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Herdsmen Ban: Too Little Too Late & Rubbing Salt Into Injury ~ By Annkio Briggs

The reaction of President Buhari to the killings of two Rev. Fathers, Fr. Joseph Gor and Fr. Felix Tyolaha and 19 parishioners including children by herdsmen is too little too late.

Catholic faithfuls went to 5.30am Mass unknown to them the militia herdsmen had laid ambush in the community.

The armed herdsmen later surrounded the church and killed all the early callers in the church, and went ahead to set ablaze houses in the village shooting indiscriminately as villagers fled. These killings have gone on since 2015 mercilessly and unabated.

The Federal Government, the military, and the supporters of Fulani herdsmen keep disrespecting Christians by referring to this ethnic and religious cleansing as farmer/herdsmen clashes.

Therefore the tweeted reaction of the President if it was sincere ought to have come to the victim’s family and the nation via a broadcast and should not have continued to explain why these and hundreds of thousands of Christians have been slaughtered in the Middle Belt for years and in other southern regions and states in the past 3 years.

The statement says that “It is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting”.

This statement is not enough, it is careless, more painful and without true feeling of condolence it would have been better if the President had maintained his usual silence, as his statement actually attempts to take away the blame from the real marauding heartless slaughters of Nigerians.

The President during his last outing in London while attending the gatherings of Commonwealth countries told the world that the killers of Christian-Nigerians are not Nigerians.

The conclusion is, the invaders of Nigeria are not Nigerians, yet they freely come into Nigeria, to Stoke religious conflict by killing only Christians.

As a Nigerian of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality, a Christian, of Rivers State of the Niger Delta region, my people and fellow Christians of Niger Delta region have  lost confidence in the capacity or willingness of the Federal Government to protect Christian-Nigerians from marauding killers, (according to the President and the Military) trained and armed by Gaddafi the late President of Libya who himself was murdered about 8 years ago.

If these killers were armed and trained by Gadaffi before he himself was murdered, were they trained and armed to wake up and attack Christians of Nigeria? If yes why?

Is this a Jihad, to impose Islam in the Christian areas of Nigeria?

Is this an attack that will eventually cross the River Niger and move into the South East and into the Niger Delta the Christian regions and states of Nigeria?

This decision by the Federal Government to make statements about its deafening silence of over 3 years is not the answer. The questions we are asking ourselves and on behalf of our children and their children is simply this:

When will we unfold our hands and defend ourselves, our people and our property? ~ Annkio Briggs

If Not are they being used by politicians who are bent on totally using these Gaddafi trained army of stateless armed marauders and armed  bandits using the Fulani herdsmen and their pastoral life style to  kill and occupy the Christian communities, towns, cities, and states of Northern Nigeria in the aim of using the Middle Belt as a base to launch a vicious attack to conquer and occupy the South of Nigeria particularly the Ndigbo Nationality and the Ethnic Nationalities of Niger Delta.

The Federal Government Bans Movement Of Herdsmen In Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna, and Plateau, State

This is another statement and decision Too Little Too Late, this decision made at the National Economic Council (NEC) which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday 26, 2018 with State Governors and relevant ministries of government and Central Bank of Nigeria.

VP Yemi Osinbajo presiding over NEC

After numerous  killings, slaughtering, of men, women, old and young, babies and children, in their sleep, farms and homes, after several rapes and burning of communities, destructions of homes and internally displaced persons suffering in IDP camps the Federal Government makes the statement that it has banned the movement of herdsmen.

Does that make everything alright?

This government has allowed herdsmen who are non-Nigerians or are they armed terrorists trained by Gaddafi to kill Christian-Nigerians in the North East, South East, South West and Niger Delta and when the government decides when it is enough it declares NO MOVEMENT OF HERDSMEN in the five states they have mentioned?

Reading through the statement l am struck by the silent implications of the statement.

The Governor of Ebonyi Dave Umahi spoke to journalist that the Council has approved the creation of ranches across the country.

This decision by the Federal Government to make statements  about its deafening silence of over 3 years is not the answer. The questions we are asking ourselves and on behalf of our children and their children is simply this:

When will we unfold our hands and defend ourselves, our people and our property?

The Governor of Ebonyi state and the Economic Executive Council is here put on notice that the Niger Delta people having feed and sustained Nigeria for over 50 years with our Oil and Gas, will not be part of the regions that will create ranches for Non-Nigeria Cattle rearing businessmen who chose to maintain their pastoral life style and custom killing anyone in their way, and taking revenge on people or communities along their way who they think or believe have offended them or their kit and kin or their ancestors hundreds of years ago.

We have sparse land to use for ourselves after the destruction of our farms and lands by the International Oil Companies and their joint partners the Federal Government.

That the five mainly affected states which have witnessed killings from the herdsmen/farmers clashes, are expected to MAKE LAND AVAILABLE FOR RANCHES.

The NEC is put on notice since they seem to be unaware of the fact that this statement is BLACKMAIL and DISRESPECTFUL TO THE DEAD and INSENSITIVE to the pain, and loss of both loved ones and property.

If the members of NEC have lost loved one will they still be referring to these pogrom and genocide and ethnic and religious cleansing as herdsmen/farmers clashes?

When thousands of people are slaughtered in their homes, farms, and in their sleep, when a pregnant woman is raped to death, and a pregnant woman’s stomach is cut open and her unborn child ripped out and butchered over a sustained period of nearly 5 years it is barbaric, unGodly, evil, Satan and unforgivable, certainly it is not herdsmen and farmers clash.

It is GENOCIDE, IT IS POGROM, IT IS ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS CLEANSING!

By insisting that the body has approved the creation of ranches across Nigeria, and that the affected five states of Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, Kaduna, and Plateau States are EXPECTED to provide land for ranch creation is like making them to choose between been killed off for their whole state, or they share their state with people who don’t belong there, and have crossed in from neighbouring Countries to come and claim not only Nigeria citizenship in their states but indigenes of the five states.

This is unconstitutional, it is another form of slavery and taking over these states by strangers. All they need to be to dislodge the indigenes is that they are herdsmen or pastoral people.

This was how Bakassi was given away, and the indigenes of Bakassi are today homeless in their own land.

“There comes a time when if you are too weak to fight for what is rightfully yours then you deserve to lose it. If you are too weak to fight for the land that God put you in, then you don’t deserve it.” — Annkio Briggs, 27/04/2018.

 

If the five states refuse to give their land for grazing which is UNCONSTITUTIONAL then what this statement is saying is that the killing of people for their land will go on.

The reasons the NEC is giving for asking the indigenes of these states to forcefully give away their land is because the herdsmen and their families (we are told are not Nigerians) will be able to get good medical facilities and good schools for their children if they stay in one place and also the wellbeing of the cattle will improve.

These therefore are the reasons why thousands of Christians have been killed?

How is caring for non-Nigeria pastoral people the responsibility of Nigerians? It will not be the responsibility of the Niger Delta people!

Federal Government will work out interventions expected from the two parties, what?

Meaning the Federal Government will bring in non- Nigerian pastoral people from neighbouring countries to come take over part of the Christian-Nigerian states and then work out how they two can live together or more like how they strangers/immigrants can’t take over these states and impose their own life style, culture and religion on the indigenes.

Is this is not what happened before? This observation is drawn for the statement that “Herdsmen from neighbouring countries will be expected to show documentation”.

I ask who gives the documentation the neighbouring countries of their origin or the Federal Government of Nigeria who have put all these provisions in place.

Is this why we have woken up to hear that without carrying out a transparent census the Federal Government has informed us we are nearly 200 million Nigerians, and why there are extra polling units in the North?

Of course new Nigerians will vote in the extra thousands of polling units anywhere they are across Nigeria, this is why every state must provide land for ranching?

This will not be accepted in the Niger Delta, definitely not in Rivers state, as the governor of our state knows we gave him our mandate to govern, develop and protect our state and people not to give away our land to strangers to own, we know the governor of Rivers state will not undermine the desires of his people.

The most unbelievable and most expository of all the statements is the one made by Chief Audu Ogbeh the Minister of Agriculture, who in the past has said that the reason the herdsmen are heading to the Middle Belt and the South of Nigeria is that the grass and water is more nutritious for the cattle therefore the herdsmen won’t stop coming.

He also said  a few weeks ago that the killings of farmers by herdsmen will continue into 2019. In this report from the NEC meeting Audu Ogbeh says and l quote him

“Federal Government will no longer allow the killings to continue” Audu Ogbeh.

This confirms that the contribution by Rtd, General T.Y. Danjuma that Nigerians must defend themselves, that the army won’t defend them, if Nigerians wait for defence from the army and Federal Government they will all die the right and only advice left to the Nigerian Christians.

This is ethnic, religious cleansing no doubt but the Federal Government and the President should come clean and give Christian Nigerians the right information.

Are these well-coordinated, well trained, highly strategic invaders, are they Nigerian Fulani herdsmen, Foreign Fulani Herdsmen, Jihadists, yet to be identified deadly terrorists, or who?

Indeed the caution is for the world, all ethnic nationalities of what is today South of Nigeria brought into this contraption named Nigeria by Lugard particularly and the Ethnic Nationalities of the Niger Delta that their very existence as a people is at risk.

What has been playing out is not politics, what is playing out is about take over and imposition.

We have highly educated men and women, very smart, analytic men and women in the South of Nigeria but specifically the Niger Delta people must realise that if they refuse to learn at this point and note that what is going on right now was attempted hundreds of years ago, we were not conquered then we can’t be the people who will end up as those people that sat around and did nothing.

The people that did nothing even when they saw and understood clearly what is at stake and did nothing because they believed it was not possible.

It was possible before, it is happening again and we will and must say NO TO THIS EVIL.

As much as we have discussed and made several demands for things to change Which will give us a sense of ownership of Nigeria and be part of Nigeria we have been denied, should we continue to try and fail or is there anything we can do for a better future from here on?

The question we must answer collectively is

1 what do we think, believe or know that is going on in nigeria today, and what do we think will happen by December?

2 if we don’t want what is happening what do we want?

3 what is our time line  for safety?

4 what do we believe is our best option:

RESTRUCTURE

REAL FISCAL FEDERALISM

SELF-DETERMINATION?

If the Federal Government of President Buhari acquiesces to all of the above, will we ask for an all Ethnic Nationality REFERENDUM?

If you do not take a position and and express that position now don’t blame anyone but yourself later.

We, you and l, have to agree on what is best for us and stay with what is right.

Borrowing from Madiba: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL IT IS DONE.

Annkio Briggs writes from Port-Harcourt the Capital of Rivers State. she is a Rights Advocate, of Liberty, Equity, Justice, Development, Environment, Resources and Politics. She is known for her fearlessness to talk directly to power and people.

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