Fulani Herdsmen: The Truth Is Coming Out

By Ikenga Chronicles April 27, 2016

— Gboyega Adejumo

As we can see, there are huge stories all still in play and all affecting each other in different ways. What is clear is that we are indeed in the “quickening” of this entire scheme and that the truth is continuing to come out at an ever-increasing rate.

In fact, we may already be at the “critical mass” point in relation to disclosures of truth occurring.

I will like to reference the incessant attacks by the people generally believed to be Fulani herdsmen responsible for murdering thousands of innocent Nigerians, mainly in the central and Southern zones of the country.

The critical question is:

Are Fulani Herdsmen, random or controlled?
And if controlled, how high up does the control go?

My first recollection of what a typical Fulani herdsman looks like must have been on the Ibadan-Ife road during my University days.

I remember the situation where a herd of cattle numbering up to 50, 60 and more, would be driven along the 88 kilometer road to graze and pasture, by just about 3 to 4 young men, wielding just a long stick, usually extending across the shoulder. Occasionally, the Fulani herdsman, brings down the stick to steer, command or keep the cows in line. I didn’t need to be told that there is such a bond between the cattle and the herdsmen – It was there, Always in the communicable silence between the cows and their herdsmen. Such bond probably existed from the birth of both animal and man.

My attention was however shifted to a publication of which I cannot really remember now during the 20-month Major General Muhammadu Buhari military administration that ousted the civilian regime of President Shehu Shagari.

Sometime in 1984, I remember a publication about a state policy that was to earmark grazing land to the Fulani cattle rearers in certain parts of each state in the federation. I also recollect a few Nigerian voices of dissent in what was then a clamp down on freedom of speech by a most repressive military dictatorship.

Whatever fate might have waited the grazing land policy was truncated in August 1985 when General Ibrahim Babangida, toppled the Muhammadu Buhari-led military regime in a coup d’etat.

It wasn’t until the month of October 2000, when clashes broke out between the indigenous farmers in the upper Oke Ogun communities of Oyo State,that my attention was again to be drawn to these lots.

As the story went, the Fulani herdsmen and farmers in that particular area of Oyo State, fought and there were casualties, with the non indigenous Fulani herdsmen seen as the aggressors. However, the story did Not stop there.

The people of Oyo State, woke up on a certain day to the news of retired military Generals, led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari, Brigadier General Buba Marwa, with some notable Northern personages, arriving in Ibadan to confront the then Governor, Lam Adesina on an allegation that his government aided and abetted the local farmers in the killings of 68 Fulani herdsmen.

But contrary to those allegations, nothing of the sort happened as the Governor –after the testimonies of the police commissioner and the Secret Service– while putting the records straight countered that it was even the reverse of the case, and he expressly stated:

“I want to say also that we really have to appeal to our people, the itinerant Bororo people, that they should observe less aggression. It is not good , it is not right just coming from somewhere then you just pass through farm lands cultivated maybe with the person’s life savings and then over night everything is gone. That is not right, even Allah does not approve of that. We even wonder when they talk about this people carrying dangerous weapons, I say do they really believe in Allah? When you just take life like that and go away! Are we not forbidden not to take human life? So I think General Buhari, General Marwa, you have to be educating them… ”

The then State Security Service officers in Oyo State, when called upon to testify on Buhari’s allegations against the government of Lam Adesina in Oyo State in 2000, testified that the clashes between the Fulani herdsmen and the farmers stemmed from the non-implementation of the policy attributable to Buhari’s regime about setting certain lands aside as grazing reserves, which the then federal government had not been following.

The Dam Is About To Break

Sometime again in 2002, I came across a story about the formation of an umbrella body for all Fulani herdsmen, duly incorporated and registered as, “The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria”, with the head office in Abuja and branches all over most Northern states…
And my immediate thought was; “the young uneducated Fulani boys with the sticks, looking unkempt, are now organized with an office in Abuja?”

Little did I know that a staggering truth concerning The Fulani herdsmen and their overlords was about to break.
This single news item opened up a whole lot, like who is their Life Patron – same former military Dictator, Muhammadu Buhari?
Along with this revelation came the memories of how Buhari came to Ibadan in 2000 in defense of these very herdsmen and a lot more about the economics of the whole Fulani herdsmen business started to unfold.

It is important to state here very quickly that these herdsmen hardly own even a tiny fraction of the large herds of cattle in their care – The “Big” men of the North do and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, is largely about these big men!

Today, the association is made up of a board of Trustees, headed by the great great grandson of Uthman Dan Fodio the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad lll, the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumuni Kabir Usman, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi ll, the Emir of Zazzau (Zaria) Alhaji Dr Shehu Idris Abubakar, and the Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustapha.

The net worth of all assets, of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, is reputed to be in billions of Naira, if not in Trillions.
Therefore the very open manner in which the herdsmen go about, protecting these assets, with sophisticated assault weapons, will become easier to comprehend knowing the background to the who- is -who in the umbrella body under which the very first to the last Fulani herdsman, operates.

Arguably, in the last one year, the activities of this herdsmen leading to killings of natives, raping of women and slaughtering of children have increased considerably.
One may be tempted to ask, if the fact that their Life Patron Mohammadu Buhari, is now the civilian President of Nigeria, has not somewhat buoyed their confidence to go about carrying out various acts of impunity.

A lot of Nigerians are asking these questions on a daily basis. Why? Because in less that one year, 500 Agatu men and women with their children have been slaughtered by these marauding murdering Fulani herdsmen who swooped on Agatu farmlands , and when confronted by farmers, killing ensued. This incident alone has gotten the representative of the United Nations  in Nigeria to call the incident, ” A dastardly act of Ethnic Cleansing”!

And just yesterday, several people in Enugu State were summarily hacked and gunned to death by these same Fulani herdsmen in the Nimbo community in Uzo Uwani local government area.

As huge as these killings appear to be, with many others in other parts of the Central and Southern zones of the country, sadly the president, Muhammadu Buhari has not even just once condemned the activities of these men who tend the cattle on behalf of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria. Neither has any one of these killer Fulani herdsmen been prosecuted!
A while ago, we heard that 56 of  apprehended with their sophisticated assault weapons in Abuja, only to hear a few days later that all 56 of them have “disappeared” from custody!The only official response so far has come from the information minister, Mr Lai Mohammed, that the government is working silently to resolve the crisis between farmers and the herdsmen.

People are wont to ask Mr Muhammadu Buhari–and rightly so–now that’s he’s the President, what has he said about this menace of his kinsmen moving from town to town killing innocent Nigerians?Why is he all quiet? Why is he not showing the same anger he showed when he visited Governor Lam Adesina years back to complain about the death of the Fulani Herdsmen?

I join other Nigerians  to also ask; “Do the lives of the cattle of the Fulani Herdsmen matter more and become more important than the lives of Nigerians, you swore to protect? ”

“Are the business interests and enterprises of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, with their powerful board of Trustees far greater than the collective Nigerian Interest?”

Somebody please help me ask the President!


*Opinions are those of the author

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