The herdsmen from hell

Fulani-Herdsmen“Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better and the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most that has made it possible for evil to triumph”– His Royal Majesty Haile Selassie 1, Emperor of Ethiopia.

IF there was ever a time to remember the words of Haile Selassie and speak out against evil, this is it, with the abduction of the elder statesman and June 12 struggle hero, Chief Olu Falae, from his home by a group of Fulani herdsmen in south western Nigeria. We thank God and commend the efforts of the Inspector-General of Police that Chief Falae was returned home safely after a harrowing three days. Given his status in Yoruba land, had this not been so, there would have been cataclysmic consequences for the unity of our country.

It is because we wish to avoid such a scenario that it is important that we get these marauders and vandals out of our territory as quickly as possible. This is especially so given the fact that, by Falae’s testimony, it is clear that the Fulani herdsmen that abducted him were working hand in hand with Boko Haram.

These herdsmen have become the pests of our nation. They are like the east African tsetse fly: wherever they go, they suck the life blood out of their hosts and, like the locust, they destroy everything in their path. They are like leeches: they indulge in a parasitic mode of nutrition and they suck the blood of the carcass until their victim is left for dead.

Anyone that doubts this should ask the people of the North Central zone what they have been suffering in the hands of these vagabonds and vagrants for the last 50 years. This is especially so in Plateau, Benue, Niger, Kwara, Nassarawa, Taraba and Adamawa states.

Yet, up until 20 years ago, this was essentially a northern problem and it did not affect the south. Sadly, it has now become a national plague that knows no boundaries and whose poison threatens to consume us all.

In the last few years, the Fulani herdsmen have attacked, ravaged and pillaged thousands of innocent people in the South-South, the South-East and the South-West zones of our country.

We recall how, after a violent clash between them and some Yoruba farmers in Oyo State in 2000, General Buhari (as he then was) led a strong delegation of northern leaders to see the late Governor of Oyo State, Governor Lam Adeshina.

The abduction of Falae may well have brought things to a head because today virtually every self-respecting Yoruba man is calling for strong resistance to these alien cattle-rearers whose criminal activities have led to nothing but blood, tears and carnage. If the government refuses to stop them, some communities may end up doing so themselves.

Yet, a more sinister dimension to this problem is best illustrated by the following question. Can there be any truth in the assertion that the Fulani herdsmen are nothing less than the vanguard and covert armed wing of the Fulani ruling class which has managed to infiltrate the south under the ingenious guise of selling cows?

Are they sleeper cells of a much bigger army and a much wider cause? Are they, as Falae has suggested, working hand in hand with Boko Haram? If a major conflict were to arise, would those sleeper cells be activated and would they commence the wholesale slaughter of the indigenous population in their host states? As painful as it may appear, these are questions that we must ask.

The fact that the herdsmen demanded for a N100 million ransom from Falae speaks volumes. What do mere cattle-rearers want with N100 million?  Even more instructive is the fact that when they were offered N2 million, they responded by saying that that amount would not be enough for Boko Haram.

Given all this, it is clear to me that we must begin to look at the wider picture. We must accept the ugly reality that there may be more to all this than meets the eye. Up until the time of writing this piece, not one of Falae’s captors has been apprehended by the police and they seem to have vanished into thin air. One wonders what transpired. Were they granted amnesty or are they ghosts?

Can there be any truth in the suggestion that there was some kind of official collusion in the abduction? Was it an attempt to put Falae, and by extension the Yoruba, in their place for vigorously supporting the idea of a national conference? Is it an attempt to intimidate those from the South-West that opposed President Buhari in the 2015 presidential elections?

Afenifere, the leading socio-cultural group of the South-West of which Falae is a leading member, and the Yoruba people generally have a way of rising to the occasion when they are threatened, cheated or persecuted. History proves that.

Another curious twist to the tale is the fact that it took the government two days to make any formal announcement on Falae’s abduction and just the day after they finally did so, the elder statesman was suddenly released.

The question is this: who is pulling the strings from behind the scenes and who is attempting to test our resolve and test the waters? One thing remains clear. The days of killing people with impunity and stripping them of their lands and possessions are long over.

Permit me to conclude this intervention with an interesting and relevant contribution from the famous British historian, writer and educationalist, Dr. T.R. Batten. He wrote:

“The Fulani were at their most influential in Gobir. Then a dispute broke out between their Imam, Usman Dan Fodiyo and Sarkin Gobir Yunfa. The Fulani rallied behind their leader who encouraged them to defy their Hausa Chief. He began a jihad and fighting broke out. Thus the Fulani seized the country by force against the will of those who lived there. The enmity had nothing to do with religion for among those who fought (against the Fulani) were many Muslims. It was about the Fulani’s wish to seize power from the Hausas.”

It follows that the herdsmen and those that they represent conquer by infiltration, assimilation and guile. Those that doubt this should find out what became of the ancient Hausa kingdoms. May God deliver us from the vagabonds and vagrants in our midst.

• Chief Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation.

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  • Musa Ahmed

    This is senseless, in fact you are lunatic. Do you mean that there is no yoruba or Igbo or igala, hausa or etc armed robbers, kidnappers, criminals. The fact that you heard of kidnappers suspected to be fulani or boko haram or whatever. You started making noise as if the world has come to an end. You are a treat to the unity of this country. Instead of helping the security agencies with reasonable ways of arresting this criminals, you are trying to instigate tribal crises to worsen the situation. In fact, The DSS or IGP suppose arrested you. Every reasonable yoruba knows that boko haram, armed robbers, kidnapping, and corrupt politicians like you are the problems of Nigeria today and the system will soon deal with them by the grace of God.

    • Wise Head

      Go and take a seat. You should better call your brothers to order. When people become tired of these attacks and start retaliating, it may be disastrous to your people.

      • Chukwuka Okoroafor

        I understand and agree with your position. However, Musa also has a point. Femi Kayode is one of those who are trying to foment crisis in Nigeria. He did this against the Igbos in 2013 over the deportations. So as much as Musa should also criticize the herdsmen, Femi Kayode has a record of trying to foment crisis. After all, people are asking questions about how he got acquitted for his money laundering charges.

        • Chukwuka Okoroafor

          I would implore you to read the article titled “Lopsided Appointment: North-East youths disown Shettima over comments” and see what a man by the name of Alhaji Abubakar Kyari said. You sound just like Kyari in this post.

          • Musa Ahmed

            Thank God, the kidnapper are arrested. So what are they referred to, in the court of law? the truth is they are criminals, armed robber, independent of their tribe. So really, FFk in his capacity as a former…….etc suppose to behave as an elder state man, make matured and construct criticism, particularly to redirect the present government retrace its steps when a wrong step is taken for the benefit of our country. Some comments above sounds as it is from those who hate the unity of this country, i better reserve my comment about them.

    • kologba278

      May Allah cover Fani Kayode with his blessings and long life! the Hausa Fulani in their covert Jihad have a very long history of wanton destruction of lives and property in Nigeria.The north is on its knees now because of this ungodly people !go to Plateau and Nassarawa states and see the extent of mass murder and destruction of wealth!

    • omo56

      And how many of the yoruba, ibo, igala robbers are rearing cattle and armed with AK 47?

    • David

      Your article is as defect as you are in thought and action. Yes, other tribes are involved in kidnapping but in their own region. Or you still believe in your attitude of born to rule? How many times has the igbo or Yoruba kidnapped in the north? And maybe you are not aware, that your boys the herdmen are equally killing, kidnapping and raping women in kogi state too. Farmers crops are eaten up daily, farmers are affraid to go about their daily activities. And not only that, they are involve in robbery attacks between kabba and Aiyetoro nearly every night. And you still have the audacity to write this animalistic comment. We have resorted to self help now since the authority have decided to play the lame duck role.

  • kologba278

    May Allah cover Fani Kayode with his blessings and long life! the Hausa Fulani in their covert Jihad have a very long history of wanton destruction of lives and property in Nigeria.The north is on its knees now because of this ungodly people ! Fani told the truth and nothing but the truth ! God bless him!

  • New Nigerian

    LOL…Fani Kayode, keep stretching words to fit your warped view of the world. You make for a good stand up comedian, you just need to put on Baba-Sala glasses like Fayose and bingo!

    In every drama is some lessons. The lesson we take from your latest sketch and the kidnapping drama of respected Chief is -Nigerian Police has to be reformed starting from Messrs. Okiro and Arase downwards …we are still waiting for the Nigerian Police Force, which is still in the image of the PDPlutocrats that we voted out massively, to be given the same cleansing treatment the armed forces have received and remade into a befitting organization for the change revolution. As things are, it is still Jonathanomics/PDPlutonomics NPF

    • omo56

      Just remember a dead clock is right twice a day and I pray that the clock may never be right for the Fulani to invade to invade your area

      Fulani herdsmen are menace to the country regardless of the views of Fani Kayode

  • sly

    The solution to this menace by the Fulani’s herdsmen may not come by sounding the war drum, as did here by Fani Kayode. Good that the writer has highlighted the evil of these herdsmen. Just last month in my village Ubiaja in Esan south East, Edo State, the same Fulani’s herdsmen, laid an ambushment on the road and kidnapped four young menn including my eldest brother’s son. They stole everything in the public transport they were in, released the women, and took away the four men. Fortunately they later released them after about six or less hours. They just added kidnapping to their evil. They had only be rapping women coming from the market and stopping vehicles to rob people’s property. Now they have added kidnapping to their nefarious activities. They steal farm produce and destroy people’s crops with their herds. They expert in local politics. At any given ceremony, say, Christmas, they give cow gift to the village heads and top politicians to silence them. I think there should be law to restrict nomadic herds grazing?? If we say we don’t need them, how do we find meat to eat. The various abattoirs would be empty. We just need laws to restrict their movement.

  • omo56

    The modern day Afonjas in the bodies of Yoruba South West APC leaders once again sold us to the Fulani

  • Garden-City Boy

    Thank you Guardian for blocking my post. Shame on you for lacking the spine to guarantee free speech.

  • Ify Onabu

    Can someone explain to our people why Fulani herdsmen carry about AK 47 rifles? Is that the modern form of cattle- rearing?