For those of us who have committed a majority of our lives and time these past few years to combating Boko Haram terror across West Africa, a recent article by a Nigerian Senator, Ben Murray-Bruce, published in ThisDay, could not be more insensitive, mischievous, malicious and suspicious, particularly at a time when at last Nigeria is concentrating on putting a lid on this dastardly menace that has seemed so intractable for too many years.
The Senator as an opening, made the allegation that Fulani marauders had killed more Nigerians that Boko Haram in the past five years.
Quoting Murray-Bruce, "It will shock Nigerians to know that more people have died as a result of Fulani/indigene clashes in the last half a decade than have died from terrorist activity occasioned by the Boko Haram terrorist sect. "
Also Read: Is Alex Badeh putting the Boko Haram blame on the past government?
Whereas by local estimates, Boko Haram has killed no less than 100,000-1 million Nigerians through the Jonathan years, with mass murders going on in captured territory, cut off from Nigeria, only for mass graves to be found later when these territories are recaptured, can Senator Bruce show similar figures and such unreported pogroms from the cattle rearers?
While Nigeria under Jonathan did not have a public death totals data compilation, we are fortunate to have one created and update daily by the United States Council on Foreign relations, CFR. I am not sure what data Ben Murray-Bruce used to reach his insensitive and careless conclusion, but this below is a most useful account of media reported cases over the Jonathan, last 5 years in Nigeria.
The CFR terrorism tracker has:
Boko Haram: 14,000
Boko Haram and State actor: Another 12,000
State Actor: 5,000+
Sectarian Actor: 5,000+
This puts Boko Haram in the 20,000 range if it adopts half the combination with ‘State actor’ and Boko Haram pogrom implicated/related total to 31,000!
Whereas all Sectarian death, which includes Fulani clashes is 5,000. And this includes all types of Sectarian and related clashes, North to South.
So why was Senator Ben Murray-Bruce being so malicious, insensitive and patriotic of Boko Haram? Is there an attempt by the Senator to hinder investigation into the root of Boko Haram terror and divert the nation's attention from this deadly group and seeking their termination and justice for all sponsors from whatever part of Nigeria or the world they may come from?
Why would anyone even compare one group of terror deaths to another in the first place? There is simply no commonsense in this. Does numbers make deaths better or worse? Is one innocent life not to many?
And can Bruce find in the Fulani raids, an equivalent of the world's second largest displacement figure Nigeria now carries...the displacing of as many as 2 million Nigerians which is directly related to the measure of deadliness. The displacement alone which has caused thousands of other un-categorized deaths.
The timing of this article, while Nigeria, in cooperation with its neighbors is at last seriously and determinately battling the terrorists and needs all the support it can get from the masses to end this seeming intractable crisis, is suspicious to say the least. And why was this Press release right after former Army Chief Alex Badeh had implicated former president Goodluck Jonathan, the former army chief, Azubuike Ihejirika and the PDP administrations of the past 16 years (before which equipment will be obsolete so going further than 10-15 years is not reasonable) for diverting funds meant for the army and underfunding the army, thereby making it possible for Boko Haram to destroy Nigeria's north?
In the article, Ben Bruce mentioned a massacre of 500 at Dogo na Hauwa. While these clashes of the time and the massacres were without question, horrendous and unjustifiable, can the numbers compare to Boko Haram's single episode at Baga this year where 2500 were killed in one shot? But I will not denigrate into Bruce's lowly position where we compare numbers of dead and say this is sweeter than that.
Is the Senator too far from affected areas to know that many recent so-called Fulani marauder episodes have actually been Boko Haram in disguise as images of so-called marauders captured showed people dressed in Fulani garb who were anything but Fulani? [See: TrentOnline-Revealed: Arrested Fulani Herdsmen Confess To Be Boko Haram Members (PICTURED)]
Also Read: Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kill four in road ambush in Borno
So what mischief was Ben Bruce up to, and why will a Senator who's share of a budget is as much as N440 million ($2 million) a year, economic terrorism in itself, not be able to pay for proper research, but produce such dangerous material for Nigerian adults and kids' consumption? This is dangerous, treacherous and a risk to Nigeria being a man at the helm of power.
While the suggestion of re-establishing grazing routes in the political article makes sense, the careless assumption that ranch raising is "modern" thrown in the article again goes to show a lack of thought, research or honesty.
Review pastoral grazing Rangelands in America. See Taylor Grazing Act. Study Federal Land Policy and Management Act, FLPMA. China and its pastoral Rangelands.
Etc, etc. So why would our over compensated Senators be channels of misinformation... or rather, why not? They are the ones after all that have made mob violence tolerated in Nigeria while using its cover to permit the looting of billions of dollars of funds over the past 16 years, meant to upgrade our security systems to control both Fulani land wars and Boko Haram.
And why does the Senator not write about those destroying the ecosystem constructing monuments all over the land, buildings they can never occupy, the real reason why there is competition for land? Is it right for former senators, governors, presidents to own hectares and hectares of land as a private estate; land bought with looted public funds?
The senator went further to suggest that cattle rearers were foreign to Nigeria, the Dokubo doctrine which Senator Bruce could only have learned if he went to do a course at King Amachree University in Togo. Due respect. Bruce said all cows should be shot some tag and this should be done at the border. While the tagging of all millions of cows and not the herders is retarded, his insinuation that this operation can be done at the border, again reeked of King Amachree university education and was very troubling. Many Fulani pastoral rearers are Nigeria originated and based. You won't find them at the border, except perhaps on pilgrimage.
And while on land use and shooting something, why don't we shoot something into Senators and all lawmakers for the looted money on looted land monuments, which are the big reason for the competition for land; with thousands of homes they built in Abuja, unoccupied? Apo Senatorial estate coveted by Senators, anybody?
In the conclusion of the article that must be pulled and apologized for, due to its falsities and support of Boko Haram terror, Bruce went on to lickspittle Senate President Bukola Saraki; praising him for importing Zimbabwean colonialist farmers who were driven out of Zimbabwe. When reading that, one cringes and must only hope Black Nigerian hired and paid Senator Bruce was being sarcastic at that point. Perhaps the article was just an advert for Saraki to assist Senators desperate to stand by him for impunity against Buhari and the angry masses of Nigeria. In any case it was a sorry read and is dangerous to Nigeria, especially our kids.
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