Can INEC Still Be Trusted?

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The war against insecurity in Nigeria appears uneasy and evasive victory. This is as sustained and seemingly unmitigated level of killings across sections of the country by an ever emboldened group of religious ethnic militia against a group of non-Muslims and non Fulanis, engulfs the nation.

Information gleaned from investigations conducted by suggests the sustained killings may have become a structured discrepancy put in place to achieve a predetermined outcome. This is embodied in a recent unofficial order by the office of the presidency instructing for the victims of Fulani militia attacks in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara – be buried secretly – instantly quietly out of sight of public view.

In the communities of Plateau State where the Nigerian military are staged in large numbers following the recent attacks by Fulani militia, leaders of the communities had made tireless efforts to retrieve the corpses of relatives and community members but the Nigerian military posed stern resistance. Instead, the military have conducted quick burials in shallow graves.

One of the attacks which took place at a community called Rati around Du village, close to Dogo Nahawa in early September 2018 saw the militia on motorbikes shooting indiscriminately at the villagers killing 12 persons on the spot. The attack was followed by a second attack where an ambush was laid in Adu village in Kwall District, Bassa LGA around midnight. Many villagers were shot dead. The following month, an additional 13 persons were killed by Fulani militia in a night attack in Jol village of Riyom Local Government of Plateau State. The dead which included women and children were buried quickly, this is according to the Management Committee Chairman of Riyom Local Government, Hon. Emmanuel Danboyi Jugu who confirmed the secret mass burial.

Between the months of June and September 2018, no fewer than 300 persons were killed in Jos North, Jos South, Riyom and Barkin Ladi Local Government areas of Plateau State. This is according to a statement by the General Secretary of Berom Educational and Cultural Organization, BECO, Da Davou Choji; President of Berom Women Development Association, BEWDA, Ngo Florence Jambol, and President of Berom Youth Moulders Association, BYM Choji Chuwang. The dead were buried through secret burials by military men.

The statement also frowned at the sudden transfer of the then Commander of Operation Safe Haven, Major General Anthony Atolagbe, under “very suspicious circumstances, having arrested 11 suspected killer herdsmen in connection with the massacre of June 24, where over 230 innocent lives were wasted”.

Interesting observation is noted. As the killings in Plateau State continued, the President of the federation, Major General Muhammadu Buhari reportedly directed the State government to desist from conducting public mass burials. According to the presidency, this is to avoid undue publicity to the killings by Fulani militia.

Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Bako Lalong complied to the directive exhaustively.

Unlike his counterpart in Benue State who repeatedly held public mass burials for the victims of Fulani militia attacks, Lalong actions were opposite. The Plateau Governor came down hard against publizing the killings. He even went as far as to claim the killings were not perpetrated by Fulani militia. He made the claim on June 26, 2018 during President’s Buhari’s visit to Plateau State, that the killers were saboteurs within the Buhari administration who are determined to undermine the successes scored by the Buhari administration.

In his words, “Agents of destabilization are however hell-bent on making nonsense of the success you have achieved in dealing with internal security threats to our corporate existence as a nation. Our state is a beneficiary of the several measures put in place; on your instruction, the Nigeria Police has established a new Mobile Police Squadron in the Southern Zone of the state, and the Nigeria Air Force has also established a Rescue Search and Combat Command at Kerang in the Central Senatorial District of Plateau State, all in bid to activate crises response time of the Security. What is also totally condemnable in these attacks on communities, Mr. President, is the burning of places of worship to give it a religious coloration.”

In return for his attitude towards the killings, the Plateau State Governor was rewarded by the All Progressive Congress [APC] and the President. The President and the ruling party rewarded the Governor handsomely by ensuring he is given an automatic and uncontested return ticket for the gubernatorial election in 2019 under the APC. The Governor almost immediately became a frequent visitor to the Presidential villa and a frequent companion of the President in his many foreign trips.

This is while overlooking the fact the Governor is grossly underperforming.

The Lalong administration owes LGA workers over 4 months in salaries while owing State workers 3months. The backlog of salaries comes against N20billion received from the federal government via Paris club – of which the Governor spent N4.4billion on the purchase of personal exotic vehicles – and additional N1.2billion on placing trackers on the vehicles.

Lalong is licking Buhari’s feet”, laments a popular activist Reverend from Jos, Rev Hassan – as he adds that “Fulani’s have taken over the place all armed with AK47 and they are burning homes and properties. The Fulanis are now keeping watch of abandoned communities”. He claims Governor Lalong is aware but decides to remain mute.

He explains that the “federal government is not interested” in the killings. Many of the killings are “not reported”. The “corpse are buried in mass shallow graves 3feet deep”, by military men who are typically first on the scene after each Fulani attack. “The youths on their own have been organizing themselves to exhume the bodies to bury them properly.”

Rev Hassan faults the church and its inability to provide assistance to ameliorate the situation. “The church is not rising to the plate”. He continues, “Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN] is part of the problem. Majority of the church have given up on CAN”.

Boss Mustapha [SGF]

The Secretary to the government of the federation [SGF], Boss Mustapha, Christian from a minority tribe in the north east is reported to have reached deep in the leadership structure of CAN, and have managed to influence the activities of the CAN significantly. The immediate former leader of the Youth wing of CAN, Engr Daniel Kadzai had charged the leadership of northern CAN to have been pocketed by the Buhari administration through the Boss Mustapha to the extent the CAN have lost its voice against the killings in the many northern state. He pointed directly at Pastor Yakubu Pam – the leader of northern CAN.