By IKEDDY ISIGUZO
EVERYWHERE you go you see corpses delineating the finality of humanity, though dispatched with cruelty that borders on bestiality. Do these lifeless bodies remind us of our end, and the savagery that may attend it, if you do nothing about the way we are living?
How did we degenerate to the point where the only thing that matters in Nigeria is Fulani herdsmen? Governments, elected by the people, for the people, are ready to give everything to defend Fulani herdsmen, who in the milieu of defence, the Federal Government told us were not Nigerians and therefore above the law?
Impunity used to be a word until Fulani herdsmen knew it. Fulani herdsmen have erected pillars of impunities around themselves. Scarce government resources are allocated to protecting them. They are the law and fully in knowledge that they can do as they please.
Self-help is illegal under our laws. Fulani herdsmen openly admit that they killed people because they stole their cattle. Nothing happens to those who confess to the crime. Their law is the law. Once their victims try to defend themselves, official assistance arrives for the Fulani herdsmen, the same security that would be unavailable while attacks last.
Fulani herdsmen confess participation in massacres. The law ignores their claims. Fulani herdsmen threaten that they would not obey laws unless they are made to suit their terms, at the expense of the entire existence of other people.
Nobody touches them, nobody tells them there are laws in Nigeria and that the laws are for all.
They decide what grass suits their cattle, where the grass is found, they take it over and they are armed enough to devastate the location, if anyone dares suggest that they should leave. Peoples lives and livelihoods are ruined because the Fulani herdsmen and theirs cattle.
What is about beef that it should rule and ruin our lives? What is going cannot make sense to anyone accepts the Fulani herdsmen and their supporters. They get support from surprising quarters, in addition to illegal bearing the combat machine of choice, the deadly, though romanticised, Ak-47
After the shouts about the massacres in Benue, Taraba, southern Kaduna, Kwara, Enugu, we would return to discussing Donald Trump, in elevation of our civilization and affinity to the United States of America. Others would feast on the prime football league competitions in the world, with a flourish that denotes our place on global matters.
Fulani cattle, not John Pepper Clark’s poem, but the way our government is increasingly ordering our lives is a reality. We must check it, before it would take being cattle to have any rights in Nigeria.
Our Minister of Agriculture Innocent Audu Ogbeh, from Benue State, has spent his entire tenure promoting ranching, importation of grass from Brazil to feed Fulani cattle. He hardly discusses food for human Nigerians. The owners of the cattle he wants to ranch have rejected that proposal, preferring colonies, a choice for their intention. The Federal Government of Nigeria would create colonies all over Nigeria, in locations Fulani cattle rearers choose for the benefit of their private businesses.
Ranches, cattle colonies, impunity for Fulani and their cattle, are being placed well above human being? Yet there is no law stating that the Federal Government should deploy national resources to individual business that produces a minuscule of our needs – meat – really, just beef. Some people don’t even eat it.
Until this government, we never knew that Fulani cattle rearing was government business with such premium placed on it that security agencies, and the Presidency read Section 14 2 b of the 1999 Constitution which states, “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”, as “The security and welfare of Fulani herdsmen shall be the primary purpose of government”.
The proposed colonies would be just episodes in the impunities of the Fulani herdsmen for the greed that informs the conduct of the Fulani cattle and their rearers is a rarer version of greed that is completely insatiable, no matter what it is fed.
Instead of further indulgence of the Fulani cattle and their owners, we should lawfully bring them to conducts that are amenable to the understanding that is there is enough for everyone, but not enough for anyone’s greed.