A herdsman (File photo)
The idea to establish armed Fulani vigilantes in the south-east is nothing but a disguise by champions of the so-called 'Islamization campaign' to gain ground in the region, get familiar with locals, before forcefully executing their hidden agenda.
I have no time for political correctness when it comes to matters affecting my people, that is why I will not mince words in speaking the truth.
There is no reason under the heaven to justify the request by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, asking for the establishment of Fulani vigilantes in the south-east. Absolutely, no excuse! We are talking about herders for crying out loud. These same herders who have wrecked havoc in many parts of the country including our villages. These same herders who lead their animals into our farms, destroy our crops and dare us to do our worst. These same herders who have invaded our villages, kill our mothers, brothers and sisters all in the name of searching for pasture for their animals. How can we allow the same people from this group to be in charge of our security in the south-east? That is suicide!
In 20 years to come, these herders would have settled in the south-east and begin their usual land grabbing for their animals which will result in bloody confrontations as seen in Southern Kaduna and other parts of the middlebelt. As a good student of history, I do not need a seer to foresee this impending disaster.
It happened in Ilorin when a certain Fulani leader and cleric, Shehu Alimi who had settled in Ilorin with his many slaves and other clerics was called upon by Oyo General, Afonja -who had rebelled against the Oyo Empire- to help him consolidate his throne. He did help, but the outcome was disastrous.
When Alimi died, his son Abd Salaam assassinated Afonja
and made himself ruler. He severed Ilorin from the Oyo Empire forcing it to become a part of the Sokoto Caliphate till date.
The crisis in Southern part of Kaduna is not new to any of us. Again and again, Fulani/Hausa settlers have attacked Christians in Southern Kaduna, killing innocent women and children, destroying their homes all in a bid to chase them away and occupy their land. They have targeted Christians in Kaduna destroying their farmlands and their means of livelihood, not just out of hatred but with a burning desire to conquer them. They have succeeded in some places.
It all started as a joke when the Fulani/Hausa communities were welcomed by the Christian indigenes of Southern Kaduna many years ago. Now, the outcome of that charitable act has left bloody tales of mass murder and massacre in the hands of Fulani/Hausa herders.
There are in fact, over 10 cases of such incidents in which the Fulani/Hausa communities have attacked and killed Southern Kaduna indigenes over LAND. The story is just the same almost in many parts of the country. The worst part is that these herders go about with AK47 machine guns invading villages and killing innocent people without being brought to book.
Under President Muhammadu Buhari alone, these heartless herdsmen have killed 3,000 people.
It is no secret to say that the killings taking place in Southern Kaduna and other parts of the middlebelt, including Benue state are as a result of the intentions of the perpetrators to expand their tentacles, dominate others and provide more grazing areas for their animals by taking forcefully lands that do not belong to them.
The Kasuwan Magani, Kaduna crisis of 1980
is still fresh in our memory. The Christian Kadara and Gbagyi ethnic groups were killed by Hausa/Fulani settlers after they tried to reclaim the land which the Hausa/Fulani muslims had forcefully taken from them.
Hassan Apalaka, a Christian
was killed on 11th January 1980 at Kujama by Hausa/Fulani settlers because he wanted to reclaim his land they had encroached on.
In the battle that ensued, many people lost their lives. There are many instances of this type of invasion by Fulani/Hausa settlers all over the middle belt and parts of the north dominated by Christians.
Enough of the history lesson. This murderous method of killing innocent people and taking over their homes is what the south-east must avoid by rejecting the offer. The peaceful region must remain peaceful and must not give room for conflict which is what Miyetti Allah has planned with its proposal.
At a time when people of the south-east and Christians in general have expressed distrust at percieved plans by the North to Islamize the country, bringing up the issue of Fulani vigilantes in the south-east is the most senseless idea of 2019.
How do you tell a group known for being violent, who have not been able to tame the same monster ravaging the north, to go to a faraway land where they know not the terrain nor the people and entrust them with the task of securing lives of those who do not want them?
If the Miyetti Allah believe they are capable of stopping the terror being unleashed by their brothers, let them do it within their region/s. Thousands are dying in the north as a result of killings by herdsmen, yet the propagators of this senseless idea have not helped in anyway to stop the senseless killing there. Rather, Miyetti Allah keeps denying that the killers are their members. Then all of a sudden, they have woken up with a magic wand on how to end the incessant killings by herdsmen in the south east while ignoring the north.
The way to tackle this menace is to arm security agents in each region to handle their crisis. Outsiders posing as helpers should be ignored even when it is clear they have a hidden agenda.
The murderers must be met with the same force with which they unleash terror on others and the season of letting them go scot-free must be stopped.
Miyetti Allah and its members have done nothing of great proportion to stop the massacre by herdsmen in Benue, Plateau, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna and other states, yet they are climaxing at the thought of coming to the south-east.
No matter how we argue it, the advocates of Fulani vigilantes in the south-east are aware that it is dead on arrival. Let the locals handle their own peculiar problems. The security architecture of each state should be well equipped to handle the threat from the murderers of our people. Local vigilantes who are very familiar with the terrain can do even more better as they have the ability to identify new faces coming to cause trouble.
In conclusion, this nonsensical idea which is a distraction at a time when Buhari's government has failed woefully to find a solution to the wanton murder of our people by Fulani herdsmen will serve a better purpose if it is thrown inside the dustbin. The decision to accept or not is the prerogative of the people of the south-east. Hello! They have said no. Thank you Miyetti Allah for the idea, you can now take it to the north.
Alexander Thandi Ubani is a journalist
He writes from Lagos.