SECURING NIGERIA FROM TERROR: THE URGENT NEED TO INVOKE RELEVANT SECTIONS OF OUR LAWS FOR THE PROSCRIPTION AND DESIGNATION OF KILLER HERDSMEN A TERRORIST GROUP
We are extremely concerned that the survival of Nigeria is currently being threatened by the atrocities of killer herdsmen in the country. On a daily basis, innocent Nigerians are being slaughtered in different parts of the country. In 2018 alone, hundreds of innocent Nigerians have been cut down by this group, and hundreds of communities have been affected by its wanton destructions of human lives and properties, so much so that President Muhammadu Buhari had to publicly declare during his recent visits to the United Kingdom and the United States of America, that Nigeria is under the invasion of killer herdsmen from Libya. It is, however, instructive to admit for effective action and intervention that there cannot be infiltrations into the country by external forces without internal collaborators.
- We consider the recent decision of the Federal Government that “all animal farmers must ranch their cattle and livestock for better productivity,” as a significant step, but one that is not sufficient alone to stop the killings and destructions because the country is already under the invasion of killer herdsmen who have penetrated every part and are in vast possessions of dangerous weapons with covert line of funding.
- According to the Global Terrorism Index, these killer herdsmen are the deadliest in Nigeria; deadlier than Boko Haram, and at a point, was declared the fourth deadliest extremist group in the world. Available statistics show that more than 900 innocent lives have been lost so far in 2018 to the unprovoked, brutish attacks of killer herdsmen in the Middle-belt zone of the country, alone. Scores have also been massacred in other zones, thereby putting the country on the precipice. Please recall that thousands of Nigerians have died in the last five years as a result of killer herdsmen attacks and killings, causing serious economic and social dislocations to communities and tens of thousands of people.
- The attacks by these killer herdsmen have affected innocent and peace-loving Nigerians in their thousands across the country, uprooted families, destroyed communities’ socio-economic activities and businesses, depriving them of their means of survival and the desecration of their cultural and ancestral heritage. These barbaric killings and mindless attacks undermine the laws of Nigeria and principles of the UN Charter concerning the protection of human life.
- With utmost sense of concern and responsibility, we write on behalf of all the victims of these inhumane killings and all angry, frustrated, and oppressed Nigerians, demanding that the Federal Government takes an immediate step to invoke Section 2(1)(c) of the Terrorism Prevention Act (TPA) 2011, against the killer herdsmen, which provides in pertinent part that:
“(1) Where two or more persons associate for the purpose of or where an organization engages in — (a) Participating or collaborating in an act of terrorism; (b) promoting, encouraging or exhorting others to commit an act of terrorism; or (c) setting up or pursuing acts of terrorism, the judge in Chambers may on an application made by the Attorney General, National Security Adviser or Inspector General of Police on the approval of the President; declare any entity to be a proscribed organization and the notice should be published in official gazette.”
- It is clearly stated in Chapter II section 14 (2)b of the 1999 constitution (as amended) that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Unfortunately, the reverse has been the case so far. And the implication of government’s inability to nip this crisis in the bud is the potentiality of it snowballing into an uncontrollable chaotic whirlwind.
- The proscription of these killer herdsmen and their designation as a terrorist group will give the Federal Government a greater leverage to seek better regional cooperation and international support to confront and address this menace concertedly. The fact that the Federal Government has banned open grazing of cattle, has provided a significant window for security agencies to identify these killer herdsmen so that they can go after them and also investigate their line of funding to unravel those who are secretly colluding with the group.
- We are aware, that the Benue state government has in a judicial process, identified and alleged that a group known as Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, is responsible for the widespread killings and violence across 14 out of the 23 local councils in the state. This development has made it compelling for the government to quickly investigate the activities of the group in the interest of entrenching justice, safety, and peace in the state, and the entire country.
- We would also like to bring to your attention that the 2019 general elections are scheduled to commence in about 281 days from now, and since the present administration’s focus is to enable a free, fair and credible election, it is crucial that all vestiges of violence are completely exterminated.
- We, therefore, strongly urge your esteemed office, which is the highest custodian of law in the country, to immediately take firm action towards getting President Muhammadu Buhari to proscribe and designate the killer herdsmen a terrorist group in Nigeria. By doing so, we believe that the Federal Government will be one step farther in ending this deadly group, at the soonest time possible.
Whilst awaiting your prompt action on our earnest entreaty, please accept the assurances of our highest regard.
FOR: Concerned Nigerians
Ariyo Dare Atoye
For: Coalition in Defence Of Nigerian Democracy
Bako Abdul Usman
For: Campaign For Democracy
FOR: MAD Connect
CC: Mr. Mohammed Babagana Monguno
Office of the National Security Adviser
Mr. Ibrahim Idris
Office of the Inspector General of Police