There are forces behind killings in the country – CISLAC

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) is the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
In this interview with ADEOLA TUKURU, he bares his mind on the spate of killings in the country, among other issues.
What is CISLAC position on the recent crisis in Jos and other parts of the country? The main responsibility of government at all levels is the protection of lives and properties of its citizens.
If there are people who are out there deliberately to cause violence, the state must also arrest them, interrogate them, investigate and prosecute them otherwise the impunity will go on.
It is very clear that there are so many forces trying to make sure that the country is put into chaos using all sorts of platforms and avenues to destabilize and divide Nigeria particularly along ethnic or and religious lines.
But it is going to be catastrophic for Nigerians if they allow any group or people either in government or outside government to drag this country into a religious war because Nigerians are too attached to their religion and faith.
So, we see this as a calculated act by people who do not wish Nigerians well and some of them and their children they have other country have passports of other countries and if there is trouble they will take the next available flight to leave us.
In all the killings that has been going on, you will not find any ‘big man’ or his child involved in this crisis, whether it is in Benue, Zamfara, Plateau even the recent one in Cross River and Ebonyi, whether it is the one in Anambra that has also been going on, in Kaduna, anywhere you find this trouble it is the same poor people who are suffering that are put in this crisis.
It is a clarion call for all of us as responsible citizens not to allow anybody to drag us into what they are trying to drag us into because before we didn’t know the word terrorism now it has become part of us; We need to learn from other countries because this was how it began gradually and before you know it the weight of the violence consumed everybody, destroyed everything.
In spite of all the killings we are yet to see any arrest.
Is CISLAC comfortable with the head of security apparatus in the country? From 1999 till date no arrest has been made or has anyone been prosecuted for the killing across the country.
That is what is encouraging people to continue these killings.
People who have been committing this crime whether religious, communal, herders, farmers are not arrested it means that the government is encouraging them to continue to carry out this impunity it means the government is irresponsible.
In many instances, we also found out that some of the people in government and security operatives are not sincere in dealing with this issue because they have the capacity to bring to book those who are responsible for this.
The number of Nigerians that has been innocently killed across the country whether it is communal, religious, farmers-herdsmen, is something that cannot be sustained and cannot be tolerated for any responsible government but unfortunately because of poor leadership, lack of accountability and because it is a means of making money because obviously when there is instability some people make money from it they are what we call violence entrepreneurs.
It is in the interest of some security sector for the violence to go on because they will be justify why they are getting more money at the expense of human lives.
It is also purely an economic agenda, beneficiaries from this violence and you can see them; for example in the security sector, you have Muslims and Christians, you have northerners and southerners, so it is a conspiracy against Nigerians.
If there is more insecurity there is more money in dealing with it and this is what is justifying what they call security vote.
The security vote is not accountable, it is not audited, it is not oversighted, it is just free money for people to do whatever they want to do which is wrong and that is why they will even trigger violence so that they will say that we have used our security votes to do this but is that how to deal with sustainable peace building in the country? We need to look at the larger picture at which some people are trying to get Nigerians to fight themselves but meanwhile you will never see any fight between those in power whether they are Muslims or Christians, northerners or southerners, they always sit down to share the cake but they leave the poor Nigerians suffering.
So we need to understand their game it is a war against the ordinary person by the ruling class; the elites are responsible for what is going on in this country; where will the ordinary person get the money to buy AK47 riffle and the kind of sophisticated weapons we are seeing now, even the bombs they use too, which means that some people are supplying them those things.
You will see how the Customs have been intercepting arms coming into this country yet those who brought those arms into the country have not been taken to court because they are providing soft landing for themselves.
They are the elites organising this instability because if there is more instability they will make more money.
Do you think that the government is succeeding in its fight against corruption? We cannot completely say the fight against corruption is succeeding because if you are going to deal with corruption definitely you must be ready to respond to the consequences of fighting corruption.
This government does not have the plan to overcome the consequences or the fight back from corruption that is why some corrupt people use their money to mobilise people to protest if they are arrested.
If the government can come out with a national strategic plan that will educate and sensitise citizens on the consequences of corruption and supporting corrupt people.
Also, the inability of the government at the inception to collaborate with the judiciary and the legislature is not making it very difficult for the government.
If you are going to fight corruption you cannot do it alone, you must involve all the three arms of government and until recently it is now that the judiciary is coming on board.
The government is not thinking strategically.
If they are strategically thinking they should know that the fight against corruption has gone beyond the personality of two persons.
You must strengthen your institution and give them the necessary support both resources wise, technical-wise, also you must work on your policy, legislation and practice.
What is your take on the issue of ranching which is at the heart of clash between herdsmen and farmers? How do we employ the use of ranches? It all takes honesty and sincerity from both the government and the herdsmen.
If you are to look statistically how many people are involved in this herdsmen thing in the country? Their numbers are completely insignificant.
There is an erroneous mistake that those who have cattle are Fulani, no it is a business.
They recruit people to do those things because those are the people who can do that job for them.
The truth of the matter is the inability of the government to come out with an honest workable solution that would address this matter is what is giving rise to these clashes, I don’t see farmersherdsmen clashes as the real issue that is causing this killings.
There is another factor behind it all.
While we were growing up we never saw the real herdsmen with AK47, we know them for is their stick and probably a matchete.
How come? It is the government’s responsibility to investigate this matter properly and because there is no rule of law in this country all this is happening.
There are other countries that experienced farmers-herdsmen conflict and they have been able to manage it.
Conflict is inevitable in any society even in your own house but what is important is how you are able to resolve that conflict but what we don’t accept is violence.
No responsible person will be happy that citizens’ lives are being taken on a regular basis.
And so many lives have been lost from various crisis and clashes since 1999 till date and it has not stopped, it is still going on.
So are we saying that our security agents cannot monitor and also give early warning because no violence just happens, it builds up; you will see the signal and then you step in to address it.
Why is it that it is only after it escalates that we see security agents coming.
Why can’t they deploys them before the crisis happen.

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