Before Fulani herdsmen kill all of usWritten by Odimegwu Onwumere
It is an inquisitive thing that Fulani herdsmen are apparently taking laws into their hands in Nigeria. From their occupation in the rearing of cows across the bushes and lands in the country unsolicited, but especially in the forests and lands of the South-East and South-South zones, they have become merchants of death anywhere they went, as gory stories of their sophisticated mayhem rent the air.
Over 150 people were reportedly killed recently by Fulani herdsmen in an attack on three villages of Ugwar Sankwai, Ungwan Gata and Chenshyi, in Kaduna State. Their supposedly killing sprees in a place like Berom of Plateau State have taken precedence. The killings against Christian Southerners and Northerners are a story for another day, so that no one is pushed to cry.
The sad side of it is that the affected villagers from the villages these Fulani herdsmen cum gunmen have meted out their shoddy acts, say that the herdsmen opened fire on them immediately they entered their villages. Initially, these Fulani herdsmen were known for the little knives they hold around their waists while herding their cows. But today, somebody is afraid that AK-47 may be the case of these nomads in the neighbourhood. Terrorism everywhere!
On March 10 2014, a sitting Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam narrowly escaped death. His envoy was said to have been ambushed by assumed Fulani mercenaries. They engaged Suswan and his security aides in exchange of gunfire at Tee-Akanyi village in Guma Local Government Area of the state. The herdsmen had earlier sacked those within the Uikpam-Mbabai. The attack on Suswam’s convoy compelled the governor to say that it’s a real war and beyond the Fulani herdsmen.
Without hiding for the fear of arrest, the Fulani herdsmen after they had ‘drank’ the blood of the innocent people, rather bemoaned that the violence should be blamed on Suswam. It’s the National Vice President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Alhaji Hussaini Yusuf Bosso who was credited with such a goofing statement for whatever reason. Needless of going to look for whom the sponsors of the marauders were, Bosso might tell Nigerians.
Police who were supposed to bounce on the statement made by Bosso and make arrests, they had rather been busy urging Fulani herdsmen and Benue Farmers in February to embrace peace. That was in the event that over 35 persons had lost their lives in the Gwer West local government area of Benue State in that month, in the hands of suspected Fulani herdsmen. Over 80,000 people were reported to have been displaced in the outbreak of the attack. Is anybody mouthing the police? Hmmmm.
But if Ndigbo were the Nomads/Herdsmen that have been killing immeasurable innocent people in different parts of Nigeria, police would have been set on motion to be arresting anybody found with cow and, cows would be killed across the country and, legislation being on top gear, suggesting that rearing of cows, is part of terrorism and the rearers, terrorists.
Did somebody say this is Nigeria for you! Go ask the MASSOB members what their experiences are in the hands of the Nigerian security men and women and how many of their men and women have not been lucky with their lives in the hands of the security people, even when the MASSOB is a non-violent group. The members’ sin in the hand of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is that they said they need Biafra.
The killing spree continues to be the new found love of the Fulani herdsmen. In 2012 a serving senator, Dr. Gyang Dantong, and the lawmaker representing Barkin Ladi in the state house of assembly, Gyang Fulani, were killed by seemingly Fulani herdsmen at a mass burial in Maseh, Plateau State. Yet, governments at all levels behaved and are behaving as if they did/do not have a feel of the dastard act, except in the newspapers.
Not even the deaths of such glaring prominent people have brought peace between the herdsmen and their host communities where they feed their cows without paying any remuneration. The other time, the women of Ubima (Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s place) in Rivers State protested to Government House, Port Harcourt to lodge their grievances that the Fulani herdsmen were allegedly raping them in the farms and using dangerous weapons to harass them whenever they complain that the cows were destroying their crops.
The same story is applicable to all the villages and towns in the South-East and South-South zones of this country where the herdsmen have become the Lords of Manor. They do not listen to anybody against the backdrop that their cows destroy crops; and the government is even, always mute to react or act, whenever the people lay their complaints against the herdsmen.
Gradually, the uncalled-for-attitude of the Fulani herdsmen is turning into terrorism. Their cows are terror to farmers’ crops and to the environment, while the herdsmen have become terrorists to human lives at a slightest provocation. Where are we going in this country? This is very unfortunate! And the government security apparatuses, like the police that should not relent to curb the menace, as we have seen above, were using plea as the new form to fight crime in Nigeria.
Calculating these killings, it has become pertinent to say that the lives of the cows being reared by the herdsmen are preferred by the rearers than the lives of innocent people who advise them contrarily to their already programmed mindset of: ‘we better kill villagers who ask us to pull our cows out from their village instead of do just simple that’.
While the Fulani herdsmen brag of the number of people they killed in any village they invaded, the problem with Nigeria to checkmate their excesses becomes intelligence. Imagine that in some of the stories, these Fulani herdsmen would group and take uniforms to attack, and no security person would halt them.
Let those in the government stop taking to pleasure; they should be diligent to their assignments. The government should stop being busy always in changing top security personnel, without any iota of change in strategy and new approach to curtail the nuisance of the Fulani herdsmen and their supporters.
In a civilised clime there will not be noise to it as even trained dogs can arrest the activities of the herdsmen, because when some goons took to activities such as the herdsmen’s and wanted to take over the South-East, local vigilante group that was called Bakassi, was it that arrested the situation.
Government should do something about the Fulani herdsmen-initiated killings and harassments of Nigerians in any of the areas they graze. The worst is that when they are provoked, they even attack on a broad daylight and yet go unhurt.