There is an urgent
requirement to investigate
the circumstances, strategy,
tactics and ultimate objective
of the post – Pax Britannica
oligarchy drawn primarily
from among the descendants
or heirs of the 1804
Uthman dan Fodio jihadist
movement. It is necessary to
identify their motives among
which may be reasonably
presumed the foisting of the
movement’s ideology on
all the constituent parts of
modern Nigeria. To the extent
that the mindless attacks of
the Fulani herdsmen militia
are targeted at communities
that share dissimilar religioethnic
views with theirs; also
to the extent of the attacks’
deeply primordial nature
our investigation becomes
all the more important. A
disinterested outcome of
our investigation is likely to
reveal or locate the truth of
our search in the interstices
of history.
The indigenous people
of Nigeria never had to
engage the kind of hostile
or condescending external
forces which the Fulani
jihadists unleashed on them
in the 19th century. The
people’s social conduct had
been deeply marked by the
historical context of their
livelihood.
Their pre-European (or
even pre-jihadist) contact
fashioned systems of thought
and standards of action and
responsibility that were
neither confrontational nor
disruptive of the traditions
of mutual or fellow feeling,
of genteel conduct or of
suave disposition. “Undue
radicalism” or fundamental
departure from conventional
or known lifestyle, acceptable
conduct or activities was
alien to the people even
as life was predictable but
non-complacent. It is these
hapless communities that
were the un-sparing objects
of the scurrilous attacks
on them by the jihadists
of the 19th century. What
therefore we are witnessing
today is a rehash of the orgy
of blood-letting, killings
and destruction visited
on our people by their
un-invited guests whose
ancestral homeland is
ethnographically traced to
the Fouta Djallon highlands
(from whence, ironically, our
River Niger takes its source).
The employment of modern
supersonic warfare tools e.g.
AK 47, sub-machine guns,
grenades, fire or smoke bombs
and I.E.Ds has confirmed the
extant nature or condition of
the project conceived in the
twilight of the 18th century.
Even though the Fulani
jihad of 1804-1810 is widely regarded as the single most
important highlight in the
spread of Islam inNigeria,
the faith had penetrated
indigenous Hausa culture
before the jihad. Traditional
Hausa or Habe kings drew
their authority from a syncretic
blend of Islam and “pagan”
precepts. The jihad itself
reportedly arose, among other
reasons, from Fulani opposition
to the mixing of “pagan”
practices with the observance
of the tenets of the “true” faith
and not as between believers
against infidels. The jihadists
themselves subsequently
imbibed the culture and
language of their new subjects
and virtually all the previously
condemned Habe institutions
and practices found their
way back into the emirates as
formal practices. Thus Islam
has remained inseparable
from the indigenous Hausa
culture. Fulani imperialism or
expansionism or what some
have referred to as a thirst for
territorial aggrandizement or
economic expansion has been
canvassed as the main reason
for the jihad, in the first place.
Self-evidently, modern
Nigeriaevinces a fundamental
contradiction between the
political claims of Islam and the
secular desiderata of a multiethnic
or multi-religious state.
This contradiction manifests as
the Islamic religion’s reluctance
to recognise the distinction
between state and religion
even as it views politics and
all aspects of social life as a
dimension or extension only
of religious life. An undercurrent
of Islamic opposition to
a secular definition of Nigeria
is visibly observable and is
troubling indeed. The natural quest or desire of the people
comprised within the Nigerian
territory for order, restraint,
mutual respect, rationality, the
resolution or reconciliation of
conflicts when they arise etc,
is being rudely jolted by the
unprovoked malevolence of
a people that are suggested
to be insensitive to the mores,
traditions and customs of
their host communities. From
Oyo to Kwara, Ekiti, Enugu,
Plateau, Anambra, Taraba,
Adamawa, Edo, Delta, Kogi,
Kadunaand Benue states, it has
been a trail of blood, of deaths
and of agony. A bemused
nation has alarmingly looked
on expressionless even as her
leadership appears curiously
incapacitated or unable to arrest
the situation. The President’s
silence in the matter has been
deemed conspiratorial and
unbecoming in the extreme.
Buhari’s Minister of Interior, Lt.
Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau
has insensitively described the
violent sacking of many human
settlements and the carnage
attending thereto as a mere law
and order matter. Government’s
insensitivity has sparked widespread
denunciation of the
government’s embarrassing
inaction or its blatant
partisanship.
Even as nomadic life is
anachronistic or out of tune
with modern lifestyle, official
plans for “cattle colony” or
“cattle corridor” for the Fulani
and their herds will appear
unduly paternalistic and
invidious. Before now in the
USA, cattle owners obtained
permission from the Surveyor-
General to create cattle routes
for which they paid ahead of
their trespass for damages to
farms or crops trampled upon
by their rampaging cattle.
Today, however, large, wellkept
ranches, farm settlements
or grazing land enclosures have
taken the place of the culture of
remorseless cattle herding or
of aimless peregrination across
long, uncharted distances.
In the Nigerian Army, there
is a culture of compensation
for damage to commercial
plants and crops along the
path of training activities. As
the training area is usually
very large and farmers hold
the fallow or unused expanse
as arable land, when cadets
come training and crops or
farm produce are necessarily
damaged, the army authorities
pay for such damages from a
prescient Budget.
The whole country is under
the eerie siege of a murderous
marauding ogre. There is an
immediate requirement of
official firmness or decisiveness
to stamp out the menace of a
group that has been identified
by global terrorism rating
organisations as the world’s
third most dangerous and
highly potent international
terrorist order. President
Buhari’s seeming indifference
and the loud conspiratorial
silence of his strategic ministers
in the face of the violent attacks
by an armed column of the
Fulani herdsmen on sleepy
farming communities have
been reasoned as the tacit
support of the government for
a nation-wide forcible takeover
by the Fulani of lush
farmlands or vegetation in the
wake of scientific predictions
of a looming unprecedented
severe drought condition in
the Sahel in the years ahead.
Further, the reluctance of the
President to proclaim the armed
Fulani herdsmen as terrorists
deserving the full wrath of
the law is worrisome as it is a
violation of his constitutional
oath of office respecting the
requirement to ensure that the
mass murderers of innocent
Nigerians are brought to
effective justice. Even as the
President and his men enjoy
immunity from prosecution
while in office, they stand the
risk at the expiration of their
tenure of being subjected to
world-wide international
arrest warrant from the
International Criminal Court
for the gruesome atrocities
that happened under their
watch.
President Buhari owes it
an obligation to all Nigerian
citizens to stop the killings,
arrest the suspects and
prosecute the killers in courts
of competent jurisdiction.
The convicts should be made
to face the maximum penalty
for their heinous crimes. The
inaction of the President and
the ineffectiveness of the
security forces to curb the
Fulani herdsmen scourge
have placed a huge moral
burden on the APC even as
its helmsman’s nonchalant
attitude to the carnage is
threatening the chances of
the party’s electoral victory
in 2019. A situation in which
Fulani herdsmen ride roughshod
on farming communities
is gravely impunitous and
should be resisted vi et armis
or violently.

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