JONATHAN AWANYAI, in Asaba, spoke with elder statesman and former officer of the defunct Biafran Army, Col. J.O.G. Achuzia (rtd), on the crisis of leadership in Nigeria, with particular reference to the Fulani herdsmen menace, which President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani himself, would appear to have refused to do something about.
Condemning plans by the Buhari administration to establish grazing reserves and cattle colonies in each State of the federation, Achuzia alleged that the move is a ploy by Buhari to plant the Fulani in different parts of the country in preparation for a future jihad.
Achuzia who spoke with The Oracle Today inAsaba wondered why herdsmen should be given preferential treatment to the disadvantage of other Nigerian farmers and livestock business people.
“Do Fulani herdsmen submit their profits to the national or state treasuries? Why can’t they do business like other farmers and livestock business people in Nigeria?” quipped the Octogenarian.
According to the elderly Biafran War hero, the interpretation that would easily be given to the obvious preferential treatment given to the herdsmen by Buhari that the President’s sole agenda in the present political scheme of things is to ensure that Hausa-Fulani herdsmen occupy prime and strategic locations across the country to ease Islamic agenda of Fulani colonization of Nigeria through a bloody jihad in the future.
“If not so, why are the APC and President Buhari giving special attention and huge funding to Hausa-Fulani livestock farmers to the detriment of their counterparts across the country?Where are the goats colonies, fish colonies, chicken colonies and pigs colonies? Don’t they come under one form of farming or the other? Is cow meat the only source of protein in Nigeria? Why does Mr President want to create division, disunity and acrimony among Nigerians?” he asked
While insisting that President Buhari is only pursuing the Uthman Dan Fodio agenda, Achuzia noted that the idea of cattle colonies is a ploy to favour the Hausa-Fulani folks in preparations for future jihad.
“It’s bad and horrifying,” Col. Achuzia declared. “It’s deadly as it is detrimental to the unity and progress of Nigeria.Once a State accepts, it becomes almost a local government in the State dedicated to the Fulani herdsmen.First, we have not given them space and they already took so much space, what happens then when we create a community for them? Their rate of production is even more than the Chinese are doing now. In other words, in a few years they will outnumber us and then we can do nothing about it.
The sooner we reject any cattle colony the better. If they say cattle colony, isn’t that masquerading the whole issue because cattle don’t move on their own. They are moved by cattle herders who look after them. Those people have families and so they go with their families.
That brings us back to what the Koran says,when Abubakar said what they should do when they go on a jihad; he said take all your families because there is no reinforcement. If you get there and you feel that they are more numerous than you, you surrender and live with them.
But, in doing so, inflict as much damage as you can by killing their young ones from the age of eight upwards for the male, marry their widows because you are entitled to marry four wives and bring their children into Islam and within a short time you will overpopulate the place and then you can continue the jihad. So, who is fooling who? How can we allow cattle ranch under these conditions? It is not possible.
If anybody in our area says he cannot accommodate it (not having cattle ranches), then it means that the person is not part of us. Any government in the South East that offers land for cattle colonies is doing so out of ignorance, because they don’t understand what the whole exercise is all about.What is happening in Nigeria is the clarion call by Usman Dan Fodio long ago and that clarion call is what the Fulani’s are implementing.”
While speaking on Buhari and Igbo presidency in 2023, he regretted that the Igbos are treated as second class citizens.
“How long ago did the war end?” Achuzia agonised.
It’s about 50 years ago.Within that period, signs have not reflected that the apex leadership of Nigeria will be given to Ndigbo, how do they think that it is now when the Fulanis are trying to complete the Dan Fodio agenda that they are looking forward to the leader of the jihad, President Buhari who in his cabinet from the onset made sure that there is no dilution of the people he chose to be his advisers and cabinet members? Yes, he might hand over to the territory occupied by South East but then it would have been a Fulani colony.
Achuzia while speaking on herdsmen killings across the country, expressed satisfaction that the Global Terrorism index labelled Nigerian Fulani militants as fourth terror group in the world, following killings in Nigeria and parts of the Central African Republic as a result of clashes between farmers and the little-known group, formed of individuals from the semi-nomadic pastorial ethnic group.
“They used the same cattle herdsmen to move into the north thereby pushing the Hausas who are the owners of the land into the Islamic religion and at the same time almost appropriating the Hausa man into a moslem who became almost a Fulani.
The same thing they have done by pushing the middle belters and till today it is only a small area left and they are now using all force at their disposal to displace them and claim that territory. Ours is to look, if they succeed, our area becomes the next place that they have to go after and that is where my concentration lies.
“First, if you noticed what happened to us towards the end of last year, when we were invaded by the army under the guise of Operation Python Dance and Operation Crocodile Smile. Shortly, after that operation, the next thing they did was to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).Who are the IPOBs?
It is we the easterners and then you say that we are terrorists, but Fulani herdsmen and all those killing people in the Middle Belt are not terrorists. We in the South East that haven’t wielded any weapon are terrorists. If you go into the Nigerian history and the migratory system, you will understand that Benue people are not northerners.
Do the Middle Belters look like people with Fulani tradition? Though they fought a war on the side of Nigerians when they thought that Yakubu Gowon was in control, today, they are facing what we faced about 50 years ago but instead we are in sympathy with them because we are watching events and we will not let them down because if they capitulate, the burden will fall on us.You kill people to dispossess them and that is what the cattle ranching is all about.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan got to Aso Rock by accident and accidents don’t happen every day and he also exited through accident in time for Buhari to enter.
Buhari knew that time is not on his side hence the speed of creating a cabinet that is majorly his kinsmen with instructions that they should accelerate the time sequence of possession.They are tackling it in several ways; through military incursion on two sides, the Boko Haram on one side and the cattle herders on the other side. Also,they have taken over the political mantle. In other words, he has put the whole problem he wants to solve into a nutshell and he is cracking the nut just as he deems fit and better,” he alledged.
Speaking further, he also alleged that “the country has already been colonized by the northerners.Look at our economy;is the bank working for us?The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria,Sanusi created an economic system he described as Islamic banking. Islamic banking has pushed other banking institutions out of the way.In the Islamic system they know the avariciousness that exists between none muslems in terms of trade.Their bank lends money without interest rate and this attracts the southerners and that is why the other banks we have are collapsing.”
On the way forward for Nigeria,the octogenarian stated that he wouldn’t want to opt out of Nigeria. “IPOB is not asking to opt out of Nigeria, but we are saying is that there should be restructuring so that we can have a breathing space. There is nothing in this world that cannot be negotiated. Anybody saying that Nigeria cannot be negotiated is a totalitarian and it is only jihadists that don’t negotiate because as far as they are concerned, you are either a muslim of their own persuasion or you are killed off,” Achuzia said.
On restructuring, he said: “The country was packaged not by the Fulanis or anyone but by the colonialists.They packaged us based on what they saw on the ground showing major ethnic groups. In each of the three divisions, they had ethnic groups of linguistic differences but cultural similarity.
These are what they looked at in partitioning the country into three spaces. And when we got independence, that is what we looked at within the southern hemisphere to produce Midwest making it four regions.Under that regional arrangement, if you take a vehicle going by road to connect these four regions,you will notice what each region put in place what enabled them to survive before the oil economy came to play.So,what we are asking is let us get back where we went wrong.”
It would be recalled that a lot of reaction had trailed Federal Government’s decision on cattle colonies with the governors of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Eboyi, Abia, Enugu, Cross River and many other states making it public that they do not have lands where cattle colonies are to be established.