Worried by the security and economic situations plaguing Nigerians, human rights activist and senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to forget his ambition of running for a second term next year and address the enormous challenges in the country today.
In the same vein, the Tor Tiv and paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, Prof James Ortese Ayatse, while condemning “the barbaric, unprovoked attacks and killings” of his subjects by marauding Fulani herdsmen, insisted it was a well-planned, coordinated genocide against his people.
The Tor Tiv, who is also the Chairman of Benue State Council of Chiefs, added: “It is our belief that the whole thing is targeted and well-planned and it is nothing short of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Tiv nation.”
According Sani, the President and his second term campaigners have no basis to seek for the votes of Nigerians when Fulani herdsmen and kidnappers have waged unrelenting war against many communities in the country, with scores killed and properties destroyed.
The senator said: “It is wrong to be talking of the re-election of Buhari as President when hundreds of lives are being lost and people are being massacred in different parts of the country.
“In time of bloodshed like this, the issue should be how to come together and address the problem. But those marketing the President at a time of this bloodshed are like people dancing on the graves of Nigerians.
“Campaigning for Buhari for next year’s election when people are being killed, when orphans and widows are being produced as a result of the tragedy of these circumstances and people are being kidnapped, I think amounts to political sacrilege.
“It is an insult on the conscience of Nigerians and it is an insult on the moral integrity of Nigerians for anybody to ignore what is happening and simply walk to the President and tell him that what is important at this material time is his re-election campaign for next year’s election.”
He lamented the level of attacks and killings by armed Fulani herdsmen in Benue, saying: “If we allow this trend to continue, it would threaten the peace and unity of this country.
“I advise people advising the President and strategising for him to contest the elections to spare him some time, advise him well and provide a solid strategy to end the carnage and atrocities that is going on in the country today.
“Human life is more important than politics, because you cannot preside over dead people. The images we see in both social and traditional media is heart-rending and despicable.
“I can tell you that over a year ago, the President was in Zamfara State in military fatigue to address the problem of banditry and mass killing. The President should be seen in any part of the country where such violence occurs.
“The President must visit Southern Kaduna, Birnin Gwari, Taraba, Benue, Rivers and Adamawa states. It gives people some hope that their Commander-in-Chief is determined and committed to defend and protect them.”
The Tor Tiv, speaking on the comment penultimate Friday by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, that the killings were due to communal crisis, stated: “We don’t share borders with the Fulanis, so for them to move from wherever they are to come and attack us and somebody considers it a communal crisis, I think I need to learn English Language again.”
With regards to the President not visiting the state over the killings, he said: “In times like this, when we are under attack, brutally wounded and in sorrow, we need his comfort and encouragement.
“Yes, he has sent the Minister of Interior to come and interact with us and the IGP to come and see how he can address the situation, the President has not come yet, but I am still expecting that he will come, because if he doesn’t come, we will not think he is treating us as friends. This is because things have happened elsewhere and he had gone there in person.
“To have the President visit a place that is mourning over this kind of attacks going on in Benue State will speak volumes of his care and concern for the people that voted him. Even if he just comes and waves at us and says, ‘look, we are aware of what you feel. I have come to commiserate with you, I will go back and see what can be done.’
“There is a difference between going there yourself and being represented. When you go yourself, your whole physical, emotional, spiritual and everything is involved and you can assess the situation better when you see yourself. Your level of commitment and empathy is bound to be different.”