Editorial

Don’t let herdsmen killers come here

The activities of so-called herdsmen must not take us unawares in this state. The plans of the government of Imo state for protecting the state from the menace of so-called herdsmen should by now have been in place as is the case in some other states that have outlawed free or open cattle grazing in their territories. We think that should also happen here and be ruthlessly enforced.
However the people of Nigeria do not believe that those killing people with automatic weapons are herdsmen, the wretched, hungry, rag-tag, frail and nomadic cattle boys, armed with sticks in the bushes. They believe the killings are the act of trained militiamen out for destruction, intimidation and dominance. This is the grievous angle to the problem. The name we call them does not matter. It is largely deceptive. Nigerians believe this because that has not been denied convincingly. Neither are most people persuaded that herdsmen can do what they are said to be doing.
The federal government is treating the menace with levity.
Down here in Imo state, people are surprised that their government has not reacted to the murderous activities of the so-called herdsmen. Occasionally, though more frequently, people’s farms have been trampled upon with some killings recorded. But the government has done nothing.
The saving grace is that the communities affected have for fear of being killed toed the line of least resistance. They promptly took the matter to the governor and the commissioner of police whose responses have always left much to be desired.
A situation where the people are made to feel defenseless to rampaging herdsmen must not be allowed in this state. It will only encourage the people to resort to self help. You cannot assume that people who face death will not try by all means to defend themselves. When such happens a latent state of war has been instituted.
Even if in nowhere else people do it, all arms of government and the people must put heads together to ensure that Imo is unreachable to killer herdsmen in whatever name, guise, shape or form they may want to operate. Henceforth not a farm crop or human life in Imo state will be lost to the activities of herdsmen. Otherwise it will be a serious indictment of the state government.
A war in which the bone of contention is turning the crops human being should eat to food for cattle and animals is worse than using weapons of mass destruction. The effect will be massive and catastrophic. It will be worse than the civil war experience. Whatever can be done must be done now to pre-empt such wicked aggression.
To do it, we must shun self-pity. We must stop complaining because those we complain to may not listen to us. We’ve got to face the challenge squarely.

About the author

admin