Dear President Buhari,
I hope you’re feeling better now. Me, my family and majority of the Benue people wish you a full recovery.
It breaks my heart to write this letter to you. My inward person is torn to tatters that it has come to this, but make no mistake it has come to it and I am left with no option but to express myself completely.
I am disappointed, nay disgusted by the apathy at which you have approached the crisis in the middle belt. The refusal to acknowledge it and the false sense of principle that seems to be driving it. I refuse to accept any reason even if it is refusal to generalize that the culprits are allegedly Fulani that keeps you from condemning these attacks. This is because by no stretch of anyone’s imagination can political correctness be worth more than the lives of your own citizens. This letter, I promise will spare no attempt to call a spade a spade and I will not embellish one iota of thought in it. Every life that is lost is already one life too many, hence I simply cannot afford to mince words.
I would like to point out to you that you campaigned on the auspices of providing security, if that security isn’t guaranteed for the defenseless farmers of the middle belt then it implies that we are either second class citizens not worthy of the resources at your disposal perhaps?
You began your administration with a well worded speech and we all assumed finally a man who will move beyond rhetoric, how wrong we were. Oh, how wrong. Your government has not only allowed such blatant crime to go unpunished, you have all but refused to even acknowledge the plight of the victims.
To think you were the same man who wore the Tiv and Idoma traditional colours and campaigned in our streets amidst chants of “Change! Change!” is simply unfathomable at this point. I will say this, you do not deserve to be clothed in our colours if you will turn your back on us when we needed your protection the most. Mr President, no crime is greater than yours in this string of events, for the culprits made no pledge to protect life and property; but you swore before God and man to do all within your power to protect the poor, innocent, defenseless people of Nigeria and one part burns under the hands of notorious criminals that have been rated as being the fourth deadliest terror group in the world and you do nothing. If this is the best you spoke of, kindly do everyone a favour and resign so more competent hands can come in and keep my people safe.
This is not a request sir, this is a demand as a Nigerian and your employer. I see no reason why we should continue to spend money for your treatment, security, dedicate tons of hours, manpower, exotic security cars and intelligence to keep you safe if citizens who have every right as much as you to be alive are being slaughtered in their own homes. I see NO REASON WHATSOEVER.
I write this with tears in my eyes, over the irreparable damage this crisis has caused. The economic loss if quantified will no doubt be in billions of dollars. I know of farmers who can no longer get the same value for their product. I know of people whose land has lost value simply because it is located in the epicenter of the raging war. I know people who planned to invest in hospitality and tourism business but can’t attract any tourists because the entire state has been depicted as being vulnerable to these attacks. Need I mention the loss of life? Need I?
This is the same state where people prayed for you to be made President. We have prayed for you, some have fasted for you. I know people who till date still spend hours online defending your policies and you repay them with silence when their kith and kin are being murdered left, right, center? With all due respect Your Excellency that is nothing short of pure wickedness. There is no political correctness where the lives of innocent people are involved. NONE!
No man, no matter how vile deserves to be slaughtered as their infants watch. These children do not deserve to be made orphans for a war they know nothing about. No cause, no tribal sentiment, no creed is worth the blood that has been spilled in Agatu, Buruku, Zaki Biam and elsewhere.
Again, I repeat we demand action or your resignation. Enough is enough. You sought the best medical treatment and went to the UK to rest. All we are asking for is your best in return. One last thing for every soul lost to this needless killing that you Mr President has willfully refused to comment or act on for whatever reason, know this, that blood rests solely on your hands and although no man can hold you accountable the God you and I serve surely will.
Finally, for other readers of this correspondence, those who seem to find no displeasure in the ongoing events in Benue; who have no sympathy to offer nor solutions but mock my people by their implicit actions and inaction. We are seeing your responses to the plight of the poor and the defenseless. Our prayer is that may you not be deserted in your own time of need as you have done to your own people.
If this letter achieves its aim, then the middle belt will be safe in the next coming days and communities can return to pursue their daily activities without fear. If however nothing changes, then we the people will have no choice but to ensure our own safety. We will petition, we will go to court, we will do everything within the means of the laws of man and God to make sure no single innocent soul ever has to die needlessly again. Mr President I promise you this on the graves of Tiv warriors that served Nigeria and the world during the World War II, on the graves of the Tor Tivs past, and on the graves of every innocent soul that has been lost to herdsmen clashes. I promise you, if you do not save us we will save ourselves.
God bless Benue State,
God bless the Middle Belt
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Ukan Kurugh (Advocate for the Interest of the Masses), Makurdi-Benue state