By Kene Obiezu
SIR: In an update about the progress of efforts to recapture the inmates who recently escaped from during the jailbreak in Kabba, Kogi State, Kingsley Fanwo, the state commissioner for information, reserved rather glowing tributes for Fulani herdsmen. Lauding them for capturing some of the fleeing inmates and handing them over to the state government, Fanwo also let rip at political saboteurs and their desperate attempts to rubbish the security gains recorded in Kogi State.
Fanwo did not elaborate on the saboteurs but he went further to enumerate how the fortunes of Kogi State had ben mightily transformed from its ignoble status as the headquarters of insecurity to its new status as a haven of peace and security. Fanwo‘s rather generous insinuations and innuendoes may have been easily ignored were it not for the curious issues they raise.
First, it salts the wounds of the good people of Kogi State to say that insecurity no longer ravages the state. While Fanwo and his principal enjoy the relative security of Lokoja, the state capital and the fawning attention of countless security personnel remunerated from the tears of Kogi taxpayers, the rural poor are left to look over their shoulders every day. Rampaging kidnappers still pounce on unsuspecting communities unannounced. The Kogi State government, through its mouthpiece Fanwo is yet tell the good people of Kogi State how many of those murderous criminals have been apprehended and prosecuted. As things stand, the monsters who have turned the state into a hotbed of insecurity are yet to be apprehended and prosecuted.
Second, the security partnership between the ‘trailblazing’ Kogi State government and Fulani herdsmen is most curious. Since when did Fulani herdsmen become part of the security architecture of Kogi State or indeed any state in Nigeria?
As insecurity crisis has raged felling communities and leaving an entire country shell-shocked, herdsmen have been roundly fingered as chief culprits in devastating attacks on rural communities. Harrowing accounts have been rendered by survivors of massacred communities of how herdsmen attacked their villages and slaughtered men, women and children. Miyetti Allah, the umbrella association of cattle herders in the country, has upped its aggression in defending its members. This has formed the foundation upon which the tension that convulses the country is built.
Every day, the friction between herdsmen and farmers soars amidst convoluted conversations about grazing. The implications of these murmurs of discontent for the country‘s fragile unity are better imagined.
It is why the experiment in Kogi state is bound to raise eyebrows. The Kogi State government may be excited about its partnership with Fulani herdsmen that are turning in fleeing jail inmates, however, the same cannot be said of the good people of Kogi State, many of whom are crying for justice over the crimes visited on them and their families.