Herdsmena��s killings and a forsaken nation

I was very rudely awakened from a deep sleep todaya��s wee hours by a rash of text messages that boozed noisily for nearly a minute.

These messages were six in number and came in torrents from family members and friends who live in Aba, Abia State; Ogoja in Cross Rivers State and Otukpo in Benue State.

These hugely unexpected messages had similar information on the rumoured invasions simultaneously of these places of their habitation by armed gangs of Fulani herdsmen who are said to be getting ready to invade some communities which are agrarian and whose land owners had protested earlier cases of invasions by cows and herdsmen resulting in the destruction of their crops that are awaiting harvest.

These messages completely got me upset and indeed my early morning schedules were shattered by the extent of emotional trauma that enveloped my sub-consciousness because of the deep thinking that overtook the better part of me.

These thoughts were all about what will be the situation of my people in those places given that President Muhammadu Buhari has not practically demonstrated the political will to exercise his constitutional authority by pragmatically instructing the heads of all the relevant security agencies to swing into action, arrest, disarm and prosecute these alleged armed Fulani herdsmen.

I indeed quickly put calls to these individuals that sent me save our souls messages but only one of them could receive the call. The one in Benue State to be precise.

She told me hurriedly that please I should end my call and that she would return it much later. I could decipher lots of background noises that conveys the impression of a vicinity that is in a state of panic and uncertainty.

These untoward developments immediately made me to visit my social media pages and the Facebook media was my natural first port of call.

Lo and behold! I saw series of online posts that reported same invasions that were narrated to me earlier on through those wee-hour text messages.

This shocking discovery made me to quickly dial the relevant phone contacts of all the top military chiefs and police officers in my contact list but none picked. In Nigeria, those who wield governmental authorities don’t pick non- beneficial calls as most of them are always in search of pecuniary gains from their high offices. Distress calls like those ones i put across were actually very irritating to these officials who have climbed their high horses.

Incidentally, a friend who works at the near -moribund police service commission had once sent me a list of over 100 newly subscribed emergency police distress numbers that he said members of the public can call in times of emergency to access immediate redress and rescue.

I tried as much as over three dozen times to get across to some of these lines but none went through. It was only then that a thought flashed through my overburdened mund and I remembered that some few months back (in 2016) I had had a chance meeting with a delegation from the United Nations country office who incidentally were visiting the chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Yusuf Buratai who had then invited our group (Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria) to join the Amnesty International’s delegation from the UK office that was visiting the office of the chief of Army Staff in Abuja.

One of these United Nations officials was particularly friendly and had exchanged all his phone and email contacts and had even added yours faithfully on his WHASSAP page.

So I decided to try my luck to let him know of the latest in the series of attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen who not too long ago killed over 80 innocent persons in Benue State.

But try as much as I did, his lines couldna��t go through but we successfully chatted on social media page and he informed me of his trip to the United States and promised to reach out to me once he is back on seat in Abuja.

Sitting back to think of what next to do brought what seemed like a down pour of thoughts about the relevance or otherwise of the United Nations system.

I wanted answers to the pertinent questions of why the United Nations security council has not been convoked and activated by one of the Security council permanent members over the series of organized pogroms that have taken place over the last few years but which reached a crescendo with the emergence three years ago of the Fulani, Katsina state born President Muhammadu Buhari.

I searched for possible answers to the silence of the United Nations Secretary General to these killings and worst still, the conspiratorial silence of the Fulani Gombe state born Mrs. Amina Muhammed who was made the Deputy Secretary General by the Portuguese born secretary General Mr. Antonio Guiterries.

Amina Mohammed has been in the political field of Nigeria for half a dozen years and had lastly worked for the current government of Buhari as his environment minister.

Infact the UN secretary general had once personally defended Mrs. Mohammed over allegations that came up from Nigeriaa��s Federal Environment Ministry where she last served regarding some alleged shaddy contract deals with some woods’ logging companies.

I then asked myself why the secretary general has maintained loud silence over the many killings that have happened in Nigeria and if the lives of Nigerians dona��t matter in the global scheme of things.

Are the killings of innocent Nigerians not huge enough threats to peace and security to the World when the nation with the largest black population in the World is sitting precariously under the keg of gun powder? I then recall that internal violence and terrorism have actually increased the rate of irregular migration of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who out of credible fears for their lives have taken the deadly option of attempting to migrate to the Free World using the illegal services of human traffickers who use the dangerous Mediterranean sea through the coast of the lawless Libya.

I then asked why the UN’s scribe could personally defend his appointee from Nigeria over how she conducted her political affairs in Nigeria but he has gone deaf and dumb when armed Fulani attackers have continuously slaughtered thousands of Nigerians to an extent that today armed Fulani herdsmen are rated as the third Worlda��s most deadly terror organization.

Antonio Guterres, the Portuguese born secretary general should be told that the preamble to the universal declarations of human rights states that all men/women are equal members of the human race. Injustice done to one member of the human race that is not addressed is a serious credibility problem for the UN system.

The United Nations therefore must not forsake the Nigerian citizens who are currently being killed by armed Fulani herdsmen.

Reading through the preambles to the universal declarations of Human Rights tells me that indeed the conspiratorial silence of the United Nations system to the pogroms by Nigerian Fulani herdsmen is absolutely condemnable. This is even as the Nigerians under attacks are unfortunate to be going through these ordeals at these times when the current United States of America’s President Mr. Donald Trump doesn’t value the place of the African but is primarily concerned about bringing about economic advancements for his homeland. Recently, Trump categorized Nigeria as a ‘shithole’ country from where immigrants shouldn’t be protected in the United States of America. So Nigerians under constant bombardments from armed Fulani herdsmen were actually limited in their choices of which international office holder can speak and defend them and stop civil war from flaring up in Nigeria. The United Nations therefore is the most likely of places to go to so as to seek for global protection from genocides.

The first chapter of the preamble to the universal declarations of Human Rights stated clearly thus: a�?whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the worlda�?.

Therefore, the Secretary-General was envisioned by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a “world moderator”, but the vague definition provided by the UN Charter left much room for interpretation by those who would later occupy the position, so says international researchers.

According to the UN website, the roles of Secretary Generals of UN are further defined as “diplomat and advocate, civil servant, and CEO”.

“Nevertheless, this more abstract description has not prevented the office holders from speaking out and playing important roles on global issues to various degrees.”

Specifically, Article 97 under Chapter XV of the United Nations Charter states that the Secretary-General shall be the “chief administrative officer” of the Organization, but does not dictate their specific obligations.

Also, from research we know that responsibilities of the Secretary-General are further outlined in Articles 98 through 100.

Article 98 states that they shall act as the chief administrative officer “in all meetings of the General Assembly, of the Security Council, of the Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council, and shall perform other functions as are entrusted to him by these organs”.

“They are also responsible for making an annual report to the General Assembly. According to Article 99, they may notify the Security Council on matters which “in their opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security”.

Reading through these functions of the UN secretary general tells me that the current holder is in breach of his fundamental duty and obligation to prevent the ongoing killings of Nigerians by armed Fulani herdsmen whilst the Fulani born President does practically nothing to bring these killings to an end.

I do think that if the killings are allowed to snowball into a civil war, the refugee crisis therefrom would threaten Worlda��s security.

The most effective way to diminish human suffering and the massive economic costs of conflicts and their aftermath is to prevent conflicts in the first place, so says legal expert.

The United Nations is expected to always play an important role in conflict prevention, using diplomacy, good offices and mediation. Among the tools the organization uses to bring peace are special envoys and political missions in the field.

Also we learn that the United Nations came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security.

Therefore, we that are currently witnessing violent killings and the government put in place seems to be in support of these vicious attacks, we expect the UN to do the duties for which in the first it evolved from the ashes of the devastations of the Second World war.

The UN does this by working to prevent conflict; helping parties in conflict make peace; peacekeeping; and creating the conditions to allow peace to hold and flourish.

“These activities often overlap and should reinforce one another, to be effective. The UN Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. The General Assembly and the Secretary-General play major, important, and complementary roles, along with other UN offices and bodies”.

It is a notorious fact that the Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or an act of aggression.

The Security Council is expected to be responsive and responsible at all times and should call upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement.

Under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Security Council can take enforcement measures to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such measures range from economic sanctions to international military action. The Council also establishes UN Peacekeeping Operations and Special Political Missions.

Pathetically, the UN has done none of this but what it did was to appoint a Nigerian General to investigate the killings in Burundi but not one investigative team has been raised on the killings in Nigeria. Armed Fulani herdsmen have killed over 6000 Nigerians in the last tgree years of the Buhari’s administration much more than the total number killed in Burundi.

But the United Nations (UN) chose to appoint retired Lt. Gen. Chikadibia Obiakor of Nigeria to head a special investigation into the killing of some Burundian refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

This was contained in a statement issued by Mr. Stephane Dujarric, spokesmen for UN Secretary General in New York and announced by Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

The UN must not forsake Nigerians. The World can’t accommodate 205 million refugees that will flow from any eventuality should a civil war be the inevitable consequence of the well-coordinated attacks and pogroms by armed Fulani herdsmen who are enjoying federal government patronage and are being granted soft landing of cattle colonies to be erected by force in strange communities far from the Northern indigenous homes of Fulanis. A stitch in time saves nine.

* Emmanuel Onwubiko is the Head of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and [email protected] ; www.huriwanigeria.com ; www.huriwa.blogspot.com .


SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)

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