Why should a foreigner take it as a point of duty to terrorise the indigenous people he came to dwell in their land? This is the question agitating the minds of many Nigerians as a section of Fulanis take it as their right to violate, rob, kidnap, rape and even kill their victims in the places where they have come to herd their herds.
In Abia and elsewhere in this country, the Fulanis have behaved in the most reckless manner, leaving other Nigerians to wonder whether they have at all the milk of human kindness in them.
When we were young, we used to admire the Fulanis herding their cattle as the white birds known as cow herons equally ‘grazed’ glutinously on the bodies of the herds. It used to be a beautiful scenario as we looked on with keen interest as kids the movements of the cows with the Elephant birds or cattle egrets.
The Fulanis then were harmless, innocent looking and even cooperated with farmers as they helped in driving out pests and rodents in the farms, while making sure that their herd grazed on only areas that were without crops. Sometimes, the farmers thanked them profusely for helping them drive out destructive animals that had come to feast on their crops. Indeed, there was pleasurable synergy between the farmers and the herdsmen.
But suddenly, the situation changed when those in power now at the federal level were allegedly said to have invited all Fulanis outside Nigeria to dwell in Nigeria; telling them that their forebears gave them Nigeria as legacy. Of course, on that free invitation from citizens of Chad, Niger, Burkina Fasso, Central African Republic, Guinea etc, the elements that would readily honour it most wouldn’t be the upper class or the affluent, but criminals who would see it as a legal invitation to perpetrate their evils on the society.
In the Western Nigeria, South-South, North Central, North East and even the North West where the Fulanis have made their abode, the criminal Fulanis from the above countries have continued to terrorise the indigenous people and their farmers with reckless abandon. And whatever tells them that they will eventually take over the lands of the indigenous people by violence remains a mystery.
Sadly, while they are robbing, kidnapping, raping and killing their victims, the authorities in Abuja continue to look elsewhere; treating them with kid glove. The police will tell you when you make a formal report against the atrocities of the Herdsmen that they have not been asked to arrest. And if peradventure any of them is arrested even for a serious crime like killing, an express order to release them forthwith will come from Abuja.
Regretfully, some Northern elites have come out to openly defend them, their tribesmen (even though they are not from Nigeria). Interestingly, they also support their nefarious acts of robbery, kidnapping, raping and even killing, mouthing that it is their Constitutional rights to live in any part of the country. The question is: is it also the Constitutional rights of Herdsmen to acquire any land illegally by force irrespective who owns it? Is it their Constitutional rights to rob, kidnap, rape and even kill innocent Nigerians, who by every means should be protected under the law? Is it also their Constitutional rights to violate the laws of the land, including the native laws of the places they came to occupy illegally?
This Magazine thinks that by letting these Fulani Marauders loose, the authorities are wittingly or unwitting placing an invitation to anarchy. There will be a time when the indigenous people of Nigeria will no longer tolerate these assaults. The result would be a spontaneous uprising which will enthrone anarchy, and ultimately consume them and those that invited them to Nigeria.
How many people would the military kill in the event of massive uprising? President Muhammadu Buhari should act now by sending these marauders to their respective countries of origin or allow the indigenous people to deal with them decisively. Failure to do any of these will bring Armageddon in the near future. Disconsolately, some of them don’t speak Hausa; neither do they speak English language.
In Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had to order the criminal Fulani Herdsmen out of the forests of Ondo State. In Oyo State Seyi Makinde is no longer comfortable with the Fulani Herdsmen and had asked them out of the forests. The situation is even worse in Benue State where the Governor, Samuel Ortom had to ban open grazing. In fact, the Benue case has been horrific because Herdsmen of Fulani descent have killed thousands of their indigenes and today, no record of any arrest, let alone conviction of the killer Fulani Herdsmen, has documented.
Curiously, the response of Abuja has been so infantile and idiotic ie: that farmers should live peacefully with their neighbours; whatever that means! Living with one’s murderous neighbours? And by the way, are they even neighbours to indigenous Nigerians?
Their barbaric and rampaging behaviour warranted the ‘Leave The Yoruba Land Order’ issued to them in Yoruba land by an activist, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho. And by that all hell was let loose in the six states of the West recently.
In fact, the modern form of herding of cattle in this 21st century requires that the animals are kept in the ranch. The method of herding cows in the forests is of 400BC century or even far less the period. The world has moved on and modern and civilized ways of handling a lot of things have come. Why then should some people in Africa or Nigeria stick to the old things of doing things? Nigeria cannot claim to have more cows than Australia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, USA etc, yet these countries rear their cows in the ranches.
Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has done well by building a ranch inside the forest of the Kano State; even as he tasked other Northern governors to do so. He opined that it is primitive to shepherd cows from place to place in these modern times. He is indeed on point. The likes of Ganduje should be emulated by Northern governors.
In Abia State, the government is taking a proactive measure on the issue. Along the Akoli-Akara axis of the Umuahia-Ohafia-Arochukwu road, there have been reports of kidnapping, armed robbery, raping and in some cases painful killing of innocent motorists who are usually waylaid at the bad portion of the road and abducted and killed, even after paying some ransom since the past six months. Ironically, these ugly incidents have been traced to the domain of Fulani Herdsmen who dwell in the forests there.
I thank the Abia State governor who has now said enough is enough! After Thursday’s killing of a motorist and kidnapping of several others, particularly the gentleman whom they extorted N25 million ransom, Abia Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in a tweet Saturday night promised to tackle the issue headlong.
A Daniel has finally come to judgment!
Though, he did not name those involved in the tweet, he nonetheless promised to set up a security post in the area stop the marauders. What is needed however is to totally flush them out of the forests of Abia!
This Magazine is happy that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is acting fast. A news report has written: Following the upsurge of robbery, kidnappings and killings by suspected Fulani Herdsmen along Akoli/Akara junction axis of Isuikwuato LGA of Abia State, the state government has warned that it will henceforth take stern measures to curtail the activities of all criminal elements in the state, particularly those operating at the Akoli/Akara axis of Isuikwuato LGA.
And we appreciate the move.
In a tweet Saturday night after several reports of violent crimes were reported at the axis on Thursday, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu warned criminals to leave the state or be prepared to face the full wrath of the law.
He noted that the criminals usually operate at a bad spot on that Akoli/Akara axis and therefore directed the Ministry of Works to repair the failed portion of that Umuahia-Ohafia-Arochukwu road within seven days of his tweet.
He assured the communities in the areas that his government will soon set up a permanent security checkpoint around the notorious spot, even as he tasked security agencies to quickly apprehend the criminals.
The governor, in the same tweet, assured Aba residents of government efforts to put the machinery in motion to arrest, within 10 days, the few criminals who operate on tricycles in Aba,
Full text of his tweet reads: “I acknowledge with sadness the sudden rise in violent crimes around a bad spot before Akara Junction in Isuikwuato LGA of our dear State, Abia, and the recent spike in attacks on POS vendors in Aba! I frown seriously at this turn of events and have charged the law enforcement agencies to dominate all affected spaces around Isuikwuato axis and decisively combat the rising surge of crime there.
“On that note, I am relieved by the reassurances of the law enforcement agencies to me that they will apprehend the culprits and ensure the concerned localities are rid of crime!
“As a measure to remove the factors enabling crime in Isuikwuato, the Ministry of Works has been ordered to repair the failed portions of that federal road within 7 days even as we are determined to emplace a permanent check point around the notorious spot.
“On Aba, we are determined and have put machinery in motion to arrest within 10 days the few criminals who operate on tricycles.
“However, for these measures being put in place to have the desired results, I urge all stakeholders including Traditional Rulers, vigilante groups, POS operators and the general public to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies, with whom we had a security meeting yesterday to review the situation, in releasing actionable information about suspected characters within our state.
“With the mode of operation of these criminals, it becomes imperative now as always for leadership of Keke operators to purge themselves of criminal elements or face dire consequences!
“Abia has to remain the most peaceful state in Nigeria!”
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.