The United States of America, speaking through its Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria, Mr. David Young, could not be more right to lament recently, the widespread killings, insecurity, violence, in Nigeria, and even more importantly, the lack of severe and effective measures against the perpetrators.He appropriately noted the critical importance of cracking down on the criminality and ensuring that law enforcement agencies really focus on issues of impunity.
“It is very important that criminals and others are not able to get away with this kind of impunity and violence.”The American representative has said nothing really new. Countless citizens, high and low, have complained in similar terms. It is noteworthy, however, that this concern is expressed by the most powerful and most influential nation in the world. Perhaps now, the Muhammadu Buhari-led government of Nigeria will take more seriously an issue that is threatening the cohesion and even survival of the country. But, just perhaps.
Hardly a day passes without reports of villages sacked and surviving inhabitants rendered homeless and hopeless. Indeed, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has reported that herdsmen-farmers’ clashes have taken 1,300 lives in the first six months of this year. This is more than six times Boko Haram’s killings in the same period. With elections only months away, the ICG warned ominously that “violence related to grazing rights… threaten Buhari’s popularity in swing states as herders are mainly from the Fulani ethnic group, as is the president.” And this is an important and disheartening point that, much as Nigerians would wish did not arise at all, must nevertheless be interrogated.