The Oasis Reporters
June 25, 2018
As a result of the latest attacks in Plateau state by armed herdsmen, innocent people mainly passengers and other travellers, are being stopped at roadblocks mounted by lynch mobs and molested or killed in retaliation for herdsmen atrocities. You may be a victim, your sister may be a victim, and your brother may be a victim of this mob violence. When armed herdsmen are creating the conditions that lead to mob violence against innocent people, why shouldn’t we be worried and condemn them without reservation?
Despite the videos of armed herdsmen chanting war songs while on their missions to carry out attacks, and despite the accounts of surviving victims of kidnapping who reveal the identity of their attackers, we continue to deceive ourselves that they are not herdsmen. Despite the fact that the Plateau victims know their attackers, we choose to blame the victims by protecting the identity of the mass murderers.
Instead of admitting the reality of the fact that the herdsmen have morphed into heavily armed killers, we continue to pretend that they are “innocent” people who merely carry sticks. We can readily believe any story linking Tiv people to militia violence, but we find it difficult to accept the involvement of armed herdsmen in violence against others and give flimsy excuses that they are incapable of such level of sophistication to use AK-47s.
We continue to peddle useless conspiracy theories that the attacks are being sponsored by the enemies of the government, the same conspiracy theories we discredited in 2014/2015.
How can you now adopt the same conspiracy theories that you once condemned as unfounded?
Why are we playing politics with human life, and creating excuses for murderers?
How do these cranky conspiracy theories reassure the victims of insecurity in Plateau, Kaduna and Zamfara States?
We can’t continue tilting at windmills without looking ridiculous. We should have the courage to acknowledge the reality of evil men even if we share a common ethnic identity with them. Criminals are criminals, and we shouldn’t therefore, create excuses for them because of ethnic sentiments.
When a gang of Igbo gunmen attacked a Church at Ozubulu, Anambra State in August 2017, leaving 35 worshippers dead, the conspiracy theories were immediately activated. They argued that the attackers couldn’t have been Igbos because “the Igbos don’t kill their own brothers.” The whole idea was meant to divert attention and blame the Boko Haram terrorists. But as events unfolded, linking the attack to drug war, the conspiracy theories were discredited as more damning facts came to the surface.
Criminals don’t care about brotherhood.
Who are the victims of Zamfara violence? Are they not the Hausa/Fulani?
One kidnap victim thought speaking Fulfulde would secure him freedom, but his captors told him to forget that ethnic sentiment and pay the ransom if he wanted to live.
So why should you feel any duty to live in denial about the reality of herdsmen being involved in murderous atrocities?
Why do you owe any duty to give excuses for criminals because of ethnic solidarity?
We must speak with one voice against crime. We can’t defeat mass murderers if we are divided by worthless conspiracy theories.