Kogi Herdsmen Attacks: Why Governor Bello, Lawmakers Should Go On Retreat in Benue

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By Samson Atek’ojo Usman.

Bello’s stance on Fulani herdsmen in Kogi while declaring that he would not propose anti-grazing law showed a demented idea. The resurgence of attacks across the state in recent times particularly after the governor had thrown the state open in his pronouncement at a security stakeholders’ meeting showed a manifest absurdity of governance.  The ugly trend best passed for travesty of governance in so much that the governor’s insouciant attitude to killings of innocent citizens in the state speaks ulterior motives.

It’s a political declaration to please his political super master and the situation does not take one’s time to deduce.  To succinctly put, Bello’s pronouncement is to please President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani man.
Unfortunately, the State House of Assembly headed by Rt. Hon. Mathew Kolawole as currently configured is a stooge of the governor. A rubber stamp of the state executive.  An appendage of Lugard House. To say it all, a buffetted legislature which is trapped in the cocoons of the state executive.
There have so much lost their bearings to an extent that some lawmakers run errands for the executive.  Divide and rule is the other of the day such that critical issues have to be excused from government house before it is debated.
One wonders if Kogi lawmakers know of historical antecedents of Fulani herdsmen.  From time immemorial in Futa Jalon to the present day Kogi state, it has been sad scenarios of maiming, carnage and wanton destruction of farmlands. Very dangerous pastoralists going about with AK47, and their orgy activities were being aided and abetted in Kogi on the altar of political irredentism.
How dare, governor Yahaya Bello said, Fulani herdsmen have rights to live anywhere in Kogi state.  Nobody contends with fundamental human rights of Fulani herdsmen or any group of people, but where their rights stopped, another person’s rights begins.
So, herdsmen don’t have rights to kill and destroy Kogi people as has been happening across the three Senatorial flanks for no provocation at all.
In democratic settings the world over, issues as they affected the people are discussed at legislative chambers. Public hearings are conducted as part of transparent processes. Outcomes are weighed to determine the wishes of the people or otherwise, then it would be legislated and passed into law. This is opposed to a situation where  Kogi governor belligerently dished out warnings against any traditional ruler in the state that would not allow Fulani herdsmen to live to be deposed.
The governor obviously took wrong decision at the wrong time. The decision was hasty, ill-advised and outrightly insensitive. He might have acted on second hand distorted information on insecurity in the state.  The governor’s source of information on Kogi insecurity was not only questionable, but, sychophantic by aides who would not dare tell him the truth for fears that they would lose their jobs.
The power to override executive assent to bills lies with the legislature and on this case, if governor Yahaya Bello would not assent to Anti-grazing bill because of his incurable loyalty to Buhari, lawmakers are expected to rise to the occasion in the interest of the dying masses.
Men are not made for laws, but laws are made for men. It’s trite to say that Taraba state in the North East, Benue State in the North Central and even Ekiti state in the South west have had share of ugly incidences of herdsmen attacks and rose to ocassion of anti grazing laws.  Today peace in those States were not in modicum, but largely.
Since Anti-grazing laws became enforceable on 1st November in Benue State, these marauders were migrating to nearby Kogi state in droves with heavy casualties.
How governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state got it right calls for a retreat for his Kogi state counterpart, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the state legislators so that they could be cross fertilisation of ideas.
Governor Samuel Ortom’s cloned idea of open Anti-grazing bill (now laws) was triggered by unprovoked wanton destruction of farmlands and communities across Benue State particularly the Agatu people in Ohimini Local government.
One recalls the spill over of those crises in the nearby Bagana in Omala local government of Kogi state.  For three years, Bagana which situates alongside lower river Benue, and the only community practising trade by barter in Africa became a ghost of itself.  The people deserted and were perching in Abejukolo as a result of herdsmen attacks.
In Omala local government and Dekina in Kogi east Senatorial district, no farmer goes to farm for fears of attacks.
In Yagba east, Yagba West in the Kogi West, it’s been the same daily attacks on farmers. Unfortunately, the economy of Kogi state has been grounded and people have resorted to farming to eke out a living, yet, they would be allowed by herdsmen.
Governor Bello has actually ran out of ideas. For political reasons, he has found a new responsibility as ‘del credere agent’ for President Buhari.  He has been trumpeting Mr. President’s achievements in office.  What would he boast as his own achievements?
Kogi state lawmakers are representatives of their constituents, so they’re accountable to those who elected them.
Why I insisted the Benue State’s retreat was that things are happening in Benue.  Democracy is at work there.  The separation of powers is the order of day there.
Just last week, the Benue State House of Assembly amended its local government laws abolishing joint local government accounts. This is obviously the triumph of democracy and it calls for Kogi governor, state Assembly members to go on retreat in Benue.

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