Between Herdsmen’s Terrorism And Fulani Radio

By Casmir Igbokwe

I was moved to tears. And the reason was the account of a Nigerian woman in Diaspora who was on a visit to Nigeria with her husband and nine-year-old daughter. According to the story, which has gone viral, some gunmen suspected to be Fulani kidnapped them on their way to Ibadan via Akure-Ilesa Road. The five of them in the vehicle faced traumatic experiences for six days in the hands of the kidnappers, who appeared to be well organised and operating different camps. At a point, the husband was asked to choose between his wife, daughter and himself who would face the pangs of rape. The whole story was like a horror film. After their release, the family bid goodbye to Nigeria and vowed that neither they nor their corpses would see Nigeria again.

There are many similar kidnapping incidents in different parts of the country. Some victims come out alive to tell their stories. Some others are not that lucky, as they die in the kidnappers’ den. Some part with huge sums of money to regain their freedom.

For farmers in different parts of the country, the terrorism is of a different hue. They engage in needless fight with herdsmen. In Plateau, Benue, Enugu and some other places, thousands of people have lost their lives to such fights. The killings are all over the place. Many Nigerians can feel it. People are alarmed, dejected and frustrated.

So far, President Muhammadu Buhari appears to have no clue on effective solutions. We keep hearing tough statements, which eventually turn out to be hot-air balloon.

Look at the reported plan to establish Fulani radio, for instance. The aim is to reach Fulani herdsmen wherever they may be. Why is the Federal Government not asking them to return their AK47 rifles? Why is it not talking about prosecuting them for crimes against humanity? And why is it not talking about sending troops to the forests, where they operate, to flush them out? It is pathetic.

As it is now, will the Federal Government blame other ethnic groups if they ask for a similar radio for their people? Would it be wrong for the Yoruba to ask for a Yoruba radio for Oodua People’s Congress (OPC)?  Would it be a bad idea to replace Python Dance with Igbo radio for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)? Or even Ijaw or Urhobo radio for Niger Delta Avengers? After all, what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.

The Federal Government may as well consider setting up a television station for better control of the herdsmen. Just as we have viewing centres for major football tournaments, we can have some viewing centres strategically located in areas where herdsmen usually move in droves. It will not only serve as a form of entertainment for them, it will also keep them busy and prevent them from engaging in kidnapping or in unnecessary fight with anybody.

We can even buy data for them. They have phones with which they communicate. Since social media is the reigning thing now, it will be wonderful if they can be on Facebook and Youtube without spending much on data. Can you imagine the effect seeing the photo of his cow on Instagram will have on an average herdsman? Or having a group chat on WhatsApp where they deliberate on an important message from the President or Miyetti Allah leaders?

It was the administrator of the defunct East Central State, Ukpabi Asika, who reportedly told people envious of his perceived successes then that “onye ube ya ruru ya racha” (let anybody whose pear is ripe enjoy it.) From his actions, President Muhammadu Buhari appears to be a good student of Asika. The Fulani pear is ripe now and he appears to be helping them to lick and enjoy it with relish. I know whoever is in power helps and makes things easy for his people. But do we need to do it at the grave expense of others? Do we need to do it to endanger the corporate existence of the country? Do we have to appoint heads of security agencies and other important agencies of government from a particular section of the country and even block our ears to complaints from well-meaning people?

Simply put, we are degenerating. Some people and groups are outraged at what is going on. A Yoruba group is calling for a referendum on self-determination. Some Niger Delta groups have threatened to declare a republic. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has raised his red flag over what he calls Fulanisation and Islamisation of the present regime. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has done the same thing. Even Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has lent his voice.  And we have continued to pretend that all is well.

I have not forgotten the IPOB. Last Thursday, members of this group caused a stir in the country. Even some parts of the world felt their agitation for the actualisation of Biafra. When I watched a video of some white people dancing with IPOB members in a foreign country and chanting Biafran solidarity songs, I wondered why the Federal Government has not thought of also establishing an Igbo radio to reach these agitators wherever they may be in the world.

Come to think of it, these IPOB members no longer hear any other language outside Biafra. In spite of intimidation, harassment, detention and killings by security agents, they remain undaunted in their quest for the sovereign state of Biafra.

Every May 30, they issue a sit-at-home order to honour their fallen heroes. This year’s was no exception. In different parts of the South-East such as Onitsha, Aba and Nnewi, people remained indoors in obedience to the order.

IPOB’s media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, boasted that if the level of solidarity with the direction and philosophy of IPOB was sustained, the feared Fulanisation agenda of Aso Rock would be successfully repelled.

Ours is gradually degenerating to a lawless society where might is right. In Nnewi, Anambra State, some misguided Biafran agitators reportedly attacked a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Festus Eziamaka, last week. Five people, according to media reports, were feared dead after the attack. Fr. Eziamaka’s crime was that he attended a morning mass that day, contrary to IPOB’s order. The parishioners under Eziamaka, who is the vicar of St. Jude’s Parish, Nnewi, could not stand and watch their priest manhandled. They challenged the attackers and fighting broke out. The reverend father himself was rushed to the hospital unconscious.

Let us stop deceiving ourselves. We cannot make any headway until we restructure this country. I don’t see Buhari doing it. But we cannot relent. We will continue to say the truth until liberation time.

 

Re: Ridiculous permutations for 2023 presidential race

Casmir, why the over-flogging of a non-existent issue? Amaechi can only speak about 2023 standard-bearer of his party, the APC. What happens in other parties is totally outside his control. Will PDP pick a South East candidate? Who says Atiku or Kwankwaso will not contest to be PDP candidate in 2023, even if APC picks a South East candidate? In a multi-party setting, every party works to win the next immediate election. No party will zone at the risk of losing the main elections. Was the Presidency ever zoned to Jonathan, or to the South-South?

– Chris Chibuko, +2347016864363

May I refer to your article, “Ridiculous permutations for 2023 presidential race”, and to state that Ndigbo were schemed out by Yoruba that lured us into declaring Biafra with a promise to declare Oduduwa Republic. The Yoruba even coined the word Naira, which a school of thought interpreted as “Never Allow Igbo Rule Again”. We are architects of our problems because the Igboman can marginalise another Igboman more than what other tribes can do to us. Recall that Ekwueme was about to defeat OBJ during PDP primary before it was alleged that Jim Nwobodo dislodged him because of old issues they had between 1979 and ’83.

– Mr. Chinedu Ekwuno (JP), 08063730644

Those who started early politics for 2023 general election are not wishing Nigeria well. It is total distraction to this new government. INEC should suspend any politician who begins early campaign for 2023 elections.

– Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

Hi. Your critical analysis about the south-easterner ruling the country is in order because the Igbo are one of the major tribes in Nigeria and they have paid their dues. However, there’s a missing point. Nobody gives you political power on a platter of gold, especially in our country; you must fight for it as a group, or as an individual. Therefore, I implore you to educate the political gladiators from the South-East to form a common front and fight the battle head-long. Rhetoric cannot and sympathy sentiment cannot produce an Igbo President; rather, form an alliance and they shall overcome whatever the stumbling block. But, in fairness, equity and justice, the Igbo deserve to rule the country.

– Babayemisi, 07011770768  

  • First published in the Daily Sun of Monday, June 3, 2019.

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