Fulani Herdsmen Have Replaced Boko Haram – Wole Soyinka Writes

fulani boko haram

April 28, 2016 – Fulani Herdsmen Have Taken Over From Boko Haram – Wole Soyinka Writes

Culture is closely intertwined with tourism – the former, in fact, often drives the latter. The destination uppermost in the minds of most tourists we know is – Culture.

This means that both share friends and – enemies. Of the principal enemies, seeing that we find ourselves within the precincts of governance, I intend to engage your attention in this brief address to just one: Insecurity. That inability of any vacationist to let go completely, relax, submit oneself completely to the offerings of a new environment – the sounds, sights, smells, textures and taste. Of

Culture itself, in and or out of the touristic intent, there is no ambiguity in the mind of its enemies. They make no bones about their detestation – call them Taliban, Daesh or Isis, al Shabbab or Boko Haram. Their hatred is pathological and impassioned to a degree that goes beyond the pale, beyond insanity and sadly beyond cure. The duty of governance towards such retrogressive outbreaks remains unambiguous.

After Boko Haram, what next? In fact, at this moment, Boko Haram has no ‘after’ since it is by no means ended, no matter what technical expressions such as “militarily degraded’ means. But let us assume indeed that we are already in the past of Boko Haram. It is now clear that the succession is already decided, the ‘vacated’ space is already conceded, and that the new territorial aspirants are already securely positioned. The entire nation appears to be theirs without a struggle, and the continuity of an established Nigerian necropolis north to south and east to west is being consolidated.

Some necropoles are actually architecturally fascinating. They attract visitors from distant places, but those are works of veneration, artistry and dedication. They are visual feasts, among whose structures the visitors actually picnic, leave flowers and symbolic gifts to hovering ancestors. Latin America is full of them. The Nigerian widening necropoles leave only the taste of bile in the mouth, the corrosion of hate, stench and rage.

When I read a short while ago, the Presidential assurance to this nation that the current homicidal escalation between the cattle prowlers and farming communities would soon be over, I felt mortified. He had the solution, he said. Cattle ranches were being set up, and in another 18 months, rustlings, destruction of livelihood and killings from herdsmen would be ‘a thing of the past’. Eighteen months, he assured the nation. I believe his Minister of Agriculture echoed that later, but with a less dispiriting time schema. Neither, however, could be considered a message of solace and reassurance for the ordinary Nigerian farmer and the lengthening cast of victims, much less to an intending tourist to the Forest Retreat of Tinana in the Rivers, the Ikogosi Springs or the moslem architectural heritage of the ancient city of Kano. In any case, the external tourists have less hazardous options.

However there is also internal tourism, to be considered a premium asset – both economically and in spirit of nation building and personal edification. This was an exercise I indulged in in the early sixties as by-product of other engagements, such as research. A lot however was simply under curiosity. I can claim, modestly claim to be among the top twenty-five per cent internally travelled Nigerians, acquainted with the smells, textures and tastes of their geographical habitation. I wish the late Segun Olusola were around to testify to the sudden bouts of tourist explorations we made in his Volkswagen Beetle in the pre-war sixties.

But now, would the young adventurous set out to visit the mystery caves of Anambra and its alleged curative pools from mere interest? They would think twice about it. It is not merely arbitrary violence that reigns across the nation but total, undisputed impunity. Impunity evolves and becomes integrated in conduct when crime occurs and no legal, logical and moral response is offered. I have yet to hear this government articulate a firm policy of non-tolerance for the serial massacres have become the nation’s identification stamp. I have not heard an order given that any cattle herders caught with sophisticated firearms be instantly disarmed, arrested, placed on trial, and his cattle confiscated. The nation is treated to an eighteen-month optimistic plan which, to make matters worse, smacks of abject appeasement and encouragement of violence on innocents. Let me repeat, and of course I only ask to be corrected if wrong: I have yet to encounter a terse, rigorous, soldierly and uncompromising language from this leadership, one that threatens a response to this unconscionable blood-letting that would make even Boko Haram repudiate its founding clerics.

It is now close to a year since I attempted to utilize the Open Forum platform of the Centre for Culture and International Understanding, Oshogbo, to launch a national debate on the topic – SACRED COWS OR SACRED RIGHTS. The signs were already clear and the rampage of impunity was already manifesting a cultic intensity of alarming proportions. For reasons which are too distasteful to go into here, the forum did not take place. We were already agreed that General Buhari be invited to give a keynote address, based on his long experience in such matters as former head of state, and as a cattle rearer himself who might be be able to penetrate the mentality of this ‘post-Boko Haram’ pestilence’. That challenge remains open, but should now involve this gathering, which surely includes tourist and educational agencies. They should join hands with human rights organisations, the Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and local Vigilante associations etc. It is a gauntlet thrown down to be picked up, and urgently, by any of the affected or troubled sectors of society, or indeed any capable and interested party at this conference. The CBCIU is prepared to collaborate.

Let me narrate a personal experience – just one among many – that was brought home to me, right against my doorstep. Before that specific happening, I had observed a change of quality in forest encounters with cattle herdsmen over the years. These changes had become sufficiently alarming for me to arrange meetings with a few governors and, later, with the late National Security Adviser General Azazi. At the time, we thought that they were Boko Haram, infiltrating into the south under guise of cattle herding. That was then, and of course that surmise has never been firmly proven or disproved.

Recently however, I returned from a trip outside the country about to find that my home ground had been invaded, and a brand-new “Appian way” sliced through my sanctuary. That ‘motorable’ path was made by the hoofed invaders. Both the improvised entry and exit are now blocked, but interested journalists are invited to visit. In over two decades of living in that ecological preserve, no such intrusion had ever occurred. I have no idea whether they were Fulani or Futa Jalon herdsmen but, they were cattle herders, and they had cut a crude swathe through my private grounds. I made enquiries and sent alerts around, including through the Baale of our neighborhood village. There has been no repeat, and hopefully it will remain the first and last of such invasion. What it portends however is for all thinking citizens to reflect upon, and take concerted measures against.

Herdsmen, let us appreciate, are perhaps humanity’s earliest known tourists. They must be taught however that there is a culture of settlement, and learn to seek accommodation with settled hosts wherever encountered. The leadership of any society cannot stand idly and offer solutions that implicitly deem the massacres of innocents mere incidents on the way to that learning school. For every crime, there is a punishment, for every violation, there must be restitution. The nomads of the world cannot place themselves above the law of settled humanity.

[By Prof Wole Soyinka ]

10 thoughts on “Fulani Herdsmen Have Replaced Boko Haram – Wole Soyinka Writes

  1. PART OF D CHANGE YOU ALL WANTED . THEY NEVER REPLACED – THEY ARE BOKO-HARAM PRETENDING TO BE FULANI-HERDSMEN !. WE KNOW ,FATHER MBAKA FOR CHANGE -DEM DON ENTER UR TOWN OOOO . GBAGANNNN !!!.FULANI-HERDSMEN LOVE ENUGU BCOS NA FATHER MBAKA SAY JONATHAN MUST GO 4 FULANI TO STAY !!!.

  2. This piece from one of Nigerian statemen-Prof. Wole Soyinka is a called for sanity and orderliness in way and brutal manner the Fulani Herdsmen have been invading other people’s farms, killing the dwellers, and destroying unfortunate community in the name of feeding their cattles or cows. I want to also believe that some left over sophisticated weapons and ammo from Boko Haram terrorists have gotten to the hands of the Fulani Herdsmenm. What is going on in Nigeria these days? What are Fulani cattle headers doing with such modern weapons of war like the AK47? If this administration didn’t rise up to challenge and stop the invasion of other Nigerian farms and communities by the cattle headers, the aftermath will be very brutal and Nigerian unity will be greatly at stake because other will fight back with more sophisticated weapons against the invaders or the intruders. President Buhari administration from now on should give directives and order that any Fulani Headers caught with weapons or guns and destrying people’s farmsshould be instantly disarmed, arrested, jailed, placed on trial, and all his cattles seized for quick auction. This is a matter of serious urgency before things fall apart.

  3. I have come to appreciate that the Nigerian govt is neither pre-emptive nor swift to correct things when they wrong. It is not a difficult thing to curtail the overbearing ways of Those herdsmen that have thrown many communities into mourning if the will is there. But, sadly, there is no such thing.

    While the govt is waiting to tidy up issues with the proposed grazing fields, they ought to make policies that would affect the Alhajis that own cattle herds such that when their herdsmen go out of control, the law would come after the Alhajis and make them pay severly for the loss. I strongly believe that this whole plague would be over if only the cattle owners are forced to co-operate by seriously warning their employees against clashing with and killing unarmed people.

  4. These fulani herdsmen are more deadly than book haram. Another bad group we all should be careful of. May God have mercy.

  5. Fulani Herds men has murdered so many people in Benue state and no body nothing, they kill and destroy life’s DSS did nothing about it, when they Kidnapp Olu Falae IG of Police came out in full force and arrest the situation and the perpetrators, but the life’s of those Killed by this (Fulani’s) was not attend to untill now that they decided to wipe out a village, DSS saw few body’s we could not identify if the are Fulani in the shallow grave in Abia State they went broadcasting it all over the media, but forget to broadcast the life’s of innocent people killed by this Terror groups, it was because of Olu Falae MTN Nigeria are paying this fine of $5 Billion, tell DSS are they working for Hausa’s? we wanted change to come from South West, West, East and not from NORTH,Obasanjo wanted to take that make the changes but YORUBAS who could not see choose to be blind adn we still remain blind. Yorubas wake to reality, and stop prostrating yourselves to the floor for Hausa’s.

  6. Its wake up call to everyone now that things have to change,old make way for new. it is not business as usual and impunity is fast becoming a thing of the past, we need to move the nation forward; the answer to most of our problem is strategic planning and good legislation backed up by will to enforce the law. Information also can help if the government can use medias houses especially radio to disseminate essential legislation regarding cattle rearing and grazing in various local languages to inform the people of the laws and the repercussion if law is broken. people need to know where they stand and to take notice that if they cross the line they will be dealt with lawfully; the cattle rearers and their shepherds will not have any excuse for braking the law. where there is no law anarchy takes hold.There can also be free phone lines to alert the relevant agencies of any breaches within their community so as to mitigate any escalation. Government need to take the bull by the horn before things get out of hand because people will defends themselves by what ever means when their life or livelihood is threatened or at stake; it is human nature.

  7. May God contnue to give you long life and in good health,AMEN. prof,you are only the eyes of blind Nigerians, voice of the voiceless, keep on telling them the truth, tell this government the total truth,they will not lock you up as they did previousley when you come out and spoke against the killings of innocent Biafrans in mid 60s by this wicked fulanis that known nothing than blood letting.over 300 hundred innocent people where killed in AGATU, no body said anything,oh no, i can not believe that we are living in a nation where blood of the innocent are poured out every day, after watching the video of agatu, i hate every leaders in Nigeria who did not rise and speak against the killings, espercial innocent children by this Fulanies.there is God, he will judge all of you soonest.

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