The Herdsmen: Our Partners Or Our Enemies?
The loud silence over the activities of the Fulani herdsmen has reached high heavens now. Tears are flowing from all ends and the heartless herdsmen I heard were boasting the other day that nobody can dare them as they have absolute right to tread and trample on our soil, destroy our crops planted with hard earned loans or direct labour and we can do nothing.
Today, the only unifying theme from all corners of the country is the needless cry for the loss of a father, mother, brother, sister, nice, nephew friends’ well-wishers. In some cases children have been rendered orphans and homeless in a twinkle of an eye.
The other day, I thought aloud about the whole menace and was prompted to asking one question. Who is that successful business man who in his quest to increase his profit, goes ahead to rob his customer of his wealth then kill him, yet expects that the victim’s relations would patronize him?
Ohaneze Ndigbo captured it vividly when they said “… Our people were killed for cows …We are not at war yet they treat us like this in our own country, and our own land!
… It also baffles us that the herdsmen are allowed to bear prohibited sophisticated firearms, and are NEVER arrested, while for other Nigerians it is against the law….
‘’’ It is high time people are encouraged to defend themselves, “first” before placing reliance on any other person; and should articulate themselves to wade –off any invader in future;
… That we cannot morn our kits and kin, and the hostility against us in our land by the continuous patronage of our assailants; hence ALL FAMILIES IN IGBO LAND SHOULD DE-LIST BEAF FROM THEIR MENU
… There shall be no more use of Fulani Cows for any ceremony like Burials, Funerals, Weddings, Marriages, and Thanksgiving Celebrations etc.…
… He who kills his customers, will no longer expect patronage, as he has killed his market...”
Come to think of it how come we buy their Onion, Potatoes, yam, Tomatoes, and many more from their unharrassed land in the north as their farm yield, then they come with their cattle to our land destroy our crops, put us in debt, kill our kits and kin and finally sell their same Cows to us for slaughter at the burial of their victims? It does not make any sense! The madness must stop.
Again I hear that the president has given matching order to the security operatives in the country to fish out any or every of the culprits involved the Enugu, Agatu and other similar killings. I am certain that this is even a tall order because evidence abound that no record of arrests and proper prosecution exists to date hence the impunity.
It is simply an insult to my sense of being that I continue to patronize my enemy. It does not make any common sense that in consideration of the comparative advantage in business, we buy their produce and finally Cow meat from our northern trade partner. They transports these products to all the markets in the south and rear their Cows uninhibited, and never molested and then they takes their profit home. We grow our Cassava, Yam, Okra, Melon, Vegetables and
fruits etc. which we ought to earn our profit on. But our supposed partners in trade sends their Cow to ravage our crops, impoverish us and reduce us to debt, and when we ask why we are raided and killed at night while in our sleep! We are then expected to buy their Cow from the killer for the burial ceremony of his victim! It does not add up.
I will not do that. Personally, like the Ohaneze Ndigbo, I have taken my stand, I do not know about you. Cow Beef will exit my meat effective immediately to avenge the death of my cousin a permanent secretary in Delta state who was needlessly killed by Herdsmen at Ogume in 2012. You may not join me in this. But there is penalty for both of us. If you do not join me now, I will not be at the burial to morn with you because you are an associate killer of your friends and relations by encouraging the sales and rearing of Cows in Delta state.
It is high time government takes the citizenry seriously in this matters of great concern. If the cattle herdsmen are free to, not only carry and shoot indiscriminately without sanction, I have every right to defend my territory by any means possible.
VANGUARD May 5, 2016 states in its front page that: “SPURRED by the divergent comments trailing the Fulani herdsmen attacks in communities across Nigeria, senators from the North, under the aegis of Northern Sentor’s yesterday warned governors, leaders and community heads in the country to desist from making inflammatory statements that could further over heat the polity they also warned that there would be no Nigeria, if other parts of the country asked Fulani herdsmen to leave their communities and states…” It is absurd that at this point in time, rather than thinker what mode of appeasement would be appropriate for the affected states and communities, these thoughtless senators are deploying threat! It is a shame! (This is a repost due to the current waves and frequency of clashes and killings. This article has been published widely four years ago)
Mike Akpati writes from Porthacourt SKYPE:saimatis