The image below captured from Channels TV was sent to me by one of this blog’s regular visitors late last night [Tuesday, September 13]. The note she sent as accompaniment is below the image. TOLA.
Photo taken off Channels TV news report few minutes ago — cows grazing in centre of ABUJA CITY, obstructing traffic, etc. Apparently the herdsmen say they are using the “cattle grazing track”!!!!!
It has not been possible so far to drive them away; even an official being interviewed backed the screen to hide his identity!!! A commentator called it an invasion of Abuja.S.Bisi.
CAPTION: “FCT – Federal Capital Territory – Cattle Grazing/Practice Said to Pose Danger to Residents”
The safety of Abuja residents and visitors, of course, is very important but beyond that, what does this say of Nigeria, its people and, especially the leadership? What does it say of President Buhari, a man in the unique position of acting on the growing resentment of Nigerians from the Middle Belt downwards to the South about the menace that grazing cattle just about anywhere pose by these cattle men/herdsmen?
In earlier essays on this subject, this blogger has wondered aloud why the president is not addressing the issue of cattle-grazing. In an open letter to legislators from Southwestern Nigeria, I had raised the following questions as it seemed a so-called “Grazing Bill” that had supposedly be discarded, had been been adopted by government through the back door –
“A few questions are in order considering the way things are in Nigeria today:
- Where are the 414 grazing reserves centres located as they are supposedly already in existence and merely need “rehabilitation”?
- Who instituted them, and when were they instituted?
- When did “National Coordinator, Grazing Reserve Rehabilitation at the Federal
Ministry of Agriculture, Mahmud Ibrahim” get appointed, and what was Mahmud Ibrahim’s previous position within the “federal” set-up?
- What is meant by “stock routes across the country”, and where are they for the cows and the cattlemen?
- Why would the central government fund – as seems to be apparent here – this project that lawmakers supposedly jettisoned earlier?
- WHERE ARE THOSE 414 GRAZING RESERVE CENTRES, a list, please?
- If the House – as Nigerians were informed – did not vote for a grazing reserve Bill, how did this new abracadabra arise?
- Isn’t the supposed not-passed-Bill going to enter through a back door?”
A Single incident – among several – of rampaging Fulani herdsmen led to the deaths of over 40 people in an Enugu State village. Protests inside and outside Nigeria followed:
ABOVE: Nigerians protest massacre of Ibo farmers by Fulani herdsmen in Enugu State – London, May 2016
BELOW, the massacre of dozens of Ibos is protested by Nigerians in Germany
Buhari is in a “unique position” to put an end to the impunity that Fulani herdsmen’s actions have assumed because he does not even have to use the power of his office as the country’s president to stop what is fast contributing to the disillusionment of Nigerians – less Fulani & Hausa cattle-owning North – about the continued viability of Nigeria as one country.
How? Like most Fulani of the upper class, Buhari is a major cattle owner and in his characteristic way, he did declare his ownership of hundreds of cows as part of his few properties in his asset declaration on becoming president. Giving him a lot of clout beyond being president and owning cattle, is his supposed position as Grand Patron of Cattle Owners’ Association. True or false, Buhari has always been a very respected man within his own ethnic group and his ascetic way of life has also long endeared him to most Nigerians, North and South even when the same group held suspicion of him as a very conservative Muslim.
President Buhari’s belief in Nigeria’s unity and continued existence as one country which he repeated in his recent Ileya (Eid il Kabir) message to Youth Corpsmen of Ibo origin shows the commitment he has to One Nigeria: “… tell [your] kinsmen to forget Biafra” – makes it imperative that he MUST ensure that anything that can lead to divisiveness such as the indiscriminate grazing of cattle by armed men IN FENCED GRAZING LAND OWNED BY CATTLE OWNERS is stopped.
Herdsmen openly carrying guns in many parts of Nigeria
Words credited to the Sultan of Sokoto (a city in Fulani heartland) that “the Fulani herdsmen moving with guns, causing violence, fighting with farmers are not Nigerians, but foreign terrorists … and should be treated as terrorists” and that “the Nigerian herdsmen as peace-loving” are not only wrong but very dangerous because they will lead to disasters.The import of the Sultan’s charge to security men could bring carnage. [Below are a few images of armed herdsmen]:
Danger to Abuja Residents?
Cattle roaming major streets of Nigeria’s capital as in the images below pose great dangers to humans but the situation that does not seem to bother those in position to call a halt to the practice but it is beyond dangerous. There is a Capital Development Authority as a first line of authority.
This is a very disgraceful, embarrassing and a blight on the collective soul of Nigerians and holds peoples of African descent everywhere up to ridicule.
APO LEGISLATIVE QUARTERS
As in other parts of Nigeria, herdsmen in the capital city are armed with assault rifles which they carry openly.
In April this year, the following story was posted on nigeriancurrent.com and illustrated with the picture below:
“The soldiers of the Guards Brigade of the Nigeria Army have arrested 92 Fulani herdsmen in Abuja.The Assistant Director, Army Public Relations of the Guards Brigade, Capt. Bashir Jajira, said that 36 of the suspects were arrested by the troops at a military checkpoint between the Federal Capital Territory and Nasarawa State.
The suspected herdsmen were said to have told the soldiers that they were on a mission to recover their stolen cows.He said that 56 others who were also armed were arrested by the soldiers at a military checkpoint at Dantata, along the Abuja Airport Road.
He said that the troops recovered ‘one pump action gun, 19 cartridge dane guns, 118 cartridge ammo, 28 cutlasses, 3 jack knives …” [The full story below].
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2016. 10:45 p.m. [GMT]