By Michael West
It annoys me whenever I see screaming headlines and fearful posts regarding the appearance of Fulani herdsmen in large number in any part of the southern states. It is always presented as an omen of imminent war which it may actually be. But will you fold your arms to be slaughtered by invaders and terrorists who prowl your space in an audacious and offensive manner? Until the invaders themselves begin to nurture fears about their own destruction and death, there won’t be peace.
I’m of the opinion that the appearance of herders does not necessarily indicate onslaughts on their host communities but recent events seem to put a lie to that unassuming thinking. Gone are the days when Fulani herdsmen were friendly and at peace with their host communities. It seems the suspected Fulanisation agenda has turned them (herdsmen) to advance parties of their warrior brothers whose preoccupation is to unleash genocidal attacks on their hosts in their land grabbing and expansionist misadventures. The Fulani of pre-2015 in the south are a lot different from those around now. Their Serikis are practically in contest for power and recognition with first class kings in the south, in particular, in the southwest. They want to command more attention and authority than the beaded-crown monarchs in whose territories they settled.
To worsen this scenario, our politicians are a bunch of spineless people who will rather pretend to support the invaders in the name of national unity and freedom of movement at the expense of peace and safety of their own people in order to pacify the Abuja potentate. This cannot be allowed to continue.
General Mohammadu Buhari (Rtd.) has said those duly elected to protect their people should do their job. The Houses of Assembly are available to legislate on arms procurement for the local, state and regional security agencies. Applying for arms license through the presidency or the Inspector General of Police by any governor is needless. Look into the statue book for the provision that empowers you to do so and solve the problem.
To be scared of your assailants in your territory is a defeatist attitude. As much as we should strive to avoid war, the fact remains that there are wars we must fight to actually achieve the much desired peace, mutual respect and absolute territorial control.
The days of these Fulani marauders are numbered. The resurgence of wanton killings in Zaramfara, Kaduna States and some parts of the core north in the last few days shows that total peace can not come through negotiation or offering incentives to criminals. The language they understand is superior counter violence. Failure to do that will keep our people perpetually in limbo of fear and trepidation. We should also recognise that no assailant wants to die. They are more fearful than you think. They think of their post-invasion life with fantasy which is why they unleash terror to scare, intimidate and destroy their targets.
Their tactics are simple to know:
i) They employ force by mass action to launch attacks.
ii) They rely on federal might through the security agencies for protection and defence as it has been witnessed whenever they are arrested or counter attacks took place.
iii) Under Buhari, they are covered, and because time is fast running out on their age-long agenda to overrun the south in conquest for full ownership of Nigeria, the onslaughts because escalated.
iv) Emboldened by the president that still believes in open grazing in 21st century, they are further energized to prosecute their mission and vision to conquer more territories for themselves.
Lasting solution to this madness include:
• Every community should fully arm their men, draw up timetable for day and night watches and vigilance.
• They should patrol farmlands and exterior part of their community in groups. Chase away encroaching herders from farmlands.
• Challenge mass movement of herders within your territory and mobilise to chase them away.
• Let Southerners that own cows start building ranches now to secure their cows, otherwise they may lose their animals in the possible hostility that may ensue if the herdsmen offer resistance.
• No community should go to sleep henceforth until Buhari quits in 2023 if Nigeria manages to survive the current turbulence.
• Community people should know that part of armed Fulani herdsmen pattern is to regroup and relaunch attacks over and over again. Benue State is a case study. They’re also in the habit of extending their violence to neighbouring communities. So, don’t relent until 2023.
Lastly, this war must be fought to earn lasting peace. Entertaining fear whenever Fulani herdsmen appear is wrong. Employing boldness, determination and strategy in confronting and defeating the assailants remain the surest way to lasting peace.
The police can’t do it alone. Apart from taking “orders from above” to release arrested Fulani terror suspects, harassing citizens who arrested Fulani kidnappers and assailants will further erode confidence in the people to report such cases to the police. This unpatriotic obedience to the “oga at the top” must stop if they do not want to encourage people taking laws into their hands.
Enough of spreading jittery and fearful posts on social media. Be ready to fight for your life, defend your people and your ancestral land. Since Nigeria is not working as we can all see, then, let’s support self-determination agitation for new nations to emerge. Those professing national unity know it is a mirage. The caliphate wants the status quo to remain and those pushing for restructuring are campaigning to deaf leadership. It is too late to rescue this sinking ship. Let’s look forward to a new world.
*© Michael West*
June 12, 2021