By Olayide Oluwafunmilayo Soaga
The late sage, Obafemi Awolowo may not be wrong afterall when, to qoute his words, he said: ”Nigeria is not a nation, it is a mere geographical expression. It is a marriage of strange bird fellows.”
December 16th, 2018, a militant group believed to be Fulani herdsmen attacked a village in Jena’a, killing 15 people in cold blood and left 24 others critically injured.
February 11th, 2019, Fulani gunsmen wrecked havoc on an Adara settlement named Ungwar Bardi in Kaduna and rendered 11 natives of Adara lifeless.
In January 2021, Fulani herdsmen violently attacked a rural settlement in Oyo state.
Attacks by Fulani herdsmen on communities belonging to other Nigerian ethnicities is currently gaining momentum as they seem to be waxing stronger with fresh attacks.
The Fulani tribe is the largest ethnicity in Sahel Savana with a population of about 20 million people. They are a semi-normadic group of cattle herders and communities who would travel vast distances along grazing routes in a bid to find pasture for their cattle to graze. The Fulanis originated from North Africa and conquered much of the Hausa territory in Northern Nigeria in the the Fulani Jihad led by Usman Dan Fodio in 1804. This wasn’t just a religious war as it seemed but a plot to attain hegemony which eventually turned out successful. The Fuanis are not only found in Northern parts of Nigeria but in Parts of Ghana, Ethiopia, Niger and some other Countries.
Centuries after the successful Jihad of 1804, Nigerians are living in an era of modern Fulani herdsmen parading with sophisticated ammunition unlike the herdsmen of the past who carried sticks. This generation of herdsmen do not only feed their herds but also provide pasture for their power thirty souls to feed upon by damaging farmlands, private properties, raping women and killing anybody who tries to get in their way.
These Fulani Herdsmen have also succeeded in forcefully hijacking settlement outside their territory. It appears the end to this menace is not in sight as the government is providing incentives for them by implementing policies in favor of these group instead of reprimanding them.
One of these policies is RUGA (Rural Grazing Area), an attempt by the Buhari led administration to resolve conflicts between Herdsmen and farmers by bestowing upon the Fulanis a portion of land in other states of the Federation. Is this a means of of attaining hegemony? Are the Fulanis trying to extend their domineering staff to the west and east? These are questions whose answers are pointing to the affirmative direction as a result of the current reports about fresh attacks of this sect.
How is it possible that these people who are noted for being slapped in the face by poverty are able to possess ammunition as sophisticated as those they possess? Some believe they are being backed up by godfathers in governmental posts who provide these and more for them although there hasn’t been any strong proof of this allegation or any politician linked to this treacherous act.
With the current violence incurred on the natives of Oyo settlements by these herdsmen coupled with the speech of the Miyetti Allah cattle breeders association Leader which states thus ”Fulani own all Nigerian lands, no one can remove us from Ondo”, Other States are left with no option but to be vigilant and protect their lands should in case their land becomes the next scene for the hegemonic tactic.
- Caveat: Opinion form in this article is solely that of the writer; it does not in anyway represent UCJ-UNILORIN on the issue therein. This article has been given publishing privilege in order to encourage acculturation of writing.