Nigerian Senate considers moves to force President to act over Fulani threat
The Nigerian senate has threatened ‘to shut down’ the upper legislative chamber to force President Muhammadu Buhari into taking effective action in stopping the devastation of predominantly Christian communities of the Middle Belt region of the country by Fulani cattle herdsmen.
The deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, speaking at the plenary on Tuesday 16 April, said: “The primary purpose of government anywhere in the world is the preservation of the lives of citizens.”
“The time has come for us to seek help from other countries. We should not be ashamed to ask for help,” he declared.
Ekweremadu said, “If it gets to a level where we have to shut down this National Assembly and sit down with the executive for as long as it lasts to resolve the problem, we will have to do that.”
The call comes after another wave of attacks and killings in Nasarawa and Benue states over the weekend that have claimed the lives of over 30 people.
The senator representing Nasarawa constituency, Solomon Adokwe, said: “Throughout the weekend to this moment, herdsmen have unleashed mayhem on the people of my senatorial district, leaving many dead bodies, numerous injured persons and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons. The victims are largely the Tiv speaking ethnic nationalities, with a reported dead toll of 32 persons, and we are still counting.”
The senator said the Islamic Fulani herdsmen carried out “a well-coordinated and simultaneous carnage” four communities; Awe, Obi, Keana and Doma Local Government councils.
“The tragedy is that for four days running, this mayhem has continued unhindered, unchecked, unstopped by any arm of the law and security enforcement agencies,” Adokwe pointed out.
“Indeed, right under the nose of the armed forces and the police, this killing is sustained by sheer negligence or refusal to act by the security agencies. It is very sad that in Nigeria, with all the security forces, a whole senatorial district will go on being punished by militia and no action coming from government,” Adokwe said.
Senator Barnabas Gemade who represents Benue State said that Nigeria was becoming a state in which there had been ethnic cleansing.
The senator put the blame on the federal government and said: “It is a shame that a sitting government could watch criminality go to the level that we have seen it today. Rather than rise up and take very decisive steps against it, we embark on denials and shield this evil by just explaining, with flimsy excuses, that these are communal clashes between communities.”
Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos
Image Credits/Google images/Ekweremadu/