“Buhari was warned earlier, but did nothing about Benue genocide” – Pastor Tunde Bakare

A Nigerian cleric and former running mate of the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, in the 2011 elections, Pastor Tunde Bakare, who is also the Senior Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, has alleged that Buhari was warned against incidence of genocide in the state but failed to act.

Tunde Bakare, while speaking in his address yesterday at his church, blamed Buhari for playing politics with the lives of Benue residents.

Bakare further stated that the Buhari-led government failed to take seriously the Global Terrorism Index 2015 that described ‘militant’ herdsmen as ‘the fourth most deadly group of 2014.

Tunde Bakare in his address stated: “Nothing indicts the current government greater than its failure in one key performance area that ought to be its strength: security.

Despite recent setbacks, we acknowledge the gains in the war against Boko Haram, but highly disturbing is the mayhem being continually unleashed by herdsmen on communities in different states across the country, including Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, Kaduna, Enugu, Edo and Ogun States, leaving trails of weeping and wailing.

The recent killings in Benue State are akin to the last straw that is set to break the camel’s back. Not only has the government failed to stop these killings across the country, it has done so against the backdrop of conspiratorial silence, choosing rather to label such attacks ‘an issue of communal misunderstanding’, as the Inspector General of Police recently did in respect of the Benue attacks; it has treated the menace with kid gloves even after the Global Terrorism Index 2015 described ‘militant’ herdsmen as ‘the fourth most deadly group of 2014’. Worse still, some of these killings have reportedly been carried out in collusion with the military.

I am reminded of the open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari by a former Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada and Second Republic senator, Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher. Permit me to quote excerpts from that letter:

Your Excellency Mr. President… I am pained that you ignored my advice in my private memorandum to you dated 30th July 2016. I had warned you of the possibility of a horrendous genocide in Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Southern Kaduna, and Southern Adamawa States.

I asked you to be proactive and stop the genocide that has been ongoing but which would burst out in the open and shock the world within 18 months. Your office replied my letter… thanking me ‘immensely’ and giving me the assurances that the advice would be heeded… I regret to now inform you that it is seventeen months since my warning and prediction and your government did nothing to pre-empt or prevent the genocide.

This administration anchored its policy outlook on three main thrusts, including security, job creation through diversification, and anti-corruption, yet all around us are signs of retrogression. As at June 2015, the unemployment rate was 8.2% of a labour force of 74 million, meaning that about 6 million Nigerians were unemployed.

By September 2017, despite such efforts as N-Power and a range of policies aimed at improving enterprise development and facilitating job creation, the unemployment rate had risen to 18.8% of a labour force of 85.1 million, indicating that between 2015 and 2017, the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from about 6 million to almost 16 million” Pastor Tunde Bakare said