If there is any evil in the ongoing political dispensation that has assumed a worrisome dimension, it is undeniably the unprecedented and callous manner in which innocent lives of farmers are being cut short by virtually all Fulani Herdsmen. With the rate they are hacking our farmers to death, it would not be long for the present food crises that is becoming unbearable in Lagos and other cities to exacerbate beyond our understanding. Without mincing words, the Fulani Herdsmen have placed inconsequential value on human life in our country.
Millions of people find it difficult in slaughtering chickens, goats and other domestic animals. But ironically, it is crystal clear that Fulani Herdsmen seemingly take pleasure in exterminating the lives of others without even blinking their eyelids. Simply put, the life of any man in the estimation of these Fulani Herdsmen is just a “CowWorth”.
It is germane to say that screaming and gruesome news headlines in newspapers cast in the similitude of “Cattle Rearing: Night Grazing Ban In Enugu”, “Fulani Herdsmen Attack Enugu”, “Suspected Fulani Herdsmen Kill Farmers In Kogi, Benue”, “Fulani Herdsmen Sack Imo Community” neither hold readers spellbound anymore. Paradoxically, most newspaper readers are beginning to see screaming and gruesome news headlines as one of the elements of a good newspaper or magazine.
In a state of lamentation over how fast human lives are been wasted by Fulani Herdsmen, a frightened citizen jokingly opined that Fulani Herdsmen may not resist the deal of exchanging human life with a cow. He may not be wrong because the Fulanis so much value their cattles that they do not mind exchanging a Cattle for a human’s live. A saying has it that “It is safer to rustle the Cattle of Fulani Herdsman than to snatch his wife. They no longer see the lives of others as priceless. The callous manner they kill farmers these days, particularly in Kogi, Benue and Enugu axis is condemnable and mind-boggling. One may not be wrong to say that life is “CowWorth” in the estimation of Fulani Herdsmen.
Be that as it may, no sane human being will agree to trade the lives of others in exchange for Cattles. The value which humanity has literarily placed on human life is so inestimable that it would continue to defy being exchanged for a Cattle.
Though, this piece is not a sermon, the Fulani Herdsmen who I guess may not be Christians may be ignorant of David’s words in Psalm 139 verse 14 that say, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Life is so precious and valuable that a hackneyed aphorism aptly says “Life has no duplicate”.
In fact, one of the sacred commandments which God gave to Christendom through Moses on Mount Sinai in Exodus chapter 20 verse 13 is: “You Should Not Murder.” The Fulani Herdsmen may equally be ignorant of the fact that Cain violated this command by killing his brother, Abel, and that God was angry with him.
It is pertinent to ask; Why have Fulani Herdsmen decided to be terminating the lives of those that have for ages been hosting them for the grazing of their Cattles? The answer to this question is provided in 1 John chapter 4 verse 21: “And he has given us this command: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” I may not be wrong to say that the Quran, which I believe the Fulani Herdsmen are conversant with has a similar scripture to this. The truth is that most people that claim they love God do not love God. If they do, they would also love their fellow brothers and sisters. Many people hypocritically claim they love God whereas they do not love him. The Lord in Isaiah 29 verse 13 says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules by men. “
From moral perspective, does it mean Fulani Herdsmen who enjoy killing our farmers and raping our women do not have conscience? They are supposed to have it since conscience is physiologically inherent in any living human being: it has nothing to do with being religious or being sanctimonious.
The inspiration to write this piece emanated from the fact that human life cannot continue to be taken by each passing day through wicked acts. Also, the inspiration to write this piece is to sensitize Fulani Herdsmen that they cannot continue to perpetrate the evil of slaughtering other people as if they are cows. Even if Nigeria has been facing challenges of Boko Haram insurgency and kidnapping, Fulani Herdsmen should be sternly warned to shield their swords (or rather surrender their AK 47 as reported in the media) and be told that Nigeria has not degenerated to a Hobesian state of nature that is short, brutish and nasty.
Due to the seeming madness that an average Fulani Herdsman is afflicted with, my kinsmen in the southern part of Edo state can no longer go to the farm individually except in group. Gone were the days when a farmer would hurriedly pick his cutlass or hoe and dash across to the farm at wee hours with the hope of coming back to carry out other activities at home The Fulani Herdsmen have filled my people that were once reputed to be brave when it comes to navigating the thick forest with the rhapsody of fear!
One could recall with nostalgia how Fulani Herdsmen were almost inspiring the children in the 70s that children were wont to playfully imitate them by herding goats with long sticks in their hands amidst the scream “Kai, kai. Kai” at the herd of goats. Also, the “Abokis” as they were then called, were very friendly. Even the ones that usually come to our village’s 4-day interval market to buy various food items always rent a room and stay in the village for some days before going back to the north. They were friendly even with their passable English. However, at a point, still in the 70s, children began to dread them by derogatorily calling them “Ogudada”. For the sake of clarity, “Ogudada” simply means ritual killer. But the mutual suspicion did not result to any conflict as much as I can recall. Then, when called Ogudada they would jovially respond with the same derogatory word in a retaliatory manner. If I may ask, how come the Fulani Herdsmen no more friendly and no more value the lives of the people that have been hosting them and their Cattles for ages? If they were to be in their sane self I do not think there should be any issue about a peaceful co-existence. There is no more love lost between the farmers or better still the rural dwellers and the Abokis. Where did we get it wrong?
For us to get it right once again, I believe the minister of agriculture and rural development, Audu Ogbeh, should hit the ground running by providing grazing ranches across the country for Fulani Herdsmen. Also, security agents should on their part appeal to them to surrender the AK 47 they were reported to be wielding while herding their Cattle. Similarly, leaders in the northern part of the country should find a of sensitizing the Fulani Herdsmen that they should begin to have the fear of God and place high premium on human life. They can carry out the sensitization through the medium of Town Hall Meeting. It should not be a one-off strategy. It should be a continuous one until the killings are seen to have stopped. They should also be told to desist from reducing the value of human life to that of a Cattle.
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