“We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.” Those were the words of the incumbent governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai on 15th July, 2012. Chief Kehinde Olaosebikan, a former Chief Press Secretary to a former governor of Oyo state, Late Lam Adesina, also described how in a shameful commando style, the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari stormed the Oyo state secretariat in the company of General Buba Marwa on 13th October, 2012. Their mission was to protest the killing of about 69 Fulani herdsmen in Saki. Olaosebikan said the conflict between the Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani would have thrown the country into a full blown war. He said the manner in which the late governor spoke to Buhari and Marwa, who he said came accusing Lam of shielding the Fulani assailants was what saved the day.
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Olaosebikan said, “As weighty, indicting and provocative as the General’s allegations were against the governor, Alhaji Lam Adesina remained unperturbed as he only fired back with his own well-coordinated arsenals in form of refined strategy, robust explanations and effective engagements.” Both generals had to tuck their tail between their legs after the governor had schooled them on how they were national leaders and should not be displaying such attitudes that portray them as mere ethnic leaders. Buhari, on that day was said to have led a heavy team of Arewa Consultative Forum in a combative mood to the office of the governor. His arrival was preceded by scores of lorry loads of Hausa boys, indicating a rather tense atmosphere. The crisis in Saki then was reported to be a reprisal attack on the Fulanis who had earlier killed some of the indigenes. All these alarmingly point to something; Fulanis have people at the upper echelons of power who have demonstrated repeated readiness to fight for them when they have issues. It does not matter to them if the Fulani was wrong.
A quick review of the number presidents or heads of state, and their tribe since independence will reveal something to a discerning mind. The Fulani, however simple they may dress are arguably the wealthiest tribe in Nigeria. Nigeria is estimated to officially have a mammoth 23 million cows that consume over 1 billion gallons of water per day and 550 million kilograms of grass and forage crops. When the maths is done, the stock value of Nigeria’s cattle population will be about N3.5 trillion, if a cow is sold at N150,000.
Times without number, the police have been accused of always dancing to the tune of the Fulani whenever a case is reported to them. Could money be doing the talking? Fulani herdsmen have been in the news for unleashing terror on the natives of several places they have gone to. The gory killing sights and nauseating memories that Fulani herdsmen now create everywhere they go is nothing short of brazen terrorism. During their journey, they frequently trespass farmlands owned by locals in their host communities, destroying crops and valuables. Attempts by farmers to prevent them from causing havoc are met with stiff and violent resistance. Most times, the farmers are overpowered, injured and killed, while others are evicted from their homes. The herdsmen are farmers, who rear animals, yet they go on to murder farmers who grow crops. The nicknames of each state in Nigeria gives an insight to what the state is generally known for. Borno is called ‘the home of peace’, even though peace seem to have traveled out of the state with the nefarious activities of the Boko Haram militants. The intensification of this crisis in the last five years has caused nomadic Fulani herdsmen to abandon their foraging grounds in the North East hence the movement further down South in Nigeria.
Benue is called, ‘the food basket of the nation’, and that suggests already that a lot of farming take place there. Taraba is known as, ‘nature’s gift to the nation.’ Edo state and all other states in the southern parts of Nigeria are known to have good vegetation, that supports growing of crops in order to feed the nation. It can only be imagined if all farmers in the south stay away from their farms for fear of being raped, shot and beheaded by suspected herdsmen. The country would plunge into man-made food shortage crisis. The herdsmen have been reported to value the lives of their cattle over that of human beings, hence they would kill humans they perceive would not let their cattle feed on their crops.
What is the difference between ritual killings and the Fulani herdsmen’s killings? They both kill so they could have money, don’t they? As farmers are increasingly being scared off the farm, Nigeria is writing a welcome letter to famine. Maybe when the hunger decides to come and park its bus in the country, all of us will start feeding on cows, after all they have eaten all our food crop. With families being thrown into avoidable mourning, reprisal attacks might increase as it was reported in the Mambilla Plateau of Sardauna local government area of Taraba state. This is an apparent failure of Nigeria’s security system, or could it be intentional negligence? Every drop of blood shed by the herdsmen is an apparent failure by the security agencies and the government of Nigeria. Five years is enough to proffer lasting and effective solutions to the troubles of the herdsmen. Greennews.ng therefore calls on the federal government and all security agencies to rise up to their constitutional responsibilities of protecting lives and properties which they have sworn to do.