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Friday, December 9, 2022

Gumi, others macabre dance with bandits

By Sunmola Olowookere


It is no longer hush-hush. Nigeria is going through a break or mar crisis. This is evident when one considers the level of insecurity in the land. However, we are still managing to hold on to our unity, albeit with a tenuous hold. The insecurity has placed our unity under a severe test.
The pessimists believe that Nigeria is on the brink of a civil war while some of them argue that it has started. Elders however try to hush them as these people that had witnessed war before tell them never prayed to witness another war in their lifetime.
On the other hand, the idealists are optimistic, they still believe in one Nigeria while the realists argue that Nigeria is a mirage. The idealists are still optimistic as they believe that despite the tenuous hold, Nigeria cannot break.
Following the uprisings that are springing up from different corners of the polity, many Nigerians believe that a conspiracy is brewing. They believe that a tribe has hatched a grand scheme to subsume or consume other tribes.
Even the clueless can see the unfolding grand plan of separatist elements among our leaders and people.
The concept of “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others” which was aptly played out in George Orwell’s Animal Farm is holding sway. While a tribe kill and plunder with abandon, it seemed they are beyond the long arm of the law.
In recent times, some ethics in Nigeria can only look on with helplessness and dismay as an ethnic which should be in the minority terrorise, kidnap, rape, maim and kill. No one could touch them as any form of resistance meted out to this group of people is noisily countered by their elites.
For almost half a decade, Nigeria and Nigerians are held by the jugular by these criminal elements believed to be of Fulani’s origin. Compared to former terrorist groups that had operated in Nigeria space, this latest group is more merciless, deadlier and ruthless. Unfortunately, they have no coherent demand. No one could understand what they are agitating for.
They are known as “Fulani herdsmen.” Although one could say that not all Fulani herdsmen are criminals, but the terrorists are known to hide under the guise of being herdsmen to perpetrate their heinous crimes.
They are arrogant and seemingly hold others not of their descent in disdain. This is evident in their relationships with people around them. They set their cows inside people’s farms to feed. When such farm owners muster the littlest form of resistance, they are countered by ultimate force.
As the history has it, they migrated to the south west, cap in hand and poor. The Yorubas then gave clothes and things they no longer need out to the Fulanis in their midst.
However, things were to later change as those treated as needy then became so powerful that they were able to turn on their benefactors.
Now to all Nigerians, the name Fulani herdsmen is synonymous with dread and death. The criminals among them if not all carry out dastardly acts wherever they are and wanton destruction followed in their wake wherever they go.
In times of war, it is a common practice for warriors to spare women and children in their onslaught. However, the mind of the Criminal Fulani herdsmen has no such milk of human kindness. From the attack on the Chibok girls to the recent case of the Jankara boys, they became more ruthless and daring.
In the case of the chibok girls, the young girls had become a ghost of themselves as many of them were assaulted, ravished, dehumanised and traumatized before their eventual release.
Till today, the bandits are still holding on to one of the girls. According to media reports, she was not released because she held on tenaciously to her faith in the face of daunting danger.
Since then, the attacks on innocent school children had become a recurring decimal. Few months after a similar operation in Katsina State, terrorists again swooped on another Government Science College, this time in Kagara Niger State.
A large number of students were abducted.
The bandits in military uniforms reportedly stormed the school premises which has a population of about 1000 students, overpowered the security guard, before whisking away the students.
A student who refused to be abducted was killed on the school premises, some students also escaped from the bandits.
Characteristically, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a military operation to rescue hundreds of schoolboys abducted in Niger state by suspected bandits.
Following the ugly trend, the Niger state government obviously alarmed ordered the closure of all boarding schools in the state.
One worrisome trend is the kid gloves being used by the northern leaders in dealing with the bandits.
When a country chooses to pamper bandits and reward, rather than punish criminality, it will eventually pay a very stiff price. Criminals are emboldened when they are treated with kid gloves.”
In this vein, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State should be commended for his stance against the criminals among the Fulani herdsmen. In the last one year, his administration had made concerted efforts to combat crime in the state.
The establishment and empowerment of the Amotekun security outfit is one of such steps. Recently, the Ondo state government had issued an order that all those occupying government reserves should register with the state government.
This was prompted by the activities of criminal herdsmen that kidnapped innocent and helpless citizens on our highways. Following the order, it was observed that the spate of kidnapping in Ondo State drastically reduced.
It is worthy of note that there had not been any report of kidnapping on our highways since then.
Other leaders too should take a cue from Governor Akeredolu. Handling criminalsand bandits like special citizens will not augur well for Nigeria and it’s people in the long run.
It is provoking and could make criminality seem inviting to other people of like minds if the government continue to handle criminals like VIP.
Does the nation not have the might to stamp them out like one would a worrisome warts? Are the bandits mightier than the state? These are worrisome thoughts. When criminals are feted and celebrated, how could those who feted them wriggle themselves out of allegations of complicity?
Why can’t we finget the ethnic terrorising Nigerians?
It has become crystal clear and it is beyond doubt that Fulani bandits are behind the carnage in the land, why should we shy away from saying so? Why do some leaders only come alive when other tribes talk tough about these people?
Should we fold our arms while the wanton plundering continue unabated while the bandits gain more power and ammunitions by the day?
According to a critic “Gumi acknowledges that those he met with in the Zamfara forests are Fulani and those Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State went to West African countries to pay ransom after they killed his people in Kaduna were Fulani. Those Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State said should carry Ak-47 rifles are Fulani. Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said that the killer herdsmen according to the debriefing from those kidnapped, speak Fulfulde, language of the Fulani.”
If Nigeria as a people would continue to exist as one, our leaders need to come together in one cohesive force and stamp out enemies of our unity without any recourse to racial tendencies.


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