Nigerians would be gravely mistaken if they think that the Fulani menace is limited to rural areas or to farming communities only
“A highly placed citizen from the North, former Governor Balarabe Musa, warned in 2014 that a new insurgency was in the offing – a new insurgency different from Boko Haram, better organized, better armed and much more dangerous than Boko Haram, and planned by some highly influential Nigerians for the purpose of achieving some major political objective in Nigeria. Are we now seeing part of that insurgency?” –GBOGUNGBORO, The Nation, Thursday, 02.06.16
The Fulani menace is pan-Nigeria
By Femi Orebe in The Nation on Sunday, June 05, 2016.
Engr Wale Ogungbe is the Managing Director of DRY WALLS SYSTEMS, a company specializing in the provision of light weight DRY CONSTRUCTION solutions for all types of buildings, facades, cladding, partitions etc and who together with many of his staff, have reasons to constantly use the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. His account: “My experience with the Nigerian police along the long bridge on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway sometime last week was a sharp contrast from my perspective of the Nigerian police. Around 11:30pm on the day, the driver called to tell me one of my trucks had broken down on the long bridge, approaching Lagos. I drove down to render whatever assistance I could as the driver was carrying some clients’ goods. By the time I got there, I met some armed police men who were already assisting. They not only stayed with him, they also assisted in securing a towing truck to move the truck with the goods to a safer location. I was surprised, but very impressed with the disposition of the police men who asked for no gratification whatever, and we soon got talking. What they told me is so scary I think Nigerians deserve to hear it.
According to the leader of the team, the long bridge on the Lagos – Ibadan expressway, is a particularly dangerous spot and has been identified by the police as a major black spot. He told me that Fulani herdsmen serially attack and kill unsuspecting motorists whose vehicle develops fault along the bridge. And this, he said happens both day and night.
Their usual approach is to first pierce the stomach of their victims with a dagger and then go to ransack the vehicles, dispossessing the victims who they then throw down the bridge. According to him, people are killed daily in this fashion that the IGP had to specifically instruct a 24 –hr surveillance on the whole length of the bridge. He told me a particularly chilling one: during one of their surveillance trips, they noticed from the other side of the bridge, a man in a white shirt, trying to replace a flat tyre and they quickly sped down to make a U-turn at the end of the bridge to assist him. Unfortunately, by the time they got to where he was, they only saw blood on the road. Apparently the poor man had been killed and thrown down the bridge. Usually the herdsmen also jump down the bridge.
His advice is that if your vehicle ever develops a fault on that bridge, just shut down the car and run away for your dear life because the next 5 minutes may be too late!
The IG, he said, has given specific instructions that there must be no report of any attack on the bridge again. For this reason, he said, during the day, policemen are stationed some 250m apart along the bridge and in the evenings, they are replaced with 4 police patrol vehicles, constantly driving, to and fro, the bridge entire length. I asked who these attackers are, from his own experience and his prompt answer was that they are Fulani herdsmen who are always carrying daggers, guns and charms, and are attracted to attack stranded motorists at the slightest opportunity.
Please publish this so that motorists along that bridge would know what terrible danger they face but the question now is: why would these Fulani herdsmen, who were traditionally known for peacefully grazing their cows, suddenly become a major threat to their host communities?
I would like to thank Wale for this public service. We have the Lagos state governor’s immense assistance to the Nigerian police, a patriotic Inspector-General as well as an effective State Police Command, to thank for the pro-active actions taken so far to safeguard lives on the bridge.
But I think I can hazard an answer to Wale’s question. President Buhari must have been absolutely correct when he said in a CNN interview in London that some of these herdsmen are Libyan militiamen, trained by Ghadafi; well-armed and well-trained fighters who fled southwards to West Africa when Ghadafi fell from power. I think what our normally reticent President refused to add, however, is the fact that many, if not all his fellow cattle owners – he has 270 heads of cattle as per his last asset declaration – minus of course the President himself, being a well known lover of Nigeria for which he once publicly wept, must have all gone outside the country to recruit these murderous Muhajideens to protect their heavy investments. I say this because the new Controller-General of Immigration is on record as saying that the department has never recorded any case of such persons entering the country with herds of cattle.
However, as I have stated elsewhere, if President Buhari were a Yoruba man, he would have realised pe isó nrùn lara oun, meaning that the fart smells around him, being both a Fulani and a cattle owner. This should, therefore, have led him to very pro-actively find solutions to the many nagging questions that have arisen about the Fulani herdsmen.
Among these, quoting Gbogungboro again are: “What are the true purposes of the grazing reserves being sought? Are they designed by some people to house illegal armies of occupation in the states of the Middle Belt and the South, for the purpose of intimidating the peoples of those places? Are they meant to be jihadist instruments for forcible Islamization? Are they designed as weapons of one ethnic group’s conquest of Nigeria? Do we now have the president’s word that Nigeria is under invasion by Libyan militiamen? And, what does the Nigerian government intend to do about that?”
The President cannot afford to delay his answers to these questions in the face of the many problems Nigeria is currently battling with: economic, Boko Haram, Biafra, Avengers etc.
SUNDAY, JUNE 05, 2016. 3:10 p.m. [GMT]