I really made up my mind to keep my big mouth shut. I guess I opened this big mouth too wide for too long last year. I woke up one day and discovered I’d slept with my mouth open, and I was even drooling! Even in my sleep, I had not kept it shut. Could it be because, my whole world, including my dream world, had been consumed by this passion? I had even become a laughing stock. But more about that later. For now, let’s talk about what is the craze of the day.
Politics. Campaigns. Votes. PVCs. Candidates. Transformation. Change. Propaganda. Counter-propaganda. Lies. Postponement. Intrigues. More Lies. More Propaganda. Violence…
Oh! And lest I forget, Boko Haram! Yes, that’s been a hot topic for quite some years now, too. They still attract screaming headlines. But they have also worked hard to keep themselves in the news, and no one can deny them that. They so love the lights…
As all this excitement boils, there is a quiet danger sneaking around in our backyards. Deadlier than the dreaded Ebola virus, yet treated as harmless. An annoying distraction that is better ignored, else it is capable of denying our precious politicians their God-given right to rule. And it looks like this sneaky danger also prefers being ignored now as it needs the shadows to quietly grow into the monster that it really is.
I’m talking about the poor, weak, unfortunate and helpless Fulani Herdsmen and their hungry cows. So helpless that they cannot afford Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) so they just make do with AK 47 (automatic) riffles and, sometimes, a few machine guns and RPGs. So weak that they have never been able to overrun a military barracks so they make do with overrunning and wiping out whole communities of helpless crop farmers, burning down everything in sight, especially churches; killing both the young and the old, male and female; and taking over their ancestral farmlands. But what are a few thousands of farmers and villagers when there are still millions of Nigerians out there just waiting to vote some other VIPs to cart away trillions in foreign exchange? What are a few hundreds of thousands of acres of farmlands when there are oil wells to scheme and fight for?
And the cows? Poor, miserable and kwashiokored things. They hardly have any rich source of feeds except the miserable crops of the nuisance farming communities that are hardly enough for the millions of herds of cattle that must escape the deserts of Northern Nigeria and Northern African countries to find pasture in Nigeria, especially within the Middle Belt region. And no one should falsely accuse their cattle of contributing to the fast encroachment of the desert. It is Allah’s will, and should the cows not have eaten the grass that belonged to no man? Now, they must face South, and the Middle Belt region is full of the richest grass and freshest springs. After all, the grass and the springs are Allah’s free gifts and don’t really belong to the infidels that occupy the region. And nobody should insinuate that their cattle will soon cause desertification in the region, too. But what if it does? Then it must be Allah’s will, and they’d just keep moving down South towards the Atlantic. But, of course, all this is not news, so it’s needless to bore any one with such unexciting issues.
But one of the most important things now is the unprecedented peace being enjoyed by the ancestral crop farming communities of the nation, especially the Middle Belt States. They have never had it this good. Credit must go to the immediate past Inspector General of Nigeria who selflessly worked to sign peace pacts between invading Fulani Herdsmen and helpless farming communities.
These inhospitable crop farming communities happily agreed to welcome and live with as many Fulani herdsmen and their millions of herds of cattle as are willing to come and subsist on their farmlands. They even agreed to feed both the herdsmen and their cattle with the harvest of their back-breaking labors. After all, cows are an indispensable pillar of the Nigerian economy, and feeding them with the proceeds of their labors was the little they could joyfully contribute to their fatherland. They even bonded themselves with an oath that should they fail in this most important responsibility, the Inspector General of Police could deal with them ruthlessly.
Reluctantly, these Fulani Herdsmen agreed to accept this humble contribution of these farmers to National survival. They therefore agreed to merely keep their fingers over the triggers of their AK47s, just in case. Of course these Fulani Herdsmen never go back on their words. They have lived in peace with their subjugated vassals since then, and there is a lot of evidence of their keeping this sacred peace pact.
The farming and Christian populations of Kaduna, Taraba, Nassarawa, Benue, and Kogi states; even other states further south like Delta, Oyo and even Ogun can testify to the honor and integrity of these herdsmen since peace pacts were reached last year. Though they kept raping their women and girls, killing a few hundreds in the bushes, grazing down their farmlands, wiping out whole communities, robbing on the high ways and so much more, they have, never the less, exercised great restraint by refraining from wiping out all the population.
Even recently, the ancestral home of the Benue state governor was attacked by these herdsmen, but they magnanimously did not wipe out all of the governor’s kinsmen. This is a great show of deep respect for the person and office of the governor of the state. Agatu Local Government council has experienced the same kind of magnanimity from the Fulani. The Eggon people of Nassarawa are literally living witnesses, so also the Jukun and Tiv of Taraba and a few other tribes. A few weeks back, they even murdered my personal friend and colleague in cold blood. But of course, they graciously left his beautiful young widow and two sweet girls to mourn him. Definitely it would have been unfair not to leave someone behind to mourn him.
But, again, its needless to hype more on such a flimsy matter as the wiping out of a few thousands. It does not even qualify for criminal attention, much less crimes against humanity. In any case, hundreds of thousands of herds of cattle are making up for the depleting human population. The greatest concern would have been that their votes would be greatly missed during the elections this year. But this is no longer a matter to worry about. Now government has evolved a new policy to print PVCs for all the cows so they won’t be disenfranchised. I suppose that is one of the reasons why the election date was postponed in the first place. After all, in the last elections of 2011, one local government in Benue state is said to have created the Fulani Ward for the nomadic cow herders so they won’t be disenfranchised. So whatever is good for the herder must be good for the herd! Rights activists need not bother themselves about the burden of litigation anymore. The voting rights of these hungry cows is being taken care of already so no dead voter will be missed!
Now I’m almost doing it again. I am almost catching my big mouth open again. But this time, I know better. I am not going to mention again that the invading Fulani herdsmen were never disarmed in the face of the phony peace pacts they signed. I am not going to scream again that they were never dislodged from the ancestral farmlands they forcefully occupied. I am definitely not mentioning that the inhospitable farmers got what they deserved so why would anyone ever think of compensating them for the livelihoods they lost. Of course it is needless to talk about justice for the dead.
No. I won’t call on the authorities that be to consider a case against the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN). I am not asking anyone to join me in my campaign against the consumption of beef (?#?BoycottBeef) in sympathy with the communities under siege and occupation because of hungry cows. I won’t even discourage the government and people of my state from patronizing the same Fulani by buying their cows for their various celebrations, especially during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. I won’t even scream about the legislative attempts by Hajiya (Sen) Zainab Kure of Niger state and her allies to pull through a senate bill for the creation of a National Grazing Commission that would be empowered to forcefully appropriate any land of their choice from the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT. Why would I talk about the Technical Committee that was set up with the Minister of Agriculture as the chairman for the establishment of National Grazing Reserves?
I screamed last year in vain. Then I prophesied that these invaders would be back as gullible folks drank in the Nunu along with the peace. But why should anyone worry? After all, these are only illiterate and foolish herdsmen with hungry cows. They don’t know anything. We enjoy laughing at their stupidity. But it’s true. They are just foolish nomadic herders with hungry cows that pose no threat. They don’t have any ambition or long term plans. Ignorant folks like some of us are only noise-making alarmists. For now, all the herdsmen want is just some grass that no one really needs and a few springs of fresh water. And don’t forget: Voting rights for their hungry cows!
But I must remain quiet with my big mouth tightly shut. It’s only a bad dream. I hate it when I catch myself drooling!