Different Strokes For Different Folks; Same Result
In Riverine communities, nobody owns the fishes in the river. It’s different from the farm where you can own some part and use it alone. Everything in the river is communally owned.
So anyone who gets hungry goes to the river, uses his ability to get fishes and feed his families, but he can’t go his neighbors farm to dig coco-yam or pluck Ugu leave as that will be stealing .
But if you make a law and tell the local people to stop fishing and you come with a big trawler to fish in large chunks, then it becomes difficult to make the locals who are hungry to obey that law. Especially if they are hungry .
In the study of criminality research has shown that it’s easier to prevent crime by taking away the environment that breeds crime than to apprehend the criminals themselves during the act.
Let’s take for example pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
Apparently realizing that the amnesty program will produce only a very short term relief, the then government introduced the host communities development fund into the PIB. This gave the host communities a 15 to 10 percent stake in the proceeds of oil from their land.
It was a brilliant attempt to stop pipe line vandalism. The reason is simple . Nobody steals what belongs to his community. If the community owns a land and decrees that nobody should cut palm fruits from it for one year, they don’t need security men at that farm. Everybody becomes a security man over there.
For me I think it was more brilliant than the pipeline security contract which actually empowered only the ex militants and left out the real victims of oil exploration and environmental degradation.
But this National Assembly first reduced the funds to 10% and finally stylishly removed it after an argument that the oil in the south actually flows from the north so the whole country owns it, thus the term host community was defined as the whole country .
Today pipeline vandalism is a huge menace and President Buhari’s statement about giving them the Boko Haram treatment is actually a direct order for the military to step up engagements against these vandals whom I believe will never stop until the right strategy is employed.
The curious thing about this National Assembly is that while they removed the right of the host communities to earn a little from the oil being explored in their backyard due to opposition from a section of the country, they are boldly enacting a law which empowers the government to acquire anyone’s land and use it as free raw materials for some Fulani herdsmen as a means of placating them so they can stop killing those they occupy their lands.
What this means is that the government will provide free food nationwide for the cattle of Fulani herdsmen from the farms of ordinary Nigerians, while those who steal oil in jerrycans at their backyards will be shot at.
One of the worst things that happened to this country is the PDP vs APC dichotomy.
This dichotomy is responsible for the absence of our country having enough independence of reasoning and almost everybody now thinks within the confines of this boxed dichotomy .
While this in no way means I’m in support of pipeline vandalism, but this is actually different strokes for different folks .
The only similarity is catastrophe as the end point . While the pipeline vandals will resist the military, the various land owners will also resist the herdsmen .
May God help us
Written by Ken Agala