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10.05.2020 Opinion

Death And The King’s Herdsmen

By Iwelunmor Patrick
Death And The King’s Herdsmen
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The unrestrained and somewhat syndicated massacre being carried out by the Fulani Herdsmen across the country is gradually becoming a brand; a brand in the sense that, satanical agents now wish to deal with their enemies with doses of such brutal deaths. Even though one is not a staunch supporter of the Buhari government, it will not be proper to tow the line of political fanatics, who by virtue of being in the opposition, cast aspersions on the person and office of the president. I am not trained to dance to sponsored tunes and will never attempt to strangulate journalistic objectivity on the altar of partisan politics.

Truth be told, the arrogant mien of the Fulani herdsmen and the alleged inaction of the president, placed side by side, according to some observers, signal an ethnic camaraderie aimed at rubbishing the save-our-soul cries of those at the receiving end of the herdsmen’s reign of terror.

Though Mr President has always directed the security agencies to crush all forms of terror and insurgencies in the country, many see his directive as a deceptive gimmick to assuage frayed nerves, considering the recent utterances of some northern hypocrites who have warned state governors not to ask herdsmen to leave their states. They have even threatened the unity of Nigeria should any governor do otherwise.

Going by the scale of evidence against the herdsmen whose atrocious ways of killing are attracting global outrage, these northern hypocrites ought to realise that this is not the best of times to sound authoritarian. They should know that giving commands and conditions to those communities in which host herdsmen is tantamount to adding insult upon injury. Unless they are deliberately daring those communities or trying to trigger another civil war, they should call for a peaceful resolution to the matter. They must not be seen as acting out a script.

Shortly after the ignobly famous Nimbo massacre, a Fulani caller, during a radio programme, had said that his people will continue to kill as a reaction to the death of their cows. According to that caller, whenever one cow is killed, twenty lives must replace it.

That statement smacks of the highest level of arrogance and disrespect for human life. And with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association always coming out to say that herdsmen kill in self-defence, it appears the matter would require the intervention of the United Nations before lasting peace can be found.

Recently, some communities in Delta and Plateau States have come under serious attacks by Fulani herdsmen. The audacious manners in which these merchants of death dispense crude terror typifies the veneration of bestial tendencies in a world that is trying to elevate the thinking of humanity to innovative and problem-solving heights. Recent development across the country have shown that some of these marauders have transmuted into kidnappers.

One cannot safely travel from one state to the other in Nigeria of today without embarking on some life-saving intelligence gathering. Buses are being hijacked, driven into the grassy covers of thick bushes where passengers are profiled and calls for ransom payment made accordingly.

Some of the victims of such kidnapping sagas hardly come out alive. We have been inundated with unfortunate cases in which their victims were killed after ransoms were collected. Of course, not all Fulani herdsmen engage in such despicable acts.

The problem is that the number of bad eggs has dampened the perception of an average Fulani herdsman in the eyes of any right-thinking Nigerian. Whatever the case may be, the federal government must demonstrate its commitment to the protection of Nigerian lives, irrespective of status, religion, tribe or age.

The country belongs to all of us. No one was born to rule over the other. We all have equal chances of survival and self-actualisation. Hard work and the creative application of the intellect should form the basic fulcrum of our progression to positions of authority and power. Let us restructure our mind-sets and begin to think of what we can do individually and collectively to move our country ahead. Intellectual militancy, rather than the destruction of innocent lives and property, should be the driving force whenever there is dissent. Through this, the quality of our thoughts is enriched to compete with world standards.

Iwelunmor Patrick, a Public Relations and Media Practitioner, writes from Lagos.

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