A-list celebrities, Tuface and Kate Henshaw have expressed displeasure at the seeming inability of the Buhari-led administration to secure lives of Nigerians against the destructive activities of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. They also frowned upon the abduction of Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State recently.
Benue State which is one of the flashpoints of the herdsmen/farmers clashes is very dear to the heart of Tuface, the African Queen creator. He told Saturday Beats that from all indications, the government is not doing much about the situation except to always, ‘condemn the killings.’
“The Federal Government is not doing anything at all, nothing has been done and as we speak, the herdsmen can attack anytime anyday. They would move on then the Federal Government would condemn the killing; that is all they do, to condemn the killing but nothing is being done. I feel terrible when I read about the senseless killings that daily take place in Benue. It is not about my state alone. It happens in other states as well and I sympathise with Nigerians. These people are just being lawless and the law enforcement agencies are doing nothing about it. As far as I can see, I have not seen any serious effort to address this issue. Nigerians are tired and angry but because we are peace-loving, that is why Nigeria has not exploded and that is what these men are taking for granted. They know we would not do anything. Their case is like that of a man that keeps stepping on the tail of a tiger; one day he would see the trouble he is looking for.”
He told Saturday Beats that he agrees with his state governor, Samuel Ortom, who has urged his people to defend themselves because they cannot continue to sit down while the herdsmen continue to plunge families into sorrow. “I agree that the people should arm themselves against future attacks because if your people are being killed and the government is not doing anything, you would not sit in one place like a sitting duck. You would have to arm yourself so that you would not fall victim to the attacks again. It is the only logical thing to do,” the singer said.
He further condemned the government for suggesting the idea of amnesty for the members of the Boko Haram. To him, that is an admission of defeat by the government. “There is something that I do not understand, there are so many Nigerians who have graduated from school and they are finding it difficult to make a living; they are trying to make a positive impact but the government is not helping but it is those who kill and maim their fellow men that the government wants to grant amnesty, it just does not make sense. It is a very shameful situation and it means that the government has accepted defeat. They are sending a clear message that they cannot fish out the culprits. It just shows that they have accepted defeat. There is no other logical explanation,” he said.
Tuface also opened up on why he opted out of the planned mass protest which he initiated in February last year. The singer said that he did not back down because he was threatened by anyone. He said he did not want lives to be lost as a result of his action.
He said, “To be sincere, I was not threatened by anybody. When you want to embark on a mass protest, you have to do your due investigation as well as keep your ears to the ground. There were so many things that were already taking place few days to the day of the mass protest. We learnt that some people wanted to wreak havoc and change the course of what we wanted to achieve. It would have changed the message we wanted to pass across and I could not let that happen. That is why I decided that we leave the physical protest but it does not mean that we would stop challenging government and demanding accountability from them. It does not mean that we would stop talking if we see that something bad is happening. I always say, ‘one love’ and ‘peace,’ I would not want my name to be associated with any ugly outcome from such mass movement. I would not have been able to sleep. I respect all those that eventually came out and I was happy the protest was peaceful.”
For actress Kate Henshaw who maintained the same stance with her colleague, she told Saturday Beats that it was puzzling that some set of people would take their cattle to another man’s land to graze only for them to kill the owner of the farm. She agreed that since the government had refused to do anything, the citizens should find a way to defend themselves.
She said, “The people would have to defend themselves. I know it is crazy but we should be able to defend ourselves, our children and family. Whenever I read what is happening in Nigeria, it breaks my heart. I grew up seeing cattle where they had to be not that you had to create a special place for them. You can build ranches in the north where they are predominant. I don’t see why you need to invade people’s farms and then you kill the owners just because you want your cattle to eat. Since when have animals been more important than human beings? That is a question we need to ask ourselves.”
She added that it was a bad idea for the government to even consider granting amnesty to Boko Haram members.
She also gave her two cents on the Christian Dapchi schoolgirl who is still in the captivity of the terror sect, “I don’t think the government should grant amnesty to members of Boko Haram. Have they paid penance for the wrongs they have done? Are they repentant? They have not even been punished for what they have done. When you do the crime, you do the time. They must be punished for what they have done first, then we can talk about amnesty.
“It is very sad that other kidnapped Dapchi children have been released except one. The government should have pulled out all the stops to get that one last girl out to make sure that their release was wholesome because you cannot leave anyone behind. Every child, every citizen of this country deserves to move around freely without fear. If one person is still being held, then your job is not complete, you have not done anything. Also, why is it that it is a Christian girl that was left behind? I would not want to go into the religious aspect because I don’t want to go into something that would be divisive. She is a young girl and a human being,” Henshaw said.