By Olusegun Philips-Alonge
A few months ago, President Muhammadu Buhari declared he belongs to nobody but everybody. He promised to be free from undue cabal influence and guaranteed a fair, equitable, and safe nation. 37 months later thousands of Nigerians have been murdered by his ethnic Fulani herdsmen and over a million people has lost properties to the same menace.
It is now apparent that the president’s promise of equal protection is a classic political façade. The shifting shadows started with the president prioritizing the creation of grazing reserves for his ethnic clansmen over the pressing national socio-economic problems. How can anyone forget the infamous attempt to import silage from Brazil from the federal coffers to feed the Fulani owned cattle? It is still unclear if this political gambit was meant to make up for the president’s inability to deliver a broad swath of the nation to the Fulani herdsmen in the name of grazing reserves.
The president’s inaction on the ethnic genocide committed by the Fulani herdsmen seems to suggest a deliberate indifference to an aggressive execution of a Fulani hegemonistic agenda. While the Fulani herdsmen have brutally murdered thousands of people, there are no verifiable records of a single Fulani herdsman prosecuted, jailed, or sent to the gallows for involvement in the ethnic killings. The lack of legal consequences sends an awful signal of an implicit bias bothering on complicity by the president and his Fulani controlled national security apparatus.
The president’s approach to the Fulani herdsmen threat to our sovereign existence is a stark contrast to his response to ethnic agitations in the Southeast and the Niger deltas. Why the lion of Daura suddenly lost his national security fervor remains a valid explanation to the ongoing and unending Fulani herdsmen genocidal bravado. Like it or not, the Fulani herdsmen rampage is an existential threat to the Nigeria nation and must end sooner than later.
While the blame trading and crybaby antics of the president is not new, he has finally found a new way to break his previous confessions of the irresponsibility records. It is heart rendering to hear the president take the nonchalant highway by calling himself a victim for failing to provide equal protection to the non-Fulani people of Nigeria. Judging by his one-sided anti-corruption war, the president cannot be expected to accept responsibility for failing to end the indiscriminate ethnic cleansing perpetrated by his very own clansmen. Indeed, the president is an irredeemable victim of his implicit bias and conflict of interests.
Be it as it may, the National Assembly must now rise to its billings to enact an all-inclusive property protection rights amendment to the constitution. The rights to life must now include the inalienable rights to protect life as a prime possession without reliance on a passive, biased, often complicit, nonchalant, and ethnically motivated security apparatus. Additionally, such constitutional amendments must shift the control of public safety apparatus and maintenance of public safety to the local communities.
The laws of liberty are never complete without the rights to hold and protect properties. Property in this sense includes life and the land and natural resources that support life. The people must also be able to dwell on their God-given lands without fear of harm and without being harmed by the hegemonistic activities of other tribal and ethnic exploits. Primarily, the laws must now recognize the rights of the citizens to use all possible means including the legal use of firearms to defend and protect their prime properties from harms whenever necessary.
While some may argue that my proposition may increase bloodshed, there is already an immense one-sided ethnic cleansing in the name of the cows “the most sacred and the most valuable.” I only advocate a proper equalization by way of the ability to deter the unjustified one-sided aggression and savagery of the Fulani herdsmen. Hoping the present administration will end the ongoing ethnic cleansing and land grab by the Fulani herdsmen or that the herdsmen will abandon their expansionist behaviors is a big pipe dream.
How the proposed property protection rights will help fix the issues is not the problem. We must view and dissipate the ultimate end effects from an equalist lens. It is essential that we take the necessary actions to force the settling of the current ethnic cleansing dust and to leverage the process to promote mutual respect and peaceful coexistence. It is just the right thing to do in the face of the present imbalance that threatens to wipe out the middle and the ongoing federal inaction that promotes such egregious oppression.
It is imperative that we make common sense constitutional enactments to empower the oppressed to raise their heads in equity against their oppressors. Afterall, the purpose of the law is not to deprive the people the right to exist but to bolster their ability to live in liberty and dignity. Every sane society must in equity determine what matters to their existence and relevance, in this instance, the people or cattle, my choice is clear.