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Commander-In-Chief, Tackle These Cows




By Felix Oboagwina

When Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of then Afenifere Leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, was killed by suspected Fulani terrorists masquerading as herdsmen around Ore, Ondo State, in July 2019, Tinubu turned up at the home of the bereaved Elderly Statesman in Akure, the capital. As Tinubu made to leave the old man’s residence, journalists surrounded him and asked his opinion about the Fulani herdsmen as a growing security threat. Offhandedly, the former Lagos State Governor responded: “Where are the cows?”

It would have been a valid question except for its tragic naivety or patronising sarcasm. Although violence by Fulani herdsmen had become commonplace in rural Nigeria, several among them have embraced highway kidnapping as a full-time or part-time business. They need AK-47s, not just cows.

Earlier, in the same Ondo State, Chief Olu Falae’s farm suffered repeated attacks from 2015, up to 2021. Herdsmen invaded his sprawling farm with their cows and dared him to do his worst. They killed his security guard one day. Ultimately, the invaders kidnapped the former Minister of Finance himself. Such attacks have not ceased. Officially, they are tagged, “farmers-herders” clashes, even when the realities prove otherwise. Itinerant herdsmen brazenly invade natives’ farms, kill unarmed farmers and rape women.

One Black week this January 2024, three Yoruba Obas, kings in Ekiti State and Kwara State, lost their lives in attacks by suspected Fulani terrorists.

Around the same period, villagers in Ondo State fled their homes, after nonstop attacks from Fulani terrorists, who combine kidnapping, raping, looting and killing with their nefarious pastime of destroying crops and hectares and kilometres upon kilometres of farmlands. One study says these beasts slew over 4,000 South-West farmers since 2015. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data, Nigeria since 2005 has lost some 8,343 persons to such unprovoked molestations.

Just this week, over 35 Benue people were killed cold-bloodedly (AGAIN!) in their homes by these animals. That is overlooking the over 100 they slaughtered in Plateau last Christmas Eve.

As a counterforce against such invasions, governors in the six South-West states formed the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed “Amotekun” in January 2020. The South-East formed Ebubeagu. Benue formed the Community Volunteer Guards. There also emerged the Edo State Joint Vigilance Network. However, such initiatives have proved incapable of matching the firepower of these foreign non-state actors. The Muhammadu Buhari regime particularly had a soft spot for these criminals. Buhari is Fulani. No sooner were they arrested than orders would “come from above” for their prompt release. Furthermore, natives marshalling resistance against the invaders and their cows found themselves locked up, attacked and even killed by the DSS, Police and Army. Refer to Sunday Igboho’s troubles. Even Aso Rock spokesmen turned into their mouthpiece in those days.

Ancient Fulani irredentism drives much of this violence. These foreign Fulani feed on the oft-stated passion of Fulani hegemonists to rule the Nigerian space from the-Sahara-Desert-to-the-Atlantic-Ocean, even when the tribe constitutes a proven minority among Nigeria’s 220 million population and over 370 tribes. These other races rarely ever initiate violence against the Fulani. So what propels the deathly hostility the Fulani throw against their otherwise peaceful neighbours? Simple, the Nigerian Fulani courts the foreign Fulani in order to enjoy the advantage of numbers.

Ironically, however, the boomerang effect has set in and the Nigerian Fulani has himself turned into a victim –raped, kidnapped, displaced, harassed and killed by his well-armed foreign Fulani cousin. What should fetch the native Fulani advantage currently constitutes an albatross. In fact, the Nigerian Fulani are doubly jeopardised. They are harangued by the armed foreign Fulani and as well by Nigerian victims seeking reprisals over the violence of the foreign Fulani.

The Fulani empire illusion has no place in the light of modern civilisation. The Fulani must bury this far-fetched hallucination. For peace to reign, their chauvinistic mission of expansionism must be buried. In its place should spring a harmonious Nigeria nationalism dedicated to accommodating every tribe and tongue within a nation where no man is oppressed.

To the Commander-in-Chief: Government derives its raison d’etre on the provision of security, as captured in the Constitution’s Section 14(1)(b). Inter alia, it says, “…the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.” Kinetic-and-non-kinetic, carrot-and-stick approaches must be applied to fulfil this responsibility. Thus, the invaders’ exit can be procured by incentives. Otherwise, do-or-die force must be applied. All stratagems must be on the table if the Tinubu government must the political will to stop the genocidal ethnic-cleansing.

Currently Fulani-infested Agatu in Benue State must revert to the displaced Agatu natives. So must all the lands and communities currently occupied by non-Nigerian foreigners –be they Fulani, Berbers, Arabs, Nigeriens, Islamists or Libyans. Armed non-natives must be served with quit notice, exit deadline and a retreat timetable. Bonafide Nigerians currently living in IDP camps must return to their homelands and resume farming from Benue to Plateau to Niger to Adamawa to Zamfara to Yobe to Borno to Ekiti to Osun to Ogun to Enugu to Delta to Edo.

In each of the war theatres, brigade commanders should get a shape-up-or-ship-out order. Commanders who cannot displace invading strangers should be relieved of their posts and replaced with others, capable of leading the last-ditch charge. All office-comfy Generals should be pushed out to the war field. Let them taste the bitter heat of war; only then will they empathise with the foot-soldiers who have had to endure and suffer all these years of prolonged insurgency. It is time we bring back home our war-weary boys.

Enough is enough of the greed that fuels this insurgency that has become some Army Generals’ and security chiefs’ ATM and cash-cow. Their greed has led to unnecessary slaughtering of the ill-equipped, ill-motivated boys at the warfront in an unduly long-drawn insurgency. Didn’t General Sani Abacha say that any insurgency lasting beyond 24 hours is fuelled by the authorities? How long has this one lasted?

If BAT had queried “where are the cows” to sustain himself in the good books of apostles of Fulani hegemony like Muhammadu Buhari and Nasir El-Rufai, fate has brought him into office of Commander-in-Chief to do right by all Nigerians. Owo omode ti te’ku ida bayi o. Tinubu must wield the sword to protect Nigerian citizens and restore peace to the land. He must bridle unbridled impunity fast.

These marauders and murderers cannot be regarded as Nigerians. They are aliens. Foreigners. These are the outside vermin that the in-house vermin invited to raid the barnyard. But these strangers now pose a danger to not only the barnyard but to their cousin inviters. They must be pushed back to whatever hellhole they crept out from. These killer foreign spoilsports must leave us to resuscitate the age-old camaraderie we have always enjoyed with our bonafide Nigerian Fulani neighbours, business partners, in-laws, associates and the jovial cow herders we grew up to know.

All vital West African, African and Universal protocols should be invoked to compel these foreign raiders’ parent countries to come and take their citizens back home. A cut-off date should be set. Following D-Day, any undocumented foreign Fulani, Berber, Arab, Libyan, Nigerien or Islamist should be regarded as persona non grata. Any of them found with guns and AK-47 should be shot on sight. They should thenceforth be regarded as “saara,” “sadakah,” sacrifices and collateral damages, expendable in the quest to restore Nigerian peace. This new Commander-in-Chief must back up the governors in banning open grazing, while encouraging ranching controlled by the locals. Secondly, everyone living in the forests must leave, as the governors have demanded. Additionally, government should invest in camera-equipped drones and other armed unmanned aerial vehicles to target these non-state kidnappers and killers.

Except that ruminant cows will feel insulted to share their nomenclature with these murderous beasts, these killers are the cows. And they must be tackled, Commander-In-Chief.


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