By Tony Marinho
Chibok Girls are still missing since April 15, 2014 and add the 105 or 110 Dapchi Girls to our hearts broken by the horrifying excesses of the Fulani herdsmen ‘Not Yet A War’ with deaths in their many 1000s and over 1,200 churches and countless homes in villages and towns and burnt and millions as IDPs.
What is war? Just this week another 25 or 32 in one new incident of massacre and mass murder. Among others, on March 17, Sahara Reporters reported an attack on an army GOC’s convoy with four soldiers killed and many injured. If the attack on farmers is ‘the farmers’ fault and ‘passive provocation’ for ‘being there’, is the attack on Nigerian soldiers by superior firepower ‘their fault’ or a Declaration of War, DOW, beyond the scope of any armed forces operation ‘whatever’ requiring a Senate-led declaration of war if the president, patron of herdsmen, tarries?
Meanwhile we dismiss this murderous rampage in a sentence on the news and go on eating meat, suya and chatting. I did see four trailers bearing cows to Lagos on the expressway- the right direction. Eat only locally grown meat that did not cost the blood of fellow Nigerians. Degrade the value of cows. An unsellable cow is as worthless as a dead cow. If we are forbidden to be armed and defend ourselves with weapons let us forbid ourselves from eating cows and use our brains. If we agree that the Fulani herdsmen war is wrong, we must judge their produce un-buyable because of Nigerians’ blood shed and livelihoods destroyed. We must not support their war with our funds! The product of the Fulani herdsmen – cows – will quickly lose value on the ‘Nigerian Kitchen Table and Livestock Exchange’. Initiate a fasting from meat as we pray. We have a right to buy or not to buy alternative meat sources. No single Nigerian will die from not eating cow meat.
Fulani herdsmen proxy war is not the time to pretend that ‘murdering, burning, pillaging and laying waste the land’ are not established weapons of war and nothing else. They are a pure act of war and terrorism, terrorizing the landscape and our children. What made us so insensitive? Surely the viciousness and monumental loss of so much potential must reveal the urgency for everyone in all media to act morally responsibly and begin every report with an updated number of dead from the Fulani herdsman ‘Not A war’ onslaught against Nigeria!
How many more must die for being born a farmer in Nigeria against AK-47 weaponized ruthless killers fearless of the armed forces and police? Are the Fulani herdsmen a protected paramilitary rampaging arm of government? There is devastation in the land. Soon everyone will know someone who has suffered this violence as with The Okada Epidemic. How many more will die before an end to this calculated mayhem?
They are all around and everywhere. On Wednesday March 14, it was my turn to be a victim of an armed robbery attack at 4pm on the Ibadan-Lagos side of the expressway around Km 45, one kilometre after the Ipara, Ogun State flyover and police station, a slim tall man strode into the middle of a face-me-I-face you section of the road under repair. I thought madman but he waved violently and brandished a black machete with a straight not curved end. I saw the red in the eyes of the machete-wielder and a blackened face I learnt was a concoction. My driver, Mr Simeon shouted ‘armed robbers’ and I saw a gun pointed at us by a green T-shirted robber on my right as we veered to the left and the cement construction blocks. A car came from behind and beside us and slammed into our front fender, trapping us against the concrete. We reversed away towards other armed robbers, numbering about 10 encircling about six vehicles behind us pulling the occupants from the vehicles. We reversed violently opening a space between two cement blocks and fell backwards into the trench and miraculously out on the other side into a lane under construction. We were about to drive forward to a gap between the concrete blocks when a car crashed in front and straight across the road and unfortunately plunged down a ravine and disappearing pursued immediately by two robbers. We drove forward 25 metres forward to a break in the barriers, made a U-turn facing Ibadan and drove through the remaining three or four robbers aiming guns at us. I saw the white of the eyes of the armed robber with a gun aimed at us. I stared down the barrel and ducked. No shot. We drove fast through the cordon to safety and the Toyota Corolla car tires and engine were undamaged. We drove to Ibadan and Stations of the Cross in Church of the Ascension in Bodija where we found irreparable damage to doors and skirting from the escape. We are alive and well, unscathed and unrobbed! No personal injuries, Thank God and Mr Simeon.
The armed robbery for us was in slow motion, an Einsteinian warp in space and time but actually 30 or 60 nightmare in broad daylight, but a person almost certainly died. There were additional reports of at least two robberies on the road on Thursday. Whither Nigeria?
NB: Uncover ‘I LOVE NIGERIA’ KNOWLEDGEABLE CANDIDATES for 2019 -SDG 16.