The killing of at least 15 people in a Catholic church in Benue state by suspected Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday has sparked fresh outpour of grief, as well as outrage.
As has become the custom, condolences were posted on social media, sending prayers to the bereaved and keeping them in thoughts. However, one person has had enough of the recurring deaths and will now take action to register her displeasure directly to President Buhari on his inability to bring the incessant killings to an end.
“Yesterday’s new report of yet another round of KILLINGS of 15 fellow citizens by Fulani Herdsmen in a Benue community made me decide that tweeting condolences cannot be the way WE indicate Enough Is Enough to the FG. THEIR FAILURE IS COSTING Nigeria TOO MANY LIVES” Dr Ezekwesili tweeted on Wednesday.
“How can it be that Nigerians are hacked to death and butchered as though they were cows and a President is in office merely releasing ‘press statements of condemnation of the perpetrators’? How? Does the President Muhammadu Buhari want to NORMALIZE such SERIAL KILLINGS in Nigeria?
“After yesterday’s KILLINGS in Benue, I decided that I shall do this short thread to announce that I am planning to embark on a MARCH to the VILLA with the placard that reads:
“It does not matter to me if I am alone.
“I believe that we have tweeted enough and read ENOUGH of our Commander-in-Chief, Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari ‘condemning’ the GRUESOME MURDERERS he should by now have FOUND AND PREVENTED from KILLING so many of his Citizens. I SHALL MARCH to SHOW THAT I AM TIRED OF THESE KILLINGS.
“Muhammadu Buhari SWORE to UPHOLD Nigeria’s Constitution. A CRITICAL PROVISION in 1999 Constitution is: Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria. Sec.33
“The unconvincing manner in which the President has acted as Commander-in-Chief on the Fulani Herdsmen Killings MUST BE CHALLENGED. I shall no longer be part of a society that wishes to KEEP SILENT or just tweet condolences. I WILL MARCH FOR ACTION TO THE VILLA”
From the beginning of the year, there have been killings in Benue and other states of the country across the Middle Belt. Beside suggestions on creating Cattle Colonies, there has yet to be a clearly communicated policy strategy for handling the herders-farmers crises that has taken hundreds of lives and damaged properties in the region.
Mrs Ezekwesili’s statement contains a commitment to march, not just for Benue, but for the victims of the herdsmen killings, regardless of whether people of those states are protesting or not.
“Someone said, ‘Where are the Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa, Plateau people?’ ‘Who are they waiting for before they come out and see demand an end to the killings in their States?’. My Reply? My understanding of Shared Humanity has no room for ‘State of Origin’. HUMANITY trumps.” she said.
Mrs Ezekwesili is the covener of the Red Card movement that formally launched in Abuja last week, and also a co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group demanding the release of the remaining 112 girls abducted from Chibok in April 2014. The BBOG group has faced stifling restrictions by the Police recently, with seizure of their property and tear-gassing among the measures so far employed against them.
She concluded the statement by emphasizing that it was a personal action:
“I do not wish to simply condole another set of families again. I shall take my OWN ACTION that is within my power. You are entitled to your own Choice”.
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