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Berom women protest about the massacres

President Buhari’s silence is deafening

In July the chairman of the Berom Youth Moulders Association claimed that Fulani cattle herdsmen had killed over 200 Berom villagers in six months.

A few days ago, some Berom people in Jos appealed on national television to Nigerians, the world and the government to do something about the killings. Berom people are reportedly being dragged out of their beds at night and slaughtered by Fulani herdsmen.

We have checked all mainstream news outlets, watched broadcasts on Nigerian TV channels like NTA, TVC and Channels, and can’t find a single statement by President Muhammadu Buhari even acknowledging that there is a problem.

The Berom people come from the Jos plateau in Plateau State. There has been a long history of conflict with Fulani cattle rearers over grazing rights, with Berom farming communities claiming the cattle has been destroying their crops.

It is shocking that the president has kept quiet over the issue and the many deaths, especially as his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) made an issue of his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan’s failure to act decisively when Nigerian lives were on the line.

The president’s silence is fuelling suggestions that he has taken sides, especially as he is Fulani. He claimed in his inauguration speech that he “belonged to everybody and I belong to no one”. If he truly “belonged to everybody”, he should know that the Constitution that he swore to uphold on his inauguration states that the security and welfare of Nigerians should be the primary purpose of his government.

How can he not only fail to act on the killing of so many Berom people, but actually keep quiet and pretend this tragedy is not happening under his watch?

Buhari’s silence is troubling. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.”

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