Security is everybody’s business. No individual, group, institution or organisation is nugatory in matters of security. All efforts are needed and all hands must be forged into one fist in the pursuit of peace. In fact, it imperils security if any stakeholder to the peace is “quarantined” and stereotyped.
On Wednesday, I read a report on a security briefing by Audu Adamu Madaki, commissioner of police in Adamawa state. In that compte rendu , he revealed, essentially, the importance of working with critical stakeholders in retarding criminality.
Madaki said three kidnappers, who surrendered their arms and divulged crucial information on the artifices and operations of their criminal genre, were led to his office by an official of Miyetti Allah ( a show of resolve in helping to curb the menace).
Hear him: "Yesterday, we harvested three repentant kidnappers who voluntarily walked into my office, confessed to have been kidnappers; but have now repented and surrendered two AK-47s to the command.
"The herdsmen explained to me that they normally concealed the firearms in sacks of personal effects and strap them on the back of a cow and then immigrate to a chosen destination.
“They told me that they purchased them from the Republic of Cameroon and moved them into Nigeria through the bush path to beat immigration and other security agents along the border."
I believe, there will be more gains in the effort to wrestle down banditry and kidnapping if the people, who can prevail on or sway these outlaws, are involved in the “sumo.” It is the reason I am strained by the sectional condemnation of the request by Miyetti Allah to help in fending off the brigands from the southeast.
At the Southeast Security Summit in Enugu on Thursday, Alhaji Bala Usman Ngelzerma, national secretary of Miyetti Allah, said the association was willing to help in strengthening the security architecture of the region through its vigilantes.
He said: “The Fulani Youth Vigilant body will be working with the security, the neighborhood watch or vigilante to ensure security in all communities, as it was done in Enugu state.
“We will solicit for your support and cooperation in adopting dialogue where problems exist as a means of brokering peace and to report cases against our members to either the Fulani Youth Vigilante Group, state or local branch of the association.”
Ordinarily, I see no distress in this imploration. To me, the hue and cry over Miyetti Allah’s entreaty are emotionally charged and sentimentally invoked. It should be considered as a gesture of good faith because it is commonsensical to fight criminality of this ilk with those girded with information and knowledge about the culprits.
On the one hand, there is an outrage over killings by strayed herdsmen in some parts of the southeast, and on the other hand, there is uproar over the entreaty by the monolithic association for herdsmen to help in checking this scourge. So, where do we go from here?
Although, I understand the concerns of those remonstrating, but is it not sagacious to involve some members of Miyetti Allah in the vigilante groups securing the southeast? I think, the pickle is assuming that an entire group is a culprit in the crimes of a few. This is the corollary of stereotyping and the concomitants of conspiracy theories of “Fulanisation and Islamisation”.
With the frightening level of insecurity across the country, no region should rebuff a gesture of help from any party of interest. The argument that the north is worse hit by insecurity, so, Miyetti Allah should centre its effort there is vacuous and irrational. These people have been profiled because of the crimes of a few, and now they are taking the pedal in the purge of their own; yet stereotyped and rebuffed?
We must give no room for conspiracy theories - of domination, invasion or conquest. These are the byproduct of distrust and fear. And instead of running wild with emotions, let us give space to rational thinking and disciplined conversations.