Encounter With Fulani Herdsmen

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By Bolaji O. Akinyemi

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Let me start by reminding you that bandits are not enemies of Nigeria like Nmadi Kanu and Sunday Igboho, who are unable to set an APC on fire, don’t misquote me o, I meant Armoured Personnel Carrier, nor shot down an Air Force jet fighter. Their nuisances are getting too much and Baba is pretty uncomfortable. Kanu is always ranting and talking like a Parrot, his talks are threats to national security. Igboho’s street possessions are disturbing the quietness of the Villa, so much so that the foot sounds of the crowds is terrorizing the country and makes it impossible for “Baba oni bàbà'” to sleep, haba! Ẹ fi oro ro ara yín wo now, ṣe bí ẹyin na ni Baba?

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Herdsmen are foot soldiers of the bandits, a very respectful group giving Government no reasons to worry, but citizens, every reason to. Like they say, it’s different strokes for different folks!

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Bandits are friends of Nigeria, they are not hiding in the comfort of London, nor roaming the streets of Nairobi, but in the forests of Nigeria with all its adverse effects, strategizing and laboring to help us achieve a “ONE NIGERIA” .

They have no time threatening anybody, they act, in terror but they are not terrorists; killing, kidnapping, sacking villages, hosting their Emirates flags and conducting peaceful local government elections, no ballot box snatching, everything went well without the fear of any “Oluomo” and his road masters. Moment from now you will have reasons to compare their elections with the one holding in Lagos today.

They are not economic saboteurs, they just collect farming permits to the knowledge of Nigerian Army, and if you don’t pay and go to farm, don’t hold the army or our government responsible for whatever happens to you. They are not docile like former Governor of Osun, whose State of Osun brand couldn’t be perpetuated after him. Now as Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola who proposed a new marriage levy lacks the courage to enforce it. Trust Sheikh Gumi’s brethren, “àwọn eleyi”, you pay marriage levies at gun point, if not the bride and the groom will be whisked into the jungle of banditry. May be the Honorable Minister should consult them as per operational model to help increase IGR, at least results terminate insults and they are having results.

Herdsmen are a very caring tribes, animal friendly too, if not for them, you people would have been treating goats, sheep and cows as animals don’t have the right of way in the jungle, but no way, they are standing up for animals against humans leading hungry herds just to feed on labors of farmers in your homelands, and you people are shouting, ” ṣe kí ẹran ma jẹun ní”; in a jungle of no justice?

They are not like Sunday Igboho making noise in cities in the name of rallies, but when they show up in the city at your house garden only God will help you as He did me.

I had reasons to be in Abuja, I didn’t say Abaji, read me clearly, Abuja FCT, and was accommodated in a beautiful duplex in the elitist area of Wuse, overlooking Sheraton Hotel. I was in my room when I heard a gunshot, worried though, but felt there should be no need to, because of the presence of the mobile policemen. How wrong I was, a noise followed after some 10 minutes. I became uncomfortable and needed to find out what the issues were. I left my room and went outside towards the garden where the noise was coming from and some Fulani leaders were raging in anger and an associate of my friend who accommodated me was literally prostrating to them. They were breathing fire and brimstone demanding for the policeman who fired the shot. The boasting was out of this world; their ‘Sheun Garuba’, (they also have a spokesman) said; “I have called the Commissioner of Police for FCT, to confirm posting policemen to this garden, I have called the IGP, an explanation must be given for this! I was lost with the daring boldness of private citizen demanding that we should hand the officer of the state who fired the shot to him for punishment. Call it effrontery occasioned by impunity? He went further: “who does the owner of the house think he is”? No Governor can dare us”.

All these he said through an interpreter to my hearing. I couldn’t bear his intoxication of Buhari’s administration’s nepotism. I respected myself and left him and went to the officer who fired the shot to ask for what really happened. He told me of the consistency of the herdsmen grazing their herds in the garden. He said they have had it tough stopping them. But today he asked them to move their herds out of the garden and in the moment of argument a boy made a sound, whatever that meant to the cow, they all turned towards him (the officer). He of course was trying to beat a retreat when he fell down and the rifle discharged and the bullet hit one of the cows on the leg.

Herdsmen don’t joke; the cow will need surgery to have the bullet removed. Thank God the idea of the best veterinary center in the world never crossed their mind; we would have been talking in thousands of dollars during negotiations for compensation. Please, avoid herdsmen o, only payments settled the matter. While bandits are collecting ransom for evils against you and not the “state”, herdsmen are getting compensation for grazing their herds on your farm and garden. What a tribal consolidation!

President Muhammadu Buhari, Sir, this was how it started in Igangan. It is now at your backyard. A resolvable crisis was left to fester, the Presidency kept quiet while your people had upper hand, until things went out of hands. Mr President Sir, for fear of reprisal attack which your people are known for, you can only imagine the demand they make for compensation, while they pay nothing for damages done to farms and gardens.

May I appeal to all Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, to please, lend their voices to our cry. We are not talking about some remote village on the backside of Osun State but Wuse Zone 3, FCT Abuja; not about a maize farm, but the beautification effort of an individual. We are not talking about an illiterate farmer but an educated and respectable citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria! It is about time we rise and be supported by the global communities to tell our President to help us beg his people.

They are not like Kanu and Igboho, dissidents who must not be tolerated for any reasons whatsoever. Neither are they like someone who has to travel all the way to Atlanta to perform money alert miracle, but probably still collected offerings in the same meeting. This guys are great; they stay in the forest and “monies” are delivered in Obi Cubana’s mode: CASH! You don’t have to show your phone screen on camera. Even Thomas’s had their mouth agape at the sight of “ape ká nu ko”, apology to Professor Ebenezer Obey.

Don’t come here proving the first University in Nigeria is in Ibadan, or that the first TV station in Africa was built in “show sure”. Just keep it to yourself that an Igbo man was the first to buy himself out of slavery to freedom. We are not talking about education and civilization, but native Arabian intelligence of Mansa Musa era with which tribes were subjugated and their territories taken. And no Governor in Nigeria can match Nasir El-Rufai when it comes to subtle advocacy for his tribe, and he is absolutely in support of this position of mine that bandits have never challenged the sovereignty of Nigeria or the authority of Mr President as the Commander In Chief of the Armed forces! So, I don’t want any low I.Q person to come here to say what is not. Just help us beg Mr President and his people to let us be!

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