Saturday 19th August, 2017
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The Fulani Republic of Nigeria? ..

The Fulani Republic of Nigeria? ..

Events relating to the activities of Fulani herdsmen across the length and breadth of the country have stretched my pa­triotic fibre to its limits and Ham­let-like begin to wonder whether I am still a Nigerian or living in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The murderous activities of the Fula­ni herdsmen in Kaduna, Benue, Cross River, Enugu, Plateau and my dear Delta State are putting to test the security agenda of the Bu­hari administration. Whether the indifferent and docile attitude of the government springs from the reality that the nation helmsman is a Fulani and that he is also owner of cattle are subjects to conjecture. But the plea here is that the gov­ernment should not make some of us think especially in the south that there are two sets of Nigeri­ans – the citizens and the subjects. The image of the Fulani Republic of Nigeria staggers imagination.
Today the Fulani herdsmen according to the Global Terror­ism Database rank fourth among terrorists groups and that Boko Haram is a shade ahead the Fulani herdsmen in the areas of bloodlet­ting and senseless killing of inno­cent men and women. It is rath­er unfortunate that these orgies of killing by the herdsmen have not attracted any strong response from the federal government. Even the kidnapping of Olu Falae, a for­mer secretary to the federal gov­ernment and a former presiden­tial candidate could not change the mindset of those who are tempo­rarily holding the reins of power at Aso Rock. But I know that south­erners cannot go to the north and humiliate a northern of the stat­ure of Olu Falae and go scot free. These issues, the executive and the legislative arms of government at the federal level are treating with levity. The Buhari administra­tion should act fast before Fula­ni herdsmen compete for infamy and brutality with IS of the world.
I know that animal husband­ry is an occupation and those who have cows should establish ranch­es for them and that some states can even carve out areas as grazing reserves. All these things are not done and the supporters of Fulani herdsmen would tell us that there is freedom of movement. The con­stitutional provision of freedom of movement should not be equated with the destruction of farm prod­ucts, the raping of women and the unprovoked killing of people. Even more outlandish was the stance of a certain northern governor that some Fulani herdsmen were paid to stop their murderous activities. If we are not living in the Fulani republic, such a governor should be brought to justice by encour­aging Fulani herdsmen to kill in­nocent Nigerians and pay them for doing just that.
Another unfortunate stance of a prominent northern figure, this time, a traditional ruler, was that these Fulani herdsmen are not Ni­gerians. This is a very beautiful line of argument. If these murderous Fulani people are not Nigerians, what are the security forces and allied forces doing to bring them to justice? There are too many lies, half truth and excuses as far as the murderous activities of these Fu­lani herdsmen are concerned and these are the issues giving the agi­tators for Biafra and other separa­tists enough manure for their po­sitions.
While the governor of Enugu state could take solace in weeping, the Ekiti state governor had taken a legal and legislative position by enacting law against unauthorized grazing. The Ekiti governor should be commended but the issue is re­ally beyond him. It needs a federal might to solve it once and for all.
For a leader who promised to do justice to all manners of per­sons, the stance of President Mu­hammadu Buhari is an unfor­tunate disappointment. I was a strong supporter of Buhari before and after the presidential elec­tions. I used my pen to push his policies. But today I am sorely dis­appointed in his handling of the Fulani herdsmen menace. I appre­ciate his fight against corruption and the defeat of Boko Haram. If the president and commander- in- chief of the nation can use half of that energy, the Fulani herdsmen shall be brought under the rule of law.
It is a common knowledge that the Fulani herdsmen are well armed and some of them bearing AK 47, yet other Nigerians with double barrel guns are arrest­ed for not getting license. It thus translates to mean that the Fulani herdsmen are special breed of peo­ple and that they are above the law.
Oweh, a journalist writes from Asaba, Delta State.

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