–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Austen AKHAGBEME:
Like the mosquito that perches on the scrotum, the menace of the criminal elements within the Fulani herdsmen parading in our bushes and forest must be handled with utmost care, albeit decisively.
The recent call by Governor Akeredolu of Ondo state for the criminal herders to vacate the hallowed forest within the state, must first of all be viewed from a pure and immediate security angle rather than that of ethnicism and constitutionalism.
His cry should be taken, analyse and understood like that of a frustrated father whose family is under threat of annihilation by strangers who once dined and wine with them. It must be seen as the cry of a Patriot who loves his people and truly wants to protect them.
Until and unless we go about it this way, we will only be playing politics with serious issues of life and death; yet politicization of serious matters of state as it relates to the right to life and human dignity is gradually becoming our favourite pass time in our Nation.
Governor Akeredolu is obviously miffed by the constant harassment, kidnapping and other associated vices being perpetrated by these criminal elements (against a people who voted him into power to protect them) right under his very nose. Anybody in his shoes, may do exactly what he did given the fact that all fingers are pointing to one direction as regards the perpetrators of this crime.
It is against this backdrop that one would expect any reasonable voice of dissent to draw its caution from and not to play the Ostrich by sounding politically correct without proffering a solution to this raging storm.
The overwhelming and often repeated argument has always been that of the fact that strangers and bad elements have appeared from the moon to infiltrate and pollute the old innocent Nigerian herders who have lived peacefully with their host communities from time immemorial.
That nothing has been done practically and decisively to fish out the bad elements from the good ones by the umbrella body of these nomadic breed, is still a mystery cast in iron.
Those who jumped on Akeredolu, based on constitutionality may be right but to do that without suggesting a commensurate long and lasting solution to the menace could, therefore, be morally wrong.
Akeredolu owns the land and the forests. But from the various voices that shouted him down based on legality, citizenship rights, fear of reprisals etc, the herders have become the new and ‘rightful’ landlords.
Governor Akeredolu is a renowned legal luminary. He must have been boxed into a corner with his own boxing gloves. But it is better to take a wrong step and be noticed and corrected than to be cowardly cowed by the fear of the fearless merchants of evil in our forests. We shall get it right one day.
- Austen AKHAGBEME is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online