Home Columns The Marauding Fulani Herdsmen's Choice of Dishonour: the beginning of the end of Nigeria

The Marauding Fulani Herdsmen's Choice of Dishonour: the beginning of the end of Nigeria

by Olabisi Showole - 28 January 2021 148 Views

The Marauding Fulani Herdsmen's Choice of Dishonour: the beginning of the end of Nigeria

My very first adult friend as a kid of 5 years of age was a Fulani herder. It was at Ifo, a town of equidistance between Abeokuta and Lagos. Ifo was also a rural railway town without electricity but with flourishing kolanut business and the potential to be a great city. The Hausa traded in kola nuts which they sent them to the North. One Alhaji Inuwa was a prominent Hausa kolanut merchant in Ifo then. His one-storey building is still standing at the intersection of Abeokuta-Lagos road and Ago-Ilorin, leading one to the imposing Motayo's mansion, built in the 1950's. The Fulani lived and reared their cattle at the outskirts of Ifo. My Fulani friend lived amongst his cattle, far from the 'madding crowds' of Yoruba and Hausa who cherished communal lives.  I lived at the Railway quarters with my parents, my dad being a railway staff. My mother engaged herself selling cooked rice and stew. It was Ofada rice, which sweet aroma would reach your nostrils meters away and compel a burning desire to have a taste. My mother's clients included the Yoruba, the Hausa and the Fulani; they would troop to our house daily to buy their own rice n stew.  

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My Fulani friend would come in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening to buy his rice n stew. He was not married; he was good natured. One evening, my bachelor Fulani friend took me to his house at the outskirts of Ifo. His herd of cattle was at the back of his house. He wanted to give his kid friend a treat of groundnut soup n tuwo. It was taking time to finish the cooking. In a rural Ifo then, like any village, 7pm would seem 10pm, and you can imagine the anxiety of a mother. While savoring our tuwo n groundnut soup, we were hearing the name of my friend being called frantically repeatedly from a distance at that 'late' hour. My friend stepped out and later brought the 'intruders' in. My friend was not happy that Mama Taiye (that was how he called my mom) did not trust him. Anyway, I left my friend with a takeaway. The following morning, my Fulani friend was at our house to buy and eat Mama Taiye rice n stew specials.

I have recalled my experience as a kid with my adult Fulani friend in order to bring to the fore the patently dangerous choice of incivility, disharmony, disrespect of their hosts, the pillaging of their host communities and for their embrace of the dishonorable and criminal acts of killing, kidnapping, banditry and rape by the present day Fulani herders, which have led to their profiling as one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world and the source and cause of Nigeria's political instability and underdevelopment. Their embrace of crime and  criminality reaches its zenith under Buhari's watch. This is because the Buhari administration embraces bias, favoritism or kinship as a veritable tool of governance and allows it to feature prominently and unconscionably in government policy measures and thrusts. Thus, the Buhari administration has unwittingly sown the wind and it is now reaping the whirlwind of ethnic mistrust, political chaos and socio-economic anomie.

The indulgence of Fulani herdsmen’s atrocities all over Nigeria and the withholding of punitive action by the Buhari government against Fulani herdsmen's savagery nationwide, without a doubt, betrays its complicity and encourages impunity. I have no doubt in my mind that the Buhari administration's obvious complicity is in line with the deliberate Fulani oligarchy's strategy for realizing its primary goal - using the privilege of being in control of government to prosecute Fulani oligarchy's hegemonic and Islamization agenda, which ultimate  goal is the domination of Nigeria - its military, political and economic spaces, thus reincarnating and entrenching the Boer apartheid in Nigeria. It explains why the Fulani herders have transformed from the stick welding to AK47/48 gun carrying cattle rearers, terrorising their host communities in order to achieve the Fulani oligarchy’s age-old domination agenda. Unfortunately, the Fulani intellectuals are in cahoots with the Buhari administration's "One Nigeria Two Systems Policy''. There is one law for the Fulani and another for other Nigerians. The law for the Fulani pampers and encourages them to break the constitution of Nigeria with impunity because they are cocksure that, under Buhari's watch, there will be no consequences. The law for other Nigerians punishes them unfairly and unjustifiably.

 The Fulani intellectuals see nothing amiss in the "One Nigeria Two Systems Policy'' of the Buhari administration. In fact, they cherish and promote it, and savor the unearned benefits arising therefrom. I will come back to the Fulani intellectual's complicity in aiding and abetting Fulani herders' criminality by their vacuous intellectualism. Suffice to say that the foregoing is the genesis of the Fulani herders' brigandage and criminality. The Fulani are emboldened by the "One Nigeria Two Systems Policy''. Now they carry unlicensed sophisticated AK47/48 Riffles openly; terrorize, kill their host with reckless abandon, grab their land, kidnap them for ransoms that run into millions and rape their women with the unlicensed weapon. 

The Fulani herders, believing that they are above the law of the land have extended their excesses to occupying, illegally, a state's forest reserves, and have the effrontery and uncommon audacity to question the state governor's resolve to evict them from their illegal occupation of the forest reserves. Such attitudes will surely attract counter measures. 

That is the raison d'etre for Mr Sunday Adeyemo's  (aka Sunday Ighoho) audacious response to Fulani excesses. Yet, these people are calling for the head of Mr Sunday Adeyemo, and their associations, from the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the 'Northern' Elders Forum (NEF) to the Myetti Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MCBAN) are also threatening war. We should ask them, who is afraid of war? They should be told in no uncertain language that 1967 is not 2021. The dynamics have changed since then. Things have fallen apart in the North, the centre can no more hold. The slogan of 'One North One Destiny' or 'One North One People' has been exposed for what it is, a ruse. The Tivs, the Idomas, the Jukuns, the Beroms and the Southern Kaduna people now know that the sole purpose of the slogan- the ruse- is to compensate the Fulani for their numerical disadvantage. The Fulani, ever masters of chicanery assume that by promoting and constantly mouthing a monolithic North, without the slightest regard for its untruth. it would compensate for the Fulani's numerical disadvantage and be converted for political gains- the control of political power and the advantages and benefits it confers. They have succeeded in this game until the coming of Mohammadu Buhari. The Middlebelters and the Southern Kaduna people now know that they do not have a common destiny with the Fulani. Not anymore! Even, the Hausa, who were once blinded by religion to the reality of their servitude are now seeing clearly their sorry state, and are now determined to free themselves from the chains and shackles of the Fulani savage domination of their lives.

Now, I come back to Fulani intellectuals and their curious placement of ethnic interest over and above national interest. I have always believed that intellectualism is driven by objectivity and rationalism and it's therefore balanced or unbiased. All this changed as I watched on the Arise TV's, The Morning Show Prof Usman Yusuff's pontification on the issue of law that he knew little about, all in the attempt to protect Fulani herders' interest. One was marvelled by his seeming arrogant display of ignorance of what a forest reserve is and what constitutes insurrection. With regard to Ondo state forest reserve, the Professor of Medicine thought that  Governor Akeredolu of Ondo state had no legal right to evict the Fulani herders from Ondo forest reserves they were occupying and using illegally. Luckily, Legal analyst Festus Ogun has provided an illuminating and timely response that repudiates Usman Yusuff's pontification on the legality or otherwise of Governor Akeredolu eviction order to Fulani herders from Ondo state forest reserves. The Legal analyst Ogun treatise of January 24, 2021 in the Sahara reporters, has provided sufficient premises to disprove the falsehoods being propagated and disseminated by Professor Usman Yusuff and his ilk. I can only implore them to come down from their high horses in order to benefit from Mr Ogun's treatise on the legality of the Akeredolu eviction order to the herders from Ondo state forest reserves. I enjoined them to  pay a particular attention to the following Sections of the 1999 federal constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) cited by the Legal analyst: 

"Section 9, which empowers the State Executive Council to make regulations for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of the law; Section 1 of the Land Use Act, 1978, which vests  all lands within the geographical territory of a state in Nigeria in the Governor; Section 41(2)(a) of the Constitution which says that the right to freedom of movement, guaranteed by Sections 35 and 41, may be deprived under a law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society imposing restrictions; Section 45, which further provides that there could be a legal instrument that provides for the derogation to these rights, guaranteed by Sections 35 and 41, in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons, and Section 12(1) and 12(5) of the Act, which respectively empower the Governor to grant licence or permits to anyone entering or using a land and also vests upon the Governor the power to cancel any such licence in case of contravention of the Act; Section 28 of the Act which makes it lawful for the Governor to revoke a right of occupancy for overriding public interest”. 

Furthermore, Legal analyst Festus Ogun also submitted that, "under the Ondo State Forestry Law regime (Forestry Law of Western State and National Forestry Policy, 2006), it is a criminal trespass for an individual to occupy a forest reserve without obtaining permit from the State Government through the State Forestry Department". All of the foregoing supports the conclusion of Mr Festus Ogun that the Governor of Ondo State was right in law to have issued a vacation order to illegal occupiers of the State’s forest reserve.

Unfortunately, in spite of Mr Festus Ogun's citations, submissions and conclusions, Professor Yusuff is still bent on his pro-Fulani narrative- a narrative that made him to disregard the Ondo state eviction order to the Fulani herders from the state forest reserves or to, tactically, evade responding to the issues of the Fulani's sense of entitlement and excesses, raised by Adesuwa of th Arise Morning Show.

 Perhaps, the most ludicrous was Prof Yusuff's subjective interpretation of what constitutes an insurrection. To our Professor, the #ENDSARS protest and Sunday Igboho's ultimatum to the hordes of Fulani herders were insurrectional. However, his encouragement and incitement of the Fulani herdsmen to disobey a legal order of Ondo state government to the Fulani herders to leave the state forest reserves they were occupying illegally does not fall within his definition of insurrection. Yet Dr Reuben Abati of the Morning Show was not only pandering to Yusuff's  Fulani narrative, he was also shamelessly calling for Sunday Igboho's arrest but not the arrest of the Seriki Fulani who was conniving with Fulani herders/kidnappers/rapists. 

In concluding this piece, Fulani and their collaborators should be warned that, by their actions, the country is inching inexorably to the evitable end when historians will write of Nigeria, in the words of the inimitable Chinua Achebe, "There was a Country". It is hoped that Fulani leadership will allow the voices of reason, wisdom and courage to prevail to avert the fast approaching armageddon.

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