“The truth is nothing but the truth, no matter how it is told or who tells it, or where it is told. There is an overwhelming public perception that the Buhari administration has been providing moral and logistical supports to suspected herdsmen to invade and attack many parts of the country, especially the Middle Belt, Southern Kaduna and Southern parts of the country”

Last week, Islamic cleric, Sheik Abubakar Gumi, dropped a bombshell on the rooftop of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. In an interview he granted the Arise TV, the controversial cleric alleged that the Nigerian military has been colluding with terrorists, bandits, and herdsmen to smuggle weapons into Nigeria to kill and commit crimes. “I know that these bandits are cooperating with a lot of bad elements in our security system.

This is a business, and you would be surprised that so many people are involved. How can these big weapons cross our borders and get into the hands of bandits without the cooperation of some bad elements within our security system? It is not possible! If I give you the same amount of weapons, can you take it into the UK? It won’t be possible because their security is alert”, he said. Nigeria, he posited, is enmeshed in a “tribal war” and the federal government that is supposed to show neutrality and mediates has, unfortunately, taken side already thereby making any peaceful negotiation among warring parties very difficult. He, therefore, suggested that the way out is “to overhaul our security system.” Of course, the Nigerian military responded with a straight rebuttal and a warning for the cleric to desist from fanning embers of discord and conflicts in the country.

The military, the Nigerian Army Headquarters stated, has continued to make sacrifices for the unity and peace of the country. The truth is nothing but the truth, no matter how it is told or who tells it, or where it is told. There is an overwhelming public perception that the Buhari administration has been providing moral and logistical support to suspected herdsmen to invade and attack many parts of the country, especially the Middle Belt, Southern Kaduna, and Southern parts of the country. This was not the first time this kind of allegation was made.

It first went feral and viral in March 2018 when General T. Y. Danjuma exploded in a rare public outburst, accusing the Nigerian soldiers of colluding with suspected Fulani herdsmen to kill farmers and Middle Belt peasants and take over their communities. He thus called communities to rise up in self-defense. The military responded to that allegation swiftly by setting up a special panel to look into the matter. Of course, the military was exonerated. In January this year, traditional rulers in Ogun State wrote to the Brigade Commander, 35 Artillery Brigade, Nigerian Army, Alamala, Abeokuta, complaining of how soldiers escorted and provided cover for suspected Fulani herdsmen to invade their farmlands, rape and main.

Since Garba Shehu, the presidential spokesperson, told the nation that suspected criminal herders were being arrested and prosecuted around the country, has anybody heard where such arrests and prosecution happen? Is there any update on this public lie? It is a sad history of this country at this material time that the government has taken a rather condemnable position as alleged, thereby making innocent and unarmed citizens vulnerable to marauding killers.

This repeated, seemingly unimpeachable allegation is gaining national currency, and it is very dangerous for the fragile peace of this nation. This government has lost public trust and confidence on all fronts. We, therefore, demand that the government rise up to its responsibility and investigate this matter holistically through a transparent public hearing with a view to arresting the situation. The country, indeed, is drifting away into avoidable implosion. Something should be done now to tame the situation.


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