WHEN THE HERDSMEN NO LONGER CARRY STICK AND RADIO BUT AK47
The tragedy about this Nation is we do not learn from history and any society that does not learn from its history may not get its acts right.
It will only be repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
On this medium some few weeks ago when the Fulani – Settler conflict was raging on, I advised that for us to understand the complexities of the conflict we need to go back in to history.
The roles played by our fore fathers, colonial administration, and successive governments to tackled or at least contained the conflict for decades will give us an in sight how to deal with the delicate situations.
In my earlier piece I used historical analogy, to bring out how successive authorities dealt with the problems.
I also used my experiences while growing up in a village very close to the plains of the River Gongola. An important resource that nature bestowed on us to share between the settlers and pastoralists. And how the natural resource was managed by our grand parents for the good of all the communities.
In that piece I argued that the layers of administrative structure put in place enabled the community to monitor and police its environment.
I also shared some of the advise given by the colonial administration how they tackled the conflict which I repeat here because of its relevance to this day.
The former Nigerian Governor General, Sir Fredrick Lord Lugard, captured in his memo who is the Fulani Man? He gave his portrait of a Fulani Man.
As a people he said,
“They are ascetic, kind and generous, BUT Never fight a war (hot or cold) with the Fulani because they have:-
1. No rules of engagement (they just hit again and again)
2. No POW’s (they don’t take prisoners)
3. No mercy (once they pick you out as the enemy)
4. No fighting fatigue (they are forever fit and prepared, due to their lifestyle)
5. No need for adequate provisions and permanent abode (they live on very little and sleep in the wilderness)
6. No end to hostilities (they fight to finish)
7. No ignorance of terrain and location ( their lifestyle makes everyone of them a human GPS )
8. No deterrence due to casualties (they are strategically distributed all over West and Central Africa, and highly mobile)
9. No need for tranquillity (they have no permanent settlements which need peace to thrive).”
10. No fear of consequences.
These positions echoed what our grand parents told us when we were growing, never engage in a fight with a Fulani Man, they never forgive disputes even on social matters between families. It is often transmitted through generations to ensure that they take revenge no matter how long it takes.
But here we are in the 21st century with all the technological advantage on our side messing up unable draw from the abundant resources we have in government vaults and research institutions around the country on matter.
Rather we resorted to blaming each other and capitalising on what divide us as a people to fan the amber of the discourse.
This fight will never be won until we put our acts right.
The blame game, the exploitation of our divide us a people will only widen the scope of the conflict without necessarily tackling the real problems.
It has become the norm each time something defies immediate solution, religion, subterranean and political considerations are blamed for the source of the disturbance.
Now that the Fulani Herdsmen no longer carry the stick on their shoulders and radio around their neck but AK 47. we need to rethink.
Borrowing from the advise by the former Governor General that, the Fulani men are human GPS because they know the terrain, they have no need for tranquillity because they are not settled, they do not accept prisoners of war, they have no mercy once they pick you out as the enemy, they have no fighting fatigue, they are forever fit and prepared, due to their lifestyle.
With these the society will never know no peace again, until we begin to truthfully talk to ourselves and engage widely and bring all stakeholders together and holistically deal with the situation.
Lives and properties will continue to be lost and destroyed.
Stop gap measures and in sincere solutions through parliamentary declarations will remain wishful thinking as some of the stake holders involved in conflict are highly itinerants and do not understand laws being created by the settlers to illicit compliance. The only law they respect is where to find pastures and water their animals.
The only way out of this is dialogue and respecting the rights of all the stakeholders.
May God give us the wisdom to learn from our past.