Countering Fallacious Expansionist Arguments
Without a shadow of doubt, the general insecurity plaguing the Nigeria countryside is a well-packaged one with dark, ulterior motives. The packagers of Nigeria’s insecurity of course are Fulani expansionists in government whose aim is to terrorize innocent Nigerians into vassalage and perpetual domination.
Well-armed, mostly non-Nigerian Fulani mercenaries have been allowed to fan out into the Nigerian countryside, indiscriminately causing mayhem and wreaking havoc, with tacit government approval or support. A government that is quick to label peacefully protesting IPOB members and provoked Shiite adherents as terrorists turns mute in the face of a seemingly well-organized Fulani terrorists’ invasion.
The packaged insecurity being experienced by Nigerians is reminiscent of the Igbo proverb which states that we know who to blame when confronted by an invasion of bush rats. For it is the house rats that give the bush rats the home blueprints as well as the precise location of the food pantry.
Not all Nigerian Fulani are expansionists of course, but all expansionists in Nigeria who harbor the objective of perpetually vassalizing their neighbors are Fulani. As primitive, shameful and as backward as it may sound, the sole object of contention with which the Fulani expansionists have been blackmailing other Nigerians into creating permanent settlements for them within their ancestral territories, is land for cattle grazing.
The illogicality of the expansionist Fulani covetous fixation with other ethnicities ancestral lands has been repeatedly demonstrated again and again. Fulani expansionist ambitions is betrayed by the fact that the far north of Nigeria where they predominantly reside has by far the greatest landmass in the country, is reputedly the food basket of the nation and could comfortably accommodate all Fulani owned cattle.
Expansionist Fulani counter these reasonable solutions to their self-imposed and self-serving cattle grazing dilemma by making a few irrational counter-arguments of their own. Let us consider and dispatch these deceptive, expansionist counter-arguments one by one.
Firstly, the Fulani expansionists argue that Nigerian citizens should be able to live anywhere of their choice. No one disputes this fact, with the proviso that this liberty must not come at the expense of any person or the society at large. In deed every Nigerian including the Fulani should be able to live anywhere and feel safe and secure.
Note that until recently when Fulani expansionists changed their strategy and began to instigate well-armed, non-Nigerian Fulani mercenaries to terrorize other parts of the nation instead, no Southerner or Christian residing in the far north has ever felt safe, because violent riots could break out at any time. That feeling of insecurity of non-indigenes in the Far North, although minimized due to a tactical change of the expansionists’ vassalizing strategy, as earlier noted, still subsists to some extent till this day.
However, regarding this expansionist argument of guaranteed liberty to domicile anywhere, note that this freedom is constitutionally granted to persons as individuals seeking to make a home elsewhere and not to groups of people seeking to create a new homeland or permanent settlement. There is a fundamental difference between making a home and creating a new homeland. The former is done by distinct persons as individuals, the latter is done by people as a group. Regardless of their personal occupations, Nigerian indigenous ethnicities are not opposed to the Fulani, making a home in their territories as individuals, as other Nigerians do elsewhere, provided they are law abiding. They are however vehemently opposed to, and totally reject the creation of new Fulani homelands whether by government fiat or otherwise on their ancestral lands.
Secondly, Fulani expansionists in power argue that the nation has neglected the Fulani herdsmen since independence. No one disputes this observation to the extent that the nation has equally neglected a vast majority of Nigerians regardless of ethnic origin. In fact, there are countless others who have been more neglected by the nation than the Fulani herdsmen. These include the families of the innocent victims of the various bloody and violent riots that have plagued the Northern parts of this country over the years.
Other victims of government neglect include farmers whose lands and sources of livelihood have been vandalized by Fulani herdsmen as well as peasant victims of herdsmen attacks. But think of it. Who must bear the greater blame for this neglect? Should it not be the Fulani elite who have governed this country more than any other ethnicity? You be the judge.
Thirdly the Fulani expansionists argue that the Federal Government must retrieve land areas across the country designated as grazing reserves by the British colonial masters and reserve such areas for herdsmen’s use. The crucial question is this. Did the colonial masters consult the various ethnicities in Nigeria and get their consent, approval and permission before such areas were mapped out and designated as grazing reserves? Or was it done by colonial fiat?
If the areas were so designated without the input and consent of the rightful ancestral land owners, then with the granting of independence, the cessation of colonization and the departure of the British, the rightful native owners have the right to be consulted before their lands are put to any use.
As a best practice procedure, stakeholders’ input is universally recognized as a vital aspect of developmental planning across the globe. The rightful owners’ input and consent must be secured before the old colonialist grazing reserves plans are resurrected in an independent, democratic society.
If the present Federal Government is not a colonizing government, should the matter of grazing lands not be presented to the various ethnicities, and not just to the typically suborned National Assembly members, for their opinion, input and consent?
Those ethnicities that consent to perpetually cede part of their ancestral lands for grazing reserves should be allowed to do so while those that do not should not be forced to comply. We are in a democracy after all, where stakeholder input is vital and not just the opinions of members of the National Assembly.
The question must be asked whether the Fulani expansionists running the present Federal Government, are the successors of the British Colonialists? If the Muhammadu Buhari Administration is indeed a colonial administration who have substituted British interests with Fulani interests, what should deny the various ethnicities in Nigeria the right to agitate for true independence?
If the founding fathers of Nigeria could agitate for independence from the British colonialists, without the heavens falling, why should present day Nigerians not be able to agitate for true independence from colonizing, expansionist Fulani without packaged insecurity?
The fourth expansionist argument is that the Federal Government’s abiding interest in the issue of land for grazing is because of its interest in securing the protein requirements of the nation. Without prejudice to the responses articulated above with respect to the issue of grazing reserves, cattle is not the only source of protein in Nigerians’ diet. Other sources of protein include fish, poultry, goat, pig, sheep etc. All of which also need land for grazing.
Why should government be preoccupied with providing land for the grazing of a specific form of animal protein? Since this is a democracy, those ethnicities and states that elect after due consultation to set aside lands for grazing ought to make such lands open to all forms of grazing animals including goats, sheep, pigs, fish farms etc. except the local indigenes for cultural, religious or social reasons, decide to permit only specific types of grazing animals. Such wishes and limitations according to peculiar customs and choices should naturally be respected.
The fifth rather chilling argument advanced by Fulani expansionists or their useful idiots is that Nigerians should learn to accommodate their countrymen, with the implication that otherwise they would be forced to choose between their lands or their lives. The response to this barely concealed expansionist threat is to ask the expansionists how accommodating they were of their fellow countrymen when they set about massacring them in the North because some Danish newspaper published a cartoon of the Islamic Prophet?
Once bitten, twice shy. Only foolish ethnicities would allow acclaimed and unrepentant insurrectionists to create new homelands at proximity on their own ancestral lands.
All said and done, the bottom line is that animal husbandry remains a private business and it ought to be treated as such. Ostensibly for the sake of cattle but in truth for the sake of their ancestral lands and future vassalage, Nigerians have not known peace since the present Administration of Muhammadu Buhari assumed office.
Therefore, the indigenous ethnicities in Nigeria must remain alert and sensitize their representatives in the National Assembly of their implacable opposition to any form of expansionism, including the expansion of the Federal Government’s authority over their sovereign rights. These inalienable sovereign rights include rights over their ancestral lands, ancestral waterways, culture, customs, traditions, religion, free speech, rights of association etc.
Since evil doers never sleep but are always scheming and plotting to rob others of their rights and liberties, the wise should sleep with one eye open, even while trusting in God’s providence. For truly as they say, heaven helps those, who help themselves.