Chris Steven, Abuja
An intellectual think tank in the UK, The Bridge Centre has indicted Nigerian leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the herdsmen farmers’ crisis in some parts of Nigeria.
The Bridge Centre claimed that chieftains of the PDP in their desperation to get at the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the centre, have been actively supporting killers, who go about massacring populations in communities that did not vote them in the 2015 general elections.
The report cited the case of wanted terrorist, Akwazar Terwase (alias Gana) of Benue State, who was propped up by the PDP governor that presided over the state between 2007 and 2015, Gabriel Suswam.
It alleged that Suswam’s successor, Samuel Ortom, even while posing as an APC member, being a closet PDP member at that time continued to provide cover or Gana while publicly castigating him for public show.
“Gana is responsible for scores of deaths, including many that were initially attributed to herdsmen. Ortom is now formally back in the PDP,” the reported asserted.
Elizebeth Robertson, Head of Research and Documentation of the organization in the report, called on the United Nations Security Council to urgently intervene before the world starts dealing with the problem of a lost generation in Nigeria.
The report reads in full.
The world has on several occasions been appalled by the wanton killings in Nigeria from incidents attributed to clashes between herdsmen and farmers. Attacks upon attacks in affected communities have been blamed on “killer” herdsmen, who in such instances prove elusive as not much would be heard about the daring killer squads that carry out such crimes against humanity.
The situation has triggered a cycle of blame game within Nigeria, with the consequence that the persons behind these killings, at least responsible in part, are successfully evading justice. Findings show that these persons are of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has its imprint on the Farmers/Herdsmen Crisis as the then ruling party and more recently as the country’s leading opposition party.
Transhumance is a phenomenon that is not peculiar to Nigeria. It has been worsened by climate change, urban sprawl, changing cultures and economic pressure.
In the 16 years that PDP ruled Nigeria, it decided to do nothing about the realities of making changes to avert the genuine aspects that can be addressed as Farmers/Herdsmen Crisis like the current government is doing by proposing cattle ranching as a workable solution to the issues caused by nomadic cattle herding.
It instead presided over the theft of the country’s resources on a scale that makes it difficult to make certain interventions that will allow livestock keepers and crop growers thrive as constituent parts of the agricultural sector.
In the desperation to get at the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the centre, PDP chieftains have been to known to actively support killers, who go about massacring populations in communities that did not vote them in the 2015 General Elections. These killings have been classified as part of the casualty from the Farmers/Herders’ crisis.
We will name a few instances to support this position:
In Benue state, Akwazar Terwase (alias Gana) was propped up by the PDP governor that presided over the state up to 2015 (Gabriel Suswam) even though he was a known mass murderer.
The governor who took over, Mr. Samuel Ortom, even while posing as an APC member, being a closet PDP member at that time continued to provide cover or Gana while publicly castigating him for public show. Gana is responsible for scores of deaths, including many that were initially attributed to herdsmen. Ortom is now formally back in the PDP.
Aminu Yaminu (Tashaku), a known Boko Haram terrorist, was employed by PDP’s Samuel Ortom and paid from the Benue State Government account under the pretext of being the commander of the Livestock Guards. Tashaku has been arraigned for the gruesome murder of 17 worshipers in a heinous crime that was initially attributed to “killer” herdsmen.
In the last week of June 2018, reprisal killings trailed the killing of scores of villagers in Plateau state. The reprisals have now been proven to be the expected outcomes plotted by a former governor of the state and PDP lawmaker in the National Assembly, Senator Jona Jang, who had vowed to make the state ungovernable for the APC led government of Simon Bako Lalong.
Jang is known to have also instigated the killings as a way of forcing law enforcement agencies to back down from pursuing corruption cases against him in court.
Political leaders of the PDP have in the period since the party was voted out of the Federal Government engaged in the formation of militias, which they armed with weapons prohibited under several international protocols.
These weapons have been deployed in commission crimes against humanity as they resulted in mass killings.
Taraba State (PDP) governor, Mr. Darius Ishaku, directly and through proxies armed and funded the Mambila Militia that was responsible for the violence that claimed scores of lives in Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba state in the second half of 2017. The killings were again initially linked to killer herdsmen before details emerged to confirm that the pastoral community was rather under attack.
Members of the Benue State Livestock Guards, upon being arrested by the military, confessed that they were armed by the state governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, a PDP member who was then pretending to belong to the APC.
On April 5, 2018 33 persons were killed by gunmen who turned out to have been armed by Senator Bukola Saraki, another PDP member that hides behind the logo of the APC. The gunmen confessed that their weapons and operational vehicles came from him. The brazen nature of the attack was initially ascribed to “killer” herdsmen.
Kabiru Seidu aka Osama and Nuhu Salisu aka Small, named Senator Dino Melaye (PDP) as their gun-runner. They had used the weapons supplied by Dino Melaye for robberies and kidnaps that were at some point attributed to herdsmen.
Information at our disposal reveal that the PDP chieftain have released funds and more weapons for killers that will further attack communities as part of their ploy to campaign that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed in his campaign promise of restoring security to Nigerians. This money is coming from the 100 billion Naira fund that was previously earmarked to sabotage the country and present it as a failure.
Taking cognisance of the continued desecration of the sanctity of human life, the United Nations Security Council is invited to:
Order a full investigation into the role that politicians, especially the PDP, are playing in the killings attributed to Farmers/Herders’ crisis.
Arising from the findings of the full investigation, takes the steps necessary to deter the kind of disregard for human life as is presently the trend.
Time is of essence for whatever intervention the Council has to make since it is important that Nigerians are reassured ahead of the General Elections.
Chris Steven, Abuja