders conflicts as his administration has continuously dished out false propaganda about the incidents that have resulted in over 6000 deaths.” HURIWA said Buhari should note that the armed Fulani herdsmen have also “gunned down over 50 armed security forces which should have informed his administration of the urgency of the now to take decisive steps to curb the menace.”
The rights group stated that the current government had continued to treat the grave national security threat posed by armed Fulani terrorism as if it is a “mere family misunderstanding.” HURIWA blamed Buhari for elevating his “ethno-religious interest above national interest by his government’s persistent failure to declare the Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association as a terrorist organization that it is for backing the armed Fulani killings targeting most of northern Christians.”
The statement said, “A government that hurriedly branded a totally unarmed members of Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) as a terror group has so far refused to brand the killers of over 6000 Nigerians and over 50 armed security operatives as a terrorist group and now the President is crying foul against the media when he should situate the blame properly within his office for failing to act in line with the tenets of rule of law.
“We find it unbelievably shocking that President Buhari who is a Fulani and a Muslim has decidedly appointed an all Fulani/Hausa Muslim dominated national security team and has failed to declare armed Fulani herdsmen as terrorists but has continued to provide incoherent defence for the mindless acts of violence, by the herdsmen. “May we once more asked president Muhammadu Buhari to read the text of his constitutional oath of office to realize that his soft handling of the serious threats posed by activities of armed Fulani herdsmen constitute a breach of the law which is tantamount to impeachable offences.”
HURIWA said it was incredible that president Buhari has continued to misrepresent the armed Fulani terrorism as a mere inter-ethnic conflict between herdsmen and farmers when in actual fact the armed Fulani herdsmen are rated as the third most deadly world terror group. “May we inform Mr. president that he is the person to blame for the misrepresentation concerning the terrorism of armed Fulani killer gangs because his administration has handled this serious national security threat like a family affairs by not taking appropriate legal steps to crush the armed Fulani herdsmen and by failing to make the appropriate declaration of Miyetti Allah Cattle owners forum as a terrorist group.
“There are two steps to stop the killings which are still going on in North Central states. The president must declare armed Fulani herdsmen as a terror organization and order the military and law enforcement agencies to decisively deal with them in line with the law and secondly, all the killer armed Fulani herdsmen must be prosecuted and punished. “The national security team made up of persons from one section of the country whereby the suspected Fulani killers hail from have compromised by not arresting the killers and stop the proliferation of weapons. The media has played excellent role in line with section 22 of the constitutions,” the organisation said.
HURIWA recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari accused media organizations of bias in reporting conflicts in the country. He made the accusation during an interactive meeting with the Nigerian community in China. The Rights group quoted President Buhari as stating as follows: “To my disappointment, the members of the press in Nigeria do not make enough efforts to study the historical antecedents of issues that are creating national problems for us,” the president said.
HURIWA, however, exonerated the Nigerian media of any blame because they have continued to display maturity and responsible journalism by reporting accurately the sad phenomenon of uncontrolled and mindless killings by armed Fulani herdsmen who enjoy federal government’s protection.