A bully walks into the house of “Mr Peaceful”, he drags Mr “Peaceful’s” wife into the bedroom and in the presence of Mr Peaceful’s children, repeatedly assaults her. As he emerges from the bedroom shirtless and sweaty, with a smile and pleasure on his face, Mr Peaceful’s wife bows her head in shame, her children crying, traumatized and permanently scarred from the psychological damage. Pardon the very graphic depiction, but this is an illustration of what happened to the traditional stool of Bokkos LGA this week.

The revered traditional throne of Bokkos (Saf Ron) along with its pride and prestige was desecrated in the most ignoble and sacrilegious manner ever witnessed. The custodian of the throne, the highly respected Baba Lazarus Agai was assassinated in the most humiliating way –only akin to the killing of a felon or a criminal.

What does this sacrilege mean for the future of the traditional stool? What does it mean for the prestige, respect and dignity of the throne? What does it do to the psyche of the average Ron/Kulere man? Will they ever recover from the psychological trauma? Lots of questions, but very few answers!

Throughout history, the assassination of any paramount ruler is symbolic –It usually signifies victory and conquest for the assassins. It is typically the last feat of achievement in any battle. And so when the paramount ruler is killed, it shows that the whole kingdom has fallen –and the subjects have no choice but to surrender.

Even though there is no raging battle of that sort in Plateau, the fact that our revered royal father was murdered in this humiliating way, deals a psychological blow to Plateau people in the conflict with herdsmen.  And in this game of psychological warfare, advantage is everything –and the fact that herdsmen have been able to assassinate many high profile targets (Sen. Gyang Damtong, Hon. Gyang Fulani and Saf Manguna), it goes without saying that they hold the mental advantage.

Already, in a bid to avoid confronting the difficult issue of herdsmen attacks and to give the impression that conflict in Plateau has been eradicated, some politicians are already hypothesizing that the Saf Ron was murdered because of a tussle for his crown by his kinsmen. This narrative even though convenient and palatable to them, it is treacherous and dangerous because it attempts to sweep the problem under the carpet. It seeks to blame the victims and not the aggressors. It seeks to only satisfy a political position and doesn’t confront the problem. This narrative by our leaders is tragic, pitiful and a betrayal of trust in my opinion

But to anyone who claims that the Saf Ron was murdered because of a leadership tussle, I ask the question –if the Saf Ron (who was on the throne for 40 years) was murdered because of a tussle for his crown, why were all three people with him (his son, wife and police orderly) equally murdered? Surely killing him alone would have been enough to satisfy the goal of the killers – without taking the lives of the others. And also was Saf Manguna who was assassinated in a similar manner last month (June 2016) also killed because of a leadership tussle? Lets stop fooling ourselves please! Until we recognize the threat posed by these marauders, these assassination of traditional rulers may become the “new normal”.

Let’s not forget, the “old normal” was the weekly killing of tens of innocent families including women and children in Riyom, Barkin Ladi, Atakar, Rim, Hoss, Sho, Kurra falls, Zawan, Kwata etc. Now, the “new normal” appears to be the assassination of traditional leaders, in a bid to deal psychological blows to the population.

And so in closing I ask you to consider what would happen, if the Emir of Gobir or the Emir of Gwandu visits Plateau and ends up getting assassinated by a Plateau militia?

I can guarantee that an entire battalion of soldiers would have been deployed from Abuja to come and overturn the entire Plateau community. So essentially, if we do not drop our tribal and ethnic bigotry and unite, we may not have anywhere to call home in a few years

Dr. Chinan Mclean

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Assassination of Saf Ron/Kulere: Why this may become the “new normal”

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