Pro-democracy group, Free Nigeria Movement, has described the killings in Benue State as a national disgrace. It said the government has failed in its innate task of providing security and welfare forcitizens. Itdecried the seeming insensitivityof Nigerians to the killings andblamed the rising laxity to challenge fraud and illegality for the phenomenon.
Convener of the group, Dr. Moses Paul, who had earlier called for national day mourning in honour of the victims at a press conference in Abuja, spoke to newsmen at the end of the group’s strategic meeting today. According to him, “What is happening in Benue is shameful. Unfortunately, it appears Nigerians have gotten used to the killings hence the cold silence. Why is there no national outcry? Even the media has since moved on from the story, same way they have abandoned Borno, returningonly when there are ‘new’ deaths to report the numbers. But these killings happen every day. Women, men, children, property, all destroyed, and a country is calm? These are people with names, relationships, hopes, dreams. I cannot imagine how we just move onand allowthe killings to continueunabatedly like Benue is Nigeria’s abattoir?”
He said politicians have broken the resolve of Nigerians to the point where “We havelost the ability to demand for accountability, a cardinal trait of democracy,”addingthat, “The fact that
heads of security agencies still keep their jobs is a sign that things are not well with the leadership of the country. In any place in the world where governments work, the heads of security agencies would have tendered their letters of resignation for the needless loss of onelife. Let alone here where the loss of livesis needless and gruesome.” He called on Nigerians to return to the values of peace, progress, unity and faith that formed a cloak of national cohesion for the nation. “There is no better time to think Nigerian than now. We must begin to look beyond religion and tribe. What is happening in Benue should affect someone in Enugu like it would affect another in Sokoto, Rivers, Abuja, or Delta. There should be no lines in how we respond to evil. The killings in Benue is evil and must be equally condemned by all Nigerians.”
Dr. Paul blamed the culture of indifference among Nigerians as cause for the silence on the Benue killings. “I think it’s an emerging behavioural attribute of Nigerians amassed through long years of inept discordant leadership. Somehow, Nigerians have gotten used to not feeling anymore. Like we have been torturedand traumatized for decades and our bodies have grown weak to feelings. It’s a huge human tragedy that is playing out here.” He went on to liken the reaction of Nigerians to the Benue killingsto response to the outcome of the presidential election. “For instance, it is clear that Nigerians were cheated in the presidential election. But nobody wants to come out to protest because they have been told that protests are illegal and so theywill be shot if they come out. The same way they can’t talk about Benue or come out to protest about the killings. Nigerians must begin to break the walls of fear or we may soon run out of truth.The greatest tragedy in
today’s Nigeria is the unproved animosity towards truth.”