A security expert who is the Chief Executive Officer, Enviroque Technologies Limited, Desmond Okeowo, tells TOBI AWORINDE that President Muhammadu Buhari lacks the political will to tackle internal security
How seriously do you think the Federal Government should take the issue of security this year?
The government is not taking the issue of security as it should take it. And it is so unfortunate that the number one Fulani herdsman in Nigeria, which is the President, is just talking about the incessant killing by Fulani herdsmen. The President is just voicing it today (Wednesday) and this thing has been going on. You can see that these guys are unleashing terror on the people everyday.
In Benue State, a whole governor, the number one citizen of that state, had to call on the Federal Government to come and help. That means he has lost entirely the security situation in his state because he has just declared a state of emergency. We have been coexisting with Fulani herdsmen in this country for God knows how long. Why is it now that they are bold enough to start slaughtering people up and down?
Do you think the President should take responsibility as a member of the Fulani ethnicity?
The President has a lot to do personally. He should address his Fulani kinsmen in Hausa, or his local language, and tell them to stop these senseless killings. We have to coexist; that’s the beauty in Nigeria—coexistence of multiple ethnicities. I opened the newspapers today and what came to my mind was enough to give me a heart attack. A new year! They slaughtered people going to church! They slaughtered people who were sleeping—children! I saw it on the TV; a child had a gash. They slaughtered women. For how long will this madness continue?
To me, the body language of Mr. President is not good enough and I will tell him when I see him. Mr. President is not doing enough! Where are the Fulani herdsmen years back? We were all in this country. Were they not living here? How come they just started to shoot and kill people in a whole city? In a whole community, they wipe out 50 people. How many people would be left in that community? Mr. President — and I’m not saying the government now — has a lot to do. He should call his clansmen to order; otherwise the blood of those people will be on his hands.
We need to move to the 21st Century kind of ranches. Who does this kind of thing in the 21st Century, pulling cows all the way from Kaduna or wherever to the South-East and killing people along the way, destroying farms? It’s high time we told Mr. President to his face. These are his clansmen. In fact, your security and my security lies in the hands of Mr. President; if he is not able to contain it, he should resign and leave the seat. In the six years of (Goodluck) Jonathan, maybe it happened but I can’t remember seeing this kind of incessant killing from Fulani herdsmen.
What is your advice to President Muhammadu Buhari?
I understand the country has its problems here and there, but if Mr. President can do this for us, let him call the clansmen to order, have a meeting with the Miyetti Allah and let them know these things can’t continue to go on. We are fooling ourselves in the eyes of the world. Who wants to come and invest in a country where they are killing human beings? If you see the way they gashed the back of that child — that child can’t be more than two years old! Machetes! Women! For what? We are not fighting over land. We are not fighting over cows. Just that they want to graze their cows and the next thing, they are killing human beings, levelling a whole community. God is not happy. The government should do more, but I know that if Mr. President puts his personal effort into this thing, it will stop.