The Presidency has threatened that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government was moving ahead with force to crush the perpetrators of the recent incidents of unrest in Plateau State.
This is as the President has pleaded with the people of Jos the, Plateau State capital, and other warring communities to give peace a chance.
In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the presidency assured all citizens that as a government, the administration was on top of events and was moving ahead with force to crush those behind the recent killings in the state.
The statement read in part:
But to achieve success, our communities must unite against these horrific attacks. Retributive violence is not the answer.
While these troubled communities are being reinforced with security personnel, our religious, traditional and other community leaders must not allow the use of their spaces for the propagation of violence and incitement to violence.
Attempts to simplify the reasons into a basic narrative may help raise donor-dollars for international NGOs, fill pages of overseas newspapers, and burnish foreign politicians’ faith credentials: but this does not increase understanding, nor offer solutions. If anything, simplistic theorizing and finger-pointing makes the situation worse.
It is important both for Nigerians and the international community to appreciate that there are a multitude of factors attendant to these troubles.
There is the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorism, as well as the spate of kidnappings for ransom, transformed by some misinformed global media into a Muslim-on-Christian threat. Yet, in reality, there are no religious connotations at all when the primate purpose of these acts is to extract money.
Then the herder-farmer clashes. While international voices and some Nigerian politicians who seek personal gain from division declare this a matter of religion, for those involved it is almost entirely a matter of access to water and land. Herders have moved their cattle and into contact with farmers for millennia.
But, increasingly, due to population pressure, the increased aridity of northern states, and climate change they are forced to travel further south to find grazing lands.
Then, further afield in the south-East, IPOB is not struggling for freedom when they attack police stations and property, but rather committing acts of terrorism in order to steal money. IPOB is not defending Christians – as their highly-paid foreign lobbyists claim – when almost every citizen of those the states they terrorize is uniformly Christian. Yet mistakenly, and because the lobbyists for IPOB have duped them, some misguided foreign media and politicians believe it so.
As for Nigerians, what we need is to come together. And we must do this first and for the most part by our own hands, by casting asunder those who seek to divide us for their own nefarious financial and political gain.