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LAWYERS ALERT RELEASES REPORT ON MILITARY INVASION OF NAKA, BENUE STATE, NIGERIA.

Following the invasion and razing down of the Naka, a town in Benue state by the Nigeria military on the 19th day of April, 2018, Lawyers Alert has released a report detailing the violations that ensued thereof. In the 2 hours of this operation, more than 250 houses and other property worth millions of naira including foodstuffs and other household items had been destroyed. This is sadly within the context of herdsmen killings within the same community.

The invasion is said to be in reprisal for the alleged killing of a soldier by some residents of the town.

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Lawyers Alert within the report recommended the immediate release of the arrested suspects from military detention facilities and handing over of same to the Nigeria Police Force for necessary investigation and possible trial in a civil court; setting up of a judicial commission of Inquiry with the aim of identifying all those culpable in these acts and bringing them to trial; the compensation and rehabilitation of the victims of this invasion amongst several other recommendations.

The report is available at:

http://lawyersalertng.org/activities/Nigeria%20Military%20Invasion%20of%20Naka%20%20Town%20in%20Benue%20State.pdf

 

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Benue As a Metaphor for Official Mischief

by Lazarus Mom 

A chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the day it is hatched. So goes a popular saying.  Put in another way, an efficient and effective management of a situation by a good and responsible Public Officer can be perceived by his first action.  No high ranking Security Officer has manifested this maxim more than Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police.

Since the attack on Logo and Guma Local Government Areas of Benue State by the Killer herdsmen on New Year day, Benue has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. On that fateful morning, the terrorist herdsmen mauled down 73 souls mostly Women and Children. From then on, no day passes by without reports of pockets of attacks every here and there by the terrorists in Benue. As at the time of writing this report, 24 souls killed by the almighty and Untouchable Herdsmen are awaiting mass burial by the Benue State Government. The mass burial of the victims was postponed due to the President visit to the State.

The situation in Benue has exposed the ineptitude, rascality and crass carelessness of the Security Agencies especially the Police Force personified by its Inspector General, Mr. Ibrahim Idris. His poor handling of the Benue crises and his seeming complicity was noticed from the very beginning of this cycle of violence. For example, less than 24 hours after the carnage, Mr. Idris waved away the public concerns and labeled an orchestrated genocide as “A communal Clash”. This reaction was greeted by a huge public outcry all over Nigeria. He was forced to retrace his comments and reluctantly apologize to the Government and People of Benue State. As the highest ranking Police Officer in Nigeria, and supposedly grounded in Security situation management, that statement was a huge miscalculation that borders very close to mischief. That statement gave an impression of a hurried statement based on terse situational report of which no good and responsible Senior Public Officer will make. He was forced to eat the humble pie and apologize albeit needless.

From that moment on, a seeming face off ensued between the Benue State Government and the Inspector General.  On the 9th of January 2018,  a statement was credited to the  Police High Command accusing the Benue State of owning and arming a militia group.  The Benue State Government vehemently denied this accusation. The Police based its “findings” from the confessions of some hoodlums arrested in Arufu with arms and ammunition claiming to be working for the Benue State Government. In a matter of such weighty and grievous concern, one would have thought that the Nigerian Police should have been careful and cautious in making such sweeping statements especially in these perilous periods. Unfortunately, it did not. This statement further eroded the slim confidence the Government and People of Benue State had in the Police. The bad blood continued.

In February, 2018, appearing before the Senate to give the situational report on the Benue killings especially on the likely remote and proximate causes with a view towards peace, the Inspector General told the upper chamber that the passage of the Anti Grazing law in Benue was the cause of the crises. He recommended that the implementation of the law be suspended until peace returns to the State. This position irked the Government and People of Benue State and rightly too.

The wanton  attacks and killings in Benue  State by the marauding herdsmen has been going  on for years now with little or no constructive effort made to stop the constant cycle of violence. In 2014 for example, herdsmen overran Gwer West, Guma, Makurdi, Tarka, and Agatu local governments killing hundreds and destroying invaluable property and farmlands with careless abandon. The Anti grazing law was not yet in place then.  The IG’ claim that the passage of the law is the cause of the present crises, is not very convincing and correct. Plateau, Adamawa, Nassarawa and some States in North Central Nigeria are under attack by the herdsmen and they certainly don’t have the Anti Open Grazing Law in place.

The face off and war of words between the Police and the Government of Benue State culminated in a live TV program on Channels TV on the 6th of February 2018. On that show, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Benue State Mr. Terve Akase had a hot altercation with the Force Public Relations officer Mr. Jimoh Moshood  over the call for the resignation of the Inspector General of the Police due to his poor management of the crises. The argument got to a point that the host had to threaten to send them off the program if they fail to live up to the ethics and decorum of the show.

What angered the Press Secretary was that Mr. Jimoh maintained the narrative that enough security measures had been put in place by the Police that the Governor Dr. Samuel Ortom was a drowning Governor who could not control his State. This episode like the many others sparked an outcry. How could a very senior Police Officer call a sitting Governor a drowning Man on National TV?  The bizarre and irrational action by Mr. Jimoh on National TV received nether rebuttal or reprimand from his boss the Inspector General. What that meant is that Mr. Jimoh was speaking the mind of his boss.  This position falls far short of responsible Policing and effective crises management. It sends wrong signals to the minds of the people especially the warring parties.

Common sense dictates that, the Security agencies especially the Police should not be seen as taking sides in a conflict situation. This was the impression left on the minds of the Benue by the actions and inactions of the Police especially the Inspector General.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the visit of the President to the State on Monday, the 12th day of March, 2018. During the interactive session with the Benue people especially elders, community leaders, faith based and other interest groups, the President was shocked to learn that the Inspector General of Police stayed less than 24 hours in Benue during the heat of the crises. The perplexed President revealed that he specifically instructed Mr. Ibrahim Idris to remain in Benue until peace and calm returned.

Need one say more?

This blatant disregard to a Presidential Order could only mean rascality or mischief at the expense of the lives and properties of the Citizens. The cumulative action of the IG in the Benue crises clearly shows how Senior Public Officers in Nigeria abdicate their roles and responsibilities regardless of the consequences. The media reported that the Inspector General left Benue in a hurry for his birthday party in Abuja and never returned. Whether he left for a birthday party or not, the truth is he left his duty post as instructed by the PresidentOrtom

The case of the Inspector General of Police is only a tip of the iceberg. If the President had not revealed to Nigerians the true case scenario, no one would have known the Inspector General of Police abdicated his duties in Benue. What this scenario has depicted is that, there are many Senior Public
Officers in Nigeria who flounder Presidential directives with the damming consequences as the Benue situation. Such officers can be found in Health care delivery sector, Education, Agriculture etc. it is perhaps the reason Nigeria has remained stagnant.

What this revelation has further depicted is the level of ignorance the President lives in. it is bewildering to know that the President issues a directive in January and only gets to know about its non-compliance in March. One begins to wonder how many Presidential directives have been disregarded without the President’s knowledge. This is worrisome.

For peace to return to Benue and Nigeria to move forward, senior public officers including the Inspector General of Police must be above board in the discharge of their tasks and responsibilities.

In another light, we salute the courage and resilience of the Benue People especially the Executive Governor for standing firm in their resolve even in the face of grand scale opposition including hostilities. In his welcome address to the President, the Governor highlighted the position of Benue People. He told the President “that between 2013-2017, Forty-Seven attacks were recorded, over 1,878 men, women and children have been slaughtered in cold blood across 14 Local Government Areas of the State, 750 were seriously wounded while 200 were missing. Over 99,427 households have been affected. Furthermore, the State has lost an average of 47% of Internally Generated Revenues due to attacks by armed herdsmen in the State. He said this was the logic behind the Open grazing Prohibition Law 2017 which represents the wishes of the People of Benue State.

The Governor went ahead to challenge the President by asking for the arrest of the leadership of  Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who on 30th May, 2017,  in a ‘World Press Conference’ held in Abuja, opposed the Ranching Law. They called on Fulani herders in all of West Africa to come into Benue to help them reclaim their land. In the same vein, Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association in their Press Conference declared that more blood will flow in Benue if the Ranching Law is not rescinded. True to their threats, the attacks have been carried out and are still on going.

This is the situation in Benue. If all hands were on deck, a lot would have been avoided. If the Inspector General had not flagrantly disobeyed the directives of the President, the violence would not have probably degenerated to such a magnitude. The killings in Gboko, Okpokwu, the uprising in Makurdi etc all would have been avoided if the Inspector General of Police had stayed back in Benue as directed. His presence would have sent a very strong message to both sides of the warring parties that this is no joke. It would also have kept every single Police Personnel on his or her feet to be alert to their duties. Regrettably Mr. Idris failed to do such and his subordinates followed suit, giving way to rancour and mayhem to reign supreme in Benue State.

Given the above therefore, Lawyers Alert recommends the following:

  • That the current Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris be removed with immediate effect for flagrantly disobeying a Presidential order which is unbecoming of a Senior Public Officer of his calibre.
  • That an apology be issued from Mr. Ibrahim Idris to the Government and People of Benue State over his failures and its attendant consequences,
  • The relocation of a new Inspector General of Police to the State to see to it that Peace returns to Benue,
  • That the Presidency should strengthen its monitoring systems to check the actions or inactions of Senior Public Officers towards their functions especially directives from the President.

As stated earlier above, the actions of Mr. Idris is an indictment on Public officers in Nigeria.  Many of them have abdicated or are still abdicating their duties to the detriment of the growth and development of Nigeria. Until and unless Senior Public Officers begin to see that the Citizens are the raizon de tre they are appointed, Nigeria will keep moving in cycles.

Lazarus Mom is a Director with Lawyers Alert

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2018 in Governanace

 

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Women and the Benue Killings

By Jerome Mary Uneje

The sound of the whistle pierces through the quiet dark night in the neighbourhood of Ityo Gbenda, a suburb of Anyiin, the headquarters of Logo Local Government Area of Benue State. Everybody is alarmed and tense. A few brave men dare the consequences and rush in the direction of the sound, machetes and spears in hand. The loud sound of the whistle at this time of the night could mean a warning or worse still, an attack within seconds; the few brave men have raced to the home of Pa Agbidye or what remains of it.

To their surprise, it is Orlaade, his rascal drunk of a son, who has had an overdose of ogogoro and is playing pranks. They are livid. How could one be so irresponsible as to alarm the community this way when they were barely returning home since January when the marauding herdsmen attacked the community in the dead of night killing scores and burning homes including the Orlaade’s father’s? One by one they leave, hissing only after abusing the fellow who is neither concerned nor remorseful.

Such has been the fate of the People of Logo, Guma and some other parts of Benue since the January attacks by the killer herdsmen. Though some level of peace is gradually returning, fear and an uneasy calm hang thickly in the air. The January attacks have taken a toll on the State on a multi-sector level ranging from the Government to individual persons.

At the State level, the attacks and killings have caused a lot of economic hardship and sprain on finances. For example, over 5 Internally Displaced Persons Camps have been set up by Government to cater for over 45,000 persons displaced in both Guma and Logo local governments. Through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Government has channelled a lot of financial resources into purchasing relief materials and other necessities for Displaced Persons across the 5 camps. These monies were never budgeted for neither had plans been made in advance for their expenditure. What this implies is that, monies meant for other projects like Health Care, Agriculture and other core areas of social life may have been channelled into addressing this unexpected and unfortunate situation. This will no doubt affect the finances and economic position of the State.

Furthermore, the killings have led to a sharp decline in the aggregate food production in the state. Benue is known as the food basket of the Nation due to the high level of agricultural production the citizens engage in. With over 75% of its Citizens engaged full time in the Agro Industry, the State derives most of its Internally Generated Revenue from farms produce. Guma and Logo are particularly known for their high-level food production especially rice and yam. With both local governments currently displaced, their quota of food production and potential revenues could be lost never to be recovered. This has the potential of leading to famine, malnutrition, loss of income and other domino effects that could be inimical in the long term to general food security in the country.

At the community level, local Citizens no longer sleep with their eyes closed. Daily, the peoples of both Guma and Logo live in perpetual fear for their lives and property. Though operation “Cat Race” has been established by the Nigerian Army, fear still permeates the atmosphere. This state of perpetual fear creates an environment of insecurity, uneasy calm and tension leading to a potentially disastrous situation especially when fed by the ever-spinning rumour mill.

Though a degree of Peace has returned, the trauma of the death of loved ones and destruction of properties still affects the people. Burned houses, granaries, orchards and farmlands are physical reminders of the assault the people suffered on New Year morning of 2018. These sad reminders only make a bad situation worse. Other properties destroyed included shops and business centres. Certainly, feelings of bitterness would be assuaged if perpetrators were at least caught and punished for the irreparable losses especially human lives.

It is a global fact that in any violent conflict, women are usually the worst hit. This attack is no exception. Going by the report of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, of the over 45,000 people in the 5 camps, approximately 65% or 29, 250 are women.

A major challenge being faced by these women is the loss of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services especially for Pregnant Women. Most of them have lost follow up on Antenatal/ PMTCT services. This loss of follow-up on basic Sexual and Reproductive Health Services posses a significant danger for both mothers and unborn children. Other such services these women have lost access to include Family Planning and HIV and AIDS. The displacement has led them to an inability to continue follow up on their medication and cocktails. As a result, some of them are already taking ill and in danger of imminent death.

The dearth of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in these camps also affects young girls and women who are sexually active.  The camps provide little or no form of Sexual and Reproductive Health services to this group yet they face a situation where most of them are exposed to sexual demands from males longing to take advantage of their predicament. Already vulnerable, many succumb to these demands even without protection at the risk of unintended pregnancies and or infections. Were adequate Sexual and Reproductive Health Services provided in these camps, or these women and girls not displaced from their homes, the above situation might not arise.

Another effect of the displacement on the Benue woman is the loss of livelihood. Over 75% of women in Benue are farmers or petty traders living in rural areas. With this displacement, the women in both Guma and Logo have fled their homes leaving their means of livelihood.

With the increased pressure on their declining finances, some of these women are resorting to unbecoming methods and means of survival even sex for money in spite of the inherent dangers. Worse still is the fact that they will have little or nothing to fall back on when they return home from these camps.

Yet another effect of this displacement on the Benue Woman is the sharp increase in violations on women’s rights especially Gender Based Violence including battery, rape, assault, intimidation etc. Most of the displaced women within and/or outside these camps have faced one form of violence or the other. Though no specific statistics exist to confirm the number of displaced women violated, our survey has shown that many of the displaced women have experienced one form of violation or the other since the attacks occurred. Gender Based Violence is therefore another effect of the displacement on the Benue woman.

Full scale hostilities have subsided. Peace has since returned to the displaced communities. Pockets of violent attacks are reported here and there but the effects are still there. In order to ameliorate the effects of this conflict on the State and its Citizens, the following is recommended:

  • The Federal Government and the International Development Agencies should increase their aid to the State in providing assistance to the displaced people and in rebuilding homes and properties destroyed by the marauding herdsmen.
  • Deliberate efforts should be made by both the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in tandem with the State Institutions to assist farmers with improved seeds, seedlings and other farming inputs with a view towards boosting aggregate farm produce in Benue State to stave off famine and food shortage.
  • The operation Cat Race and other Security Operatives should intensify their patrols and surveillance in the war torn grassroot communities to establish their presence. This will reduce the level of anxiety and sleeplessness in the communities.
  • On the mass destruction of properties in the affected communities, we strongly recommend the compensation of the affected people of their losses in monetary terms,
  • We also recommend that Sexual and Reproductive Health services be provided in camps and in the conflict zones including the provision of Ante-natal/PMTCT to pregnant Mothers.
  • Lastly, we recommend the monitoring and documentation of the violations of Rights of the displaced women with a view towards investigating the violations and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

As they leave, the leader of the security contingent takes a last, piteous look at Orlaade. He ponders how such a childish act could have rattled an entire community, a situation which would never have arisen prior. He sighs. Such has been the effect of the killings in Anyiin and indeed the entire Benue State.

Jerome Mary Uneje is with Lawyers Alert

 

 

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Of Ortom, Taxation, Benue and Expectations Management.

…….Rommy Mom Esq

Onyeche looks through her window to see the evening sun go down as it makes way for the fast approaching dusk. Her eyes can see the grandeur of the evening glow but her mind is filled with frustrating thoughts instead. It’s been three months since she last went to school as a final year economics student of the Benue State University. Her eyes move away from the window to the calendar. Three months from today, and she would have been a graduate; and now she doubts if she will graduate this year at all.

Onyeche’s fears, doubts and expectations reflect the state of the feelings of the over 5 million people across the entire state. Workers’ salaries are backlogged upwards of six months and valued at approximately 12 billion naira in arrears. The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has stated that the verified debt profile for Benue state so is over N90bn as against the purported N9bn indicated by the immediate past administration of Gabriel Suswam.

That States, including Benue, have suffered dwindling fortunes from the Federal Allocations is obvious. This, we are told, is occasioned by falling crude prices, lack of fiscal discipline, corruption, and leakages in the system over time. In a few words, Nigeria is broke.

In Benue, the situation is pathetic. For a State that relies 97% on federal allocation, the picture begins to take shape, and it is not a good picture by any measure. The backlog of salaries (approximately six months), pension claims, unpaid contractors, loans that are due, and an almost non-existent Internally Generated Revenue envelope all paint a grim picture.

Juxtaposing the above scenario with the joy and huge expectations that greeted the victory of Governor Ortom at the just concluded polls poses a contrasting scenario. On one hand are the huge expectations of the deprived and suffering Benue masses and on the other is an empty treasury and near zero Internally Generated Revenue base. The only ray of hope in all of this, is that the Governor is not deterred and has repeatedly stated his conviction that he will turn things around.

Yet, methinks, we the Benue people, must manage our expectations, and not only that, we must assist the less informed to be in the know of the actual state of government accounts. This is fundamental if good governance is to find a home in Benue. Where do we as citizens come in and how does the Ortom administration deliver amidst great expectations and the myth of the never ending deep pocket of government? This is where the need for proper management of the people’s expectations comes in. This paradox and dilemma requires patience, partnerships and openness from the people towards the new administration and vice versa. The situation calls for tradeoffs, midway meetings and other possible local understandings and options.

The citizen has rights that Government as an institution must respect, protect and fulfil. This means government must provide for our rights, especially civil and political rights; create an enabling environment for the enjoyment of same and also protect these rights from being abused in any way. Provision of education, healthcare, housing, food, are just some of these rights, and in some climes these are justiciable. This therefore means that government must have resources to deliver. In plain terms, government must have money!

At the risk of repetition, Benue is presently without resources or money, making these obligations of government difficult to meet. This is especially so because we rely 97% on federal allocation, and this structure which we solely rely on, has never been as shaky as it is today. Yet Benue state government must hold and deliver, and alternatives ways must be sought, develop and sustained, and they must be locally sourced, right here in Benue.

The above can only be achieved by the emergence of an alternative source of income that is independent of federal allocation and loans. The only feasible and sustainable alternative source of income for the state remains the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which currently stands at almost zero in relation to our needs. For the State to move ahead in terms of development and in the direction of the fulfilment of the dreams and aspirations of every Benue man, woman, boy and girl, there is a need to bolster the Internally Generated Revenue base of the state to meet the huge expectations of the people.

Mercifully, Ortom, even during his campaigns, made it clear that his administration would prioritize increasing the Internally Generated Revenues of the state in order to shift from the over dependence on federal allocations and loans which over the years have failed to yield any remarkable development in the state.

Of course, residents and people of Benue will point out to anyone who cares to listen about the huge potentials of the state, from tourism to wealth in the ground etc. The question, however, is, how do we get the resources to tap these huge potentials? Loans, loans and more loans? Yes, people talk of going into partnerships, bringing in multi-national companies to finance some wonderful projects, etc….but again, these organizations are no father Christmases. There is always a catch.

The most important issue which we have failed to highlight so far in all of these is: what is the role of the citizen in resolving this challenge? How can you, the citizen, contribute to the re-birth of a new Benue?

Dear Benue indigene and resident, we have a constitutional obligation to join hands in the rebuilding of our potentially great state, Benue. The solution lies in the paying of that, oh so disliked stipend better known as “taxes.” We need to make the sacrifice so that government can function and deliver on its obligations to us. It is not an option, but an obligation. We cannot in all good conscience say we love Benue or even demand that government discharges its obligation to us for the provision of basic infrastructure if we do not pay taxes. That is how it works and this is one of the major ways we can assist today’s government, that we are all excited about, to deliver.

Do you own a school, a shop, or a house? Do you render consultancy services, and do you buy luxury goods? If yes, we have an obligation to pay taxes. In Benue today, taxes that are collected are less than 30% of what could be paid and collected by the state to develop its people, pay salaries, provide social amenities etc. As citizens, we must admit we have failed ourselves, our government and our children yet unborn in the discharge of this obligation and we need to start today. The huge potential revenue that lies untapped and neglected can and will add considerably to the capital outlay of the state.

We must look inwards for increased revenues, which can only be achieved through taxation, legally permissible levies, rates and other charges by the government on the Benue citizens. This, in other words means that, the Benue man and woman will provided needed support for the expected development projects through prompt and regular payment of taxes and other legal and permissible levies as and when due.

No doubt in a corrupt environment, where government steals and does not deliver on good governance, citizens are reluctant to pay taxes, and many may argue their cause on various grounds, some valid and some not so valid. These arguments will range from prevailing hardships to lack of accountability and everything in between. True. Yet this is no reason to avoid paying taxes.  Ortom deserves the benefit of doubt that he will not steal our money. He has said so on several occasions. He is the first Benue Governor, that I personally have heard repeatedly mention transparency and accountability. The least we can is give him the benefit of doubt, pay our taxes then hold the government to account.

It is only logical that a tax paying citizen will be more justified and concerned about holding the leaders to account and demanding probity through transparency and active participation in governance. Citizens who pay their taxes and rates have a stronger justification to demand for accountability from government than those who do not. This function can be achieved through civic groups, workers unions and community based associations who will periodically engage government at all levels to account for taxes paid.

The Ortom government on its part, we are sure, must have plans regarding how to achieve the campaign promises made. The government must be tactful and strategic in its approach to commencing its wholesale approach in increasing the Internally Generated Revenues of the state, especially the tax envelope. The initiative has to be people-oriented and driven to enable a more persuasive and acceptable outcome.

In this regard, the government will have to liaise closely with Civil Society Groups, Community Based Organizations, Faith Based Organizations etc. This is imperative because these civic groups are close to the people and have a high success rate with regard to grassroots mobilization and sensitization. Their mobilization and sensitization skills will enhance the peoples’ support to the proposed taxation policy and enhance its success for the growth and development of Benue.

Once this is achieved, the worries of Onyeche and millions of other Benue indigenes when they peep through their windows, will melt away as they see the sun rise in its glory and majesty at growth of a new and vibrant Benue.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Governance, Human Rights

 

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SIMMERING ELECTORAL VIOLENCE IN BENUE STATE

By Elvis-wura Towolawi

From all indication, it appears the political wind in Benue state is beginning to turn into a whirlwind – with violent repercussion. Last weekend, supporters of both the All Progressive Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Samuel Ortom, and Terhemen Tarzoor, of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) clashed in Makurdi; resulting in damage to properties worth millions. Both parties have lived in self-denial and continually traded words over the incident. However, our intent in this blog-piece is to look at the big picture; the possible root of the violent outburst and the way to nib it in the bud before the Election Day.

Political tussle is hardly a fair play especially in our clime where politicians see it as a “win-all or loss-all” game. There are no middle grounds. Thus, once the whistle goes, the political players bring out both the ‘beast and saint’ in them to woo ad hood-wink the people into giving them the much coveted mandate. And the socio-economic environment of a particular terrain conditions the moves and outcomes of the game. Benue state, one of the oldest states in Nigeria is a land of paralyzing paradox. Blessed with a fertile land and other natural resources; with a burgeoning human capital; yet majority of the people live in undesirable and impoverished circle created by untoward political gimmicks and greed. The idea is this – ‘make’ the people dependent on government; fail them and during electoral processes drop some honey on their tongue and they’ll go berserk and do your bidding. We’re sure majority of the young foot-soldiers that clashed are hardly gainfully engaged in any craft or service beneficial to self or society. Hence, violence becomes a trade; a tool to further political ends.

Furthermore, we’ll like to put the blame squarely on the politicians for being inflammatory in their speeches. Their body language and acts surely give impetus to the ballooning populace of supporters to move heaven and earth to win the elections. And the political players have not shown any enthusiasm to douse the impending fireballs. For example, Lawyers’ Alert planned a candidates’ parley with civil society body in Makurdi – to create a peaceful synergy towards the electioneering process. Yet, many of the candidates did not show up for what-not reason. They tactfully avoid dialogue and debates. Most prefer to war than to talk.

In sum, as the election approaches, it is pertinent that politicians go about their campaign in a manner that engenders and fosters debates and dialogue; not violence. In fact, we at Lawyers’ Alert would like to propose a Benue Peace Pledge in Makurdi by all contesting parties’ candidates – to ensure that the boiling provocation does not spill over into a free-for-all violent outing on the Election Day!

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Elections

 

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