Genocide: Justice Delayed.

Genocide: Justice Delayed.

A high pitched scream pierced the silent plateau night.
Then ceased in the wake of a single shot.
Fired from a Smith and Wesson.
Shield semi auto pistol.
A shot quickly followed by the staccato burst of automatic gunshots.
Palpable fear seized residents of the small farming settlement.
Who had heard about the carnage at southern Kaduna.
Benue.
Nimbo and other places.
Could this attack be a backlash of the recent communal clash.
Between the host community and their pastoral settler neighbours.
Those avoidably recurrent spats.
That was always about cattle and herders.
Straying into farms and destroying cash crops.
Spats that had recently degenerated into bloody clashes.
That claimed lives on both sides.
Attempts at reconciliation by community leaders.
Often.
Always ended in deadlocks.
Marred by accusations and counter accusations.
Traded in heated exchanges.
With the aborigines accusing the nomads of allowing the animals they tended to.
Stray on purpose on to acres of farmlands.
That was a generational source of livelihood for the villagers.
Once on these farms.
The cattle wreaked havoc by trampling on or eating up ca$h crops.
Damages the pastorals vehemently refused to pay for.
With defense hinged on claims. That these farming settlements.
Were well established grazing routes.
Repeated reports to the police by the natives yielded no results.
As their more connected neighbors.
Openly bragged about powerful representatives.
At the echelons of power.
Each police commissioner sent to investigate a clash.
Simply took an inducement from the transgressors and left.
To file reports that never reflected the gravity of these clashes.
That could be settled amicably.
Months went by.
And with active involvement of scrupulous law enforcement personnel.
The pastoralists became more daring.
Aggressive and destructive.
Indiscriminately raping and ravaging native women at will.
Finally the natives decided to kill and sell off.
Any animal found on any of their farms.
A decision that led to an escalation of violence.
With the pastorals at the receiving end of these skirmishes.
In desperation.
Word was sent out to their nomadic kinsmen.
From all across the sub-region.
Who responded immediately with a fervor.
That ensured the aboriginal custodians of the land.
Were vastly outnumbered by the convergence of quasi militia.
Morale boosted by increment in numbers.
The nomads summoned the traditional head of the aboriginal clan.
Who as expected.
Refused to acknowledge or honor the summons.
Finally.
A delegation was sent.
That had no respect or tact for diplomacy.
The message delivered was clear.
“Leave your lands in peace or face the consequences”.
Outraged at such crude audacity. The village headman ordered the emissaries stripped and whipped.
Two nights later.
Heavily armed and donning military fatigues.
The pastoralists invaded the farming settlement.
Seized and strung up the traditional head.
Then set him on fire.
Next.
They herded his subjects into an open field.
Scores of stunned villagers.
Hushed in humiliation and dejected in defeat.
The invaders quickly torched homes and barns.
Then from strategic points.
They marched upon the unarmed villagers.
At a command from one clearly in charge.
Known to one and all as the assistant commissioner of police.
Who had mediated in the last crises.
The pastorals opened fire on their latest victims.
Daniel Ibanga©
Lagos.

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