Benue: The Need To Be One’s Brother’s Keeper

Family and friends of victims of Herdsmen attack, weep and protest.

Yesterday, I stood up for Benue. Today, I’m standing up for Benue.

Do I necessarily have to come from Benue before standing up for the State? No, is my simple answer; I’ll always stand up for Benue and any other part of Nigeria because I hate inequality, injustice, intimidation, tribalism, religious intolerance etc.

During the Agatu Massacre around February/March 2016, the people of Agatu screamed for help. Some of us (Facebook Warriors, as THEY would always refer to us) went to our walls to express our resentments of what befell the community.

As shameless as it would be, some of us kept blind eyes, and pretended as if nothing wrong was going on.

A few months later (around June), a Catholic priest (Vicar General of Otukpo Diocese) was kidnapped, murdered and dumped behind a local government’s secretariat.

As usual, some people acted like there was nothing wrong.

In one of my posts to identify with the Agatu community, I hinted that we wouldn’t “believe it”. Perhaps it’s because they’re not part of us, they’re not from my tribe.

But in the post (Still Crying For “Crazy” Benue), I predicted that: soon, the murderer’s “next victim” would hear a knock on his door.

The post was coined from late African reggae icon, Lucky Dube’s Crazy World.

It’s crazy for either of Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Niger, Adamawa, Kaduna (Southern) states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)-Abuja to keep silent in the face of what happened in Benue State.

It’s worse when the Governor of Plateau State, Lalong, publicly criticised Governor Ortom of Benue State for signing a bill that prohibits open grazing in the State.

It’s foolishness for any state outside the Middle Belt region to think that they are different from Benue State and its people.

The above actions are tantamount to hating, killing and denying one’s brother.

This is very much seen in the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible.

The Bible records in Genesis 4:9 that: “And the LORD said unto Cain, ‘Where is Abel thy brother?’ And he (Cain) said, ‘I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?'”

But it’s only a fool, who does not know that when the murderer, who visits his neighbourhood, is done with his neighbour, the murderer would pay him a similar visit.

After the recent massacre in Benue State, which claimed over 70 lives, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, while denying allegations that the carnage was carried out by the Fulani herdsmen, claimed that it was communal clash.

However, the Chairman of the Benue State Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Garus Gololo, in an interview with the BBC Hausa, declared that his men carried out the attack because their cows were stolen.

“…We weren’t grazing. After the Benue (State) government banned grazing, we were relocating to Taraba State through Nengere border town of Nasarawa State; they came and stole 1,000 cows from us. So, we retaliated, and killed them…”

Despite the brazen declaration by Gololo, no arrest has been made in connection with the killings.

The above action indicates that the herdsmen are enjoying the protection of the government and its security agencies.

It’s sad that: Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet.

What it means is that all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT are “brothers and sisters” so long as they are part of the entity called Nigeria.

Yet another said that: Brothers don’t necessarily have to say anything to each other – they can sit in a room and be together and just be completely comfortable with each other.

It’s high time that Nigerians (irrespective of one’s religion, tribe or tongue) are united against these rampaging and bloodthirsty herdsmen.

Nigerians should use the murderous herdsmen as a launch to practice their unity against the evil forces of the country.

Uniting against the herdsmen could lead to a remix of 1967-1970, and the people would live to experience the peace they have been yearning for so long.

In his “Crazy World”, Dube sang:

“So far so good we still living today
But we don’t know what tomorrow brings
In this crazy world
People dying like flies every day
You read about it in the news
But you don’t believe it

“You’ll only know about it
When the man in the long black coat
Knocks on your door
‘Cause you’re his next victim
As you are living in this

“Living in, living in this crazy world
Living in, living in this crazy world
Living in, living in this crazy world
Living in, living in this crazy world…”

It’s a “crazy” Benue today, no doubt; but the crazy Benue is gradually creeping into “crazy” Nigeria…yet we won’t “believe it”.

Who can battle with the Lord God?

Teddy Oscar Nwanunobi
(+234) 806 912 7185
Alternative email: [email protected]
Twitter account: @donted71

The opinion expressed by the writer is solely his and not that of THE WHISTLER

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