The ‘blood basin’ of Nigeria, by Moses Uyang
The sky here is dull this evening. No gentle breeze; the breeze which used to make the trees guy. And birds are not singing in the trees. No human or animal is on sight. Only the foul air of rotten blood of humans and animals pervades every space.
Here is Benue. Is here still the Benue? The once beautiful food basket of the nation, as it is fondly called, has become the ‘blood basin’ of the nation. Sad! How did it get to this? Benue state, one of the thirty-six states in Nigeria is known for her excellence in agriculture and industrious manpower. For a while now there have been indiscriminate killings of innocent citizens in this state. Should a once very peaceful nation like Nigeria continue this way?
Benue has gone to the world’s stage on a left footing. Not for the food it has produced but for the blood it has shed. Speaking to the public at St. Peter’s Square in Rome on Sunday, the 29th of April, 2018, Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church reacted to the killing of two Catholic priests and seventeen others by Fulani herdsmen on 24th April, 2018 in Ayar Mbalom village in Gwer East Local Government Area of the state.
The Pontiff prayed that Nigeria’s Christian community could find harmony and peace.
After such horrendous killings by these herdsmen, there may be no place for arguments if Christians start pointing accusing fingers at Muslims. But can such accusation be really true?
On Monday 30th April, 2018 at a bilateral talk with President Donald Trump of the United States, President Muhammadu Buhari absolved the herdsmen of all blames of the killings in the North-Central State:
“The problem of herders in Nigeria is a very long historical thing. The Nigerian herders don’t carry anything more than a stick and occasionally a machete to cut down foliage and give it to their animals, these ones are not carrying AK-47.”
“So, people should not underrate what happened in Libya. 43 years of Gaddafi, people were recruited from Sahel and trained to shoot and kill. With the demise of Gaddafi they moved to other countries and region and carried the experience with them.” Pulse.ng
On his part, Trump showed his awareness of the dreadful killings in Nigeria when he said:
“We are deeply concerned by religious violence in Nigeria, including the burning of churches and the killing and persecution of Christians” yahoonews.com
There is a sense of urgency. Nigerians must identify the urgency of the moment. The international community is looking at Nigeria in this very unpleasant moment. The time is right for all Nigerians to ‘take the bull by the horns and tail’ for peace, unity, and progress to reign in the nation.
I am still here, standing, looking forlorn at Benue, at what used to be Benue. I am hoping that a day will come when Benue will return to this Benue.
Mr. Uyang sent this piece from Abuja through email@example.com