President Buhari’s Fulani Herdsmen | Independent Newspapers Limited
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President Buhari’s Fulani Herdsmen

Bola Ige
Posted: May 2, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


William Bozimo

Uneasy, they say, lies the head that wears the crown. In selfsame manner, we could be right to ascribe all the atrocities currently being perpetrated by the truant and nomadic Fulani herdsmen as brethren of the Nation’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

He may not have instructed them to be so daring and destructive on their routine nomadic journeys from far and near, and had almost become a nightmare in every Nigerian community they lead their cattle grazing through farms and produce in their lugubrious trekking from North to the Southern towns.

And for the records, in the President’s Assets Declaration in the past several years, he had always included some 150 Cows as part of his Assets, and it may well be that those looking after them could well fit the categorization as Fulani herdsmen. One is not too sure if they venture out of their enclaves to do collateral damages to their neighbours’ farmlands.

Poet J.P Clark, one of the brightest a member of the literary triumvirate in Nigeria- Soyinka, Achebe and Clark, once wrote a poem about the species of nomadic Cattle Men whose legendary journeys from the far Saharan grassless lands to the deep tropical forests of the south. He wrote a poem titled THE COW FULANI and in the process, eulogizing the nomadic Cow Fulani for coming to feed the hungry cities in the South. In the past, the Cow Fulani was seen as a blessing of sort ‘coming to feed the hungry cities in the south’.

Today, the scenario had changed from feeders of the hungry cities in the south and even the Middle Belt into horrific guests, bringing the proverbial carrot and the stick in dealing with their unsuspecting farm owners, spreading tears and blood on their foot paths.

We have had several cases of horror and destruction of lives and setting villages into flames and homes of unarmed land owners.

A few examples would suffice. Not quite long ago, a traditional ruler in Delta state, the King of Obulukwu Ofoloue II in Aniocha South was kidnapped from his Jeep and taken to an unknown location. They had asked for 100 million naira as ransom but before the money could be mobilized, his lifeless body was found in the nearby forest      bordering Edo state.

King Ofolue died in the hands of Fulani herdsmen. It was strange for a traditional ruler die in that manner, with all the palace priests in his Kingdom not being able to foretell what was coming.

The second episode of the nomadic scourges in the land was when a former Secretary to the Federal government, in Chief Olu Falae, was kidnapped and brutalized in his Ondo state farm and a request for five million naira for ransom was paid before he gained his freedom. It almost caused a political unease between the leadership of the Yorubas and Hausa Fulani, and a trumpeted ban of the Cow Fulani herdsmen from any Oduduwa land was in the air. The matter was rested after a round table dialogue between the aggrieved Yorubas and the Fulani leadership.

The most recent cases of Cow Fulani herdsmen aggression reared their ugly heads in Plateau and Benue states, especially, the chilling tale of Agatu people in Benue whose homes were almost reduced to rubbles while old men and women were rendered homeless.

Some even called it an act of genocidal proportion of sorts.

The Agatu massacres were the  worst depiction of the brutality associated with these slim bowler hat wearing Fulani herdsmen, carrying sticks and arrows but underneath their armpits they have guns and cutlasses to butcher their victims, if need arose.

Nigerians are now calling on Mr. President who has not voiced any condemnation of the serial activities of the Fulani herdsmen, and many, are persuaded to believe that ‘blood is thicker than water’.

Could it be that with a Presidential Fulani son at the helm of affairs in Aso Villa, no Cow Fulani herdsman can do any wrong?

Call it a perception by the critics of the President’s long and loud silence on the various activities of the marauding Fulani herdsmen by President Buhari.

That is why it has become opposite for me, to title this column ‘President Buhari’s Fulani herdsmen’. I can assure you that no  harm was intended but one believes that  if a Nigerian President of Fulani extraction appeals to his kith and kin, they might moderate  their activities and be less criminally- minded as they trek thousands of miles away from their homes. It is even said that they may not all be Nigerian Fulani herdsmen and sooner than later there, activities could blossom into another theatre  of little wars in the country , as most states in the South East and South-South  are boiling over the so- called hidden agenda of the proposal to establish permanent grazing lands across the country. This ploy, most violent opposition groups feel, is meant to corner private lands outside their homes of domiciliation and after some years create likely pools of Fulani Cow herdsmen power bases   which would grow into Fulani settlements, towns and cities later come out to contest ownership rights with the natives of the lands. Call it mere perception, but the fears run deep.

Uneasy lies on President Buhari’s head, who, apart from being the President of Nigeria is being unwittingly seen as the leader and saviour of the Cow Fulani herdsmen.

Leading Nigeria as a President is neither a Tea party nor a ‘Tuwo Shinkafa’ affair. It is very intricate and complicated, giving and taking is the secret of navigating the billows and waves of at the largest Black Nation in the world. You must be more and more of a broad-minded, just and a fatherly Nigerian of all religious persuasions, Muslims, Christians and traditional religions, and less and less of a Nomadic Cow Fulani.