Sir, in more civilized climes and especially in the event of a catastrophic loss of lives, sensitive and politically astute Presidents fly back from foreign trips or cancel international meetings altogether, no matter how important. Their goal is to take charge of the situation back home and calm the public's fears and concerns. Not you Mr. President. You are about to jet off again. This time to Equatorial Guinea.
Two weeks ago, I provided detailed reports about the carnage in Benue State. Reports that were later confirmed by the media. Last week, several towns and villages in Adamawa State were sacked by Islamist Fulani herdsmen. This weekend, the Rector of Ekiti University announced the destruction of millions of Naira worth of farmland and crops by Fulani herdsmen. Also, this weekend, none other than former Nigerian Senate President David Mark and his security detail were brazenly attacked by Fulani marauders while inspecting Agatu and surrounding areas in Benue State. Such is the defiance, fearlessness, and determination of the Fulani nomads. They really don't give a rat's behind about who is or is not in any convoy.
I have no clue who your advisors are. But this much I can tell you. They are doing a lousy job.
In my humble opinion, wisdom, tact, and common sense dictate that you do the following -
1. Address the nation directly on TV and radio.
2. Commiserate with affected communities and deliver a message of peace and hope.
3. Promise the rapid delivery of compensation and restitution to the survivors, the wounded, and the families of those who have lost livelihoods and loved ones.
4. Go on BBC and other relevant radio services that Fulanis have a tendency to listen to. Speak to them in their own language, and in no uncertain terms state that this nonsense must come to an end quickly.
5. Set up and empower a Rapid Task Force with a view to stopping future violence and preventing a national conflict that might be much more difficult to contain.
6. Personally visit the affected communities to see things for yourself.
7. As Grand Patron of Myeti Allah, the umbrella Fulani cattle herders association, meet with the leadership pronto and explain in vivid detail what the consequences of future conflicts could be.
I recall your righteous indignation in 2000, when you stormed Ibadan to meet with Governor Lam Adesina of Oyo State in order to protest the alleged killing of Fulani herdsmen, when the fact of the matter at the time was that the Fulani were the aggressors. Today, there is complete silence from you in particular.
Mr President, you owe it to Nigerians, to the many Fulani herdsmen of no determinate nationality who rampage and roam Nigeria, and to future generations, to be seen at this time to be alive to your responsibilities; to the plight of affected communities in word and deed; and to the security implications of these most barbaric and medieval acts.
So far, you have failed to squash Boko Haram as you had us believe during your electoral campaign. Many now believe, the Fulani herders are actually Boko Haram in disguise. You cannot afford to have another front open up that could potentially lead to a major backlash against Fulani herders.
If you have not been told already by the fawning advisors who tend to obsequiously kow tow to Presidents and only tell them what they want to hear, know this. Today, in the seeming absence of security and the denial by government officials of the massacres by Fulanis, Nigerians in large numbers are talking about the necessity of arming themselves by all means possible. They are beginning to realize that dead men and women do not write history.
Sir, for your good, and the good of Nigerians, I respectfully ask you to act and speak now, before it is too late!
Dr Victor Oladokun
A Concerned Nigerian