Fenny Fwa Wriets:
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Consequently my strong statement of the emergence of local imperialism is grounded in the tendencies being exhibited by the herdsmen which are beyond comprehension.
On Tuesady, 31st January,there was invasion of Gereng village in Gerei local government bordering our chiefdom ie Mbula by the herdsmen loaded with sophisticated weapons undetected by security forces. Now it’s obvious that it was not a case of reprisal attack because since the existence of Gereng village and I stand to be corrected they have NEVER( emphasis mine) killed a herdsman and there was never a clash between the Gereng community and the Fulani herdsmen. But on Tuesday the herdsmen stormed Gereng with their cattle grazing somebody’s farm. When the owner tried to drive the cows out of the farm without attacking the cows or the herdsman he was instantly killed. The herdsmen also ambushed an innocent fisherman and hacked him to death. They encamped in particular place and the locals showed the mobile police that came on rescue mission but few gun shots scared the police who beat a retreat. Luckily, there was a reinforcement from the soldiers that saved the village from further casualties and from being burnt which has been their trade mark. The situation is, relatively speaking, under control, but so far the soldiers were unable to confront the herdsmen in their camp.
I have adequate information on this because the Gereng people are our neigbours and by virtue of my responsibility now as the man overseeing the activities of our chiefdom of behalf of my elder brother. We now have hundreds of the refugees in our villages and we are providing accommodation and other relief meager materials we can assist with.
There are concerted efforts from these people to attack our chiefdom from the Eastern flag. We were able to identify four local leaders of the herdsmen which I took them to the police and were cautioned and told that they will be held responsible If there was any outbreak of law and order from their people. A week later the same suspected group came fully loaded with guns hidden in a vehicle. We instructed our people not to confront them and the matter was reported to police who dispatched their men and the four ring leaders were apprehended. The herdsmen withdrew when their local ring leaders were arrested and made to sign an undertaking to be of good behavour. Two days later some of them came again. Sensing the ulterior motives of these herdsmen, the local farmers had other ideas. As at Tuesday night, the locals set the entire rich fadama covering about 12km with lush grass on fire and up to last night the bush fire was on. When some of the good Fulani men complained to us, we told them we didn’t order for this, but you have your people to blame for this. I even told them and they are aware, our paramount ruler himself has more cattle than them, but adopted this policy in the interest of the farmers first and then the herdsmen. The arrangement with these people is for them to enter the fadama in middle of February when the crops were harvested and because of the abundance of grass and water, their cattle never lacked food and were well fed during the march and April when must Cattle got malnourished and some eventually die for hunger. Here they are loosing cheap food that will last them during the period of drought.
Now how do I qualify this tendencies towards local imperialism?The herdsmen when the come attacking, they do not only kill their victims on reprisals, but they burn virtually all settlements, including houses, food stuff and livestock. The idea is to decapitate the locals not to rise again and to eventually use the entire settlements as grazing land.
Where the cows are the only looses incurred by the herdsmen which logically they should attack the livestock of the locals but that will be secondary. The primary targets are human beings and houses.
Thirdly the vogue now is not reprisals but to invade the farmlands of the farmers and when they resist, kill them and destroy their lives and sources of income.
Fourthly, the attackers have taken a national character because their attacks are perpetrated in all the nooks and crannies of the country thereby taking on all other nationalities except the areas that are populated by their people.
Finally, I want to commend the top echelon of Adamawa police command for their proactive actions to ensure some of their attacks by the herdsmen are nip in the bud before they blossom. I had cause to reach out to them and they also promptly responded. I have to particularly commend the commissioner of police. I met him a couple of times and he took his job with all the serious it deserves. He is no nonsense and wouldn’t mind to put anybody in his position, no matter who you are. Kudos also to the Area commander. He is a thorn in the flesh of his subordinates. He ensured that he never spared his men nor the farmers or herdsmen. Despite being a Fulani man he is a pain on their neck and at one time he was accused by herdsmen of betrayal and was targeted for elimination as he was nearly killed at last reprisals attack in kwayine.
Based on these, I have always argued against the condemnation of particular people as one could see with the display of complete commitment of the Area commander to his duty and his oath of office i.e being fair to all parties in a dispute. Similarly the effectiveness and efficiency of the police commissioner had shown that not all policemen are bad.
It therefore behooves on the government, the Fulani elites to work round the clock to find lasting solutions to this embarrassing social menace. It could sound like good music to some people’s ear that this our time to conquer, but that may be counterproductive in the long run. Remember that was how BH started. Some groups thought it was going to deal with particular groups, but as at today nobody is spared their mayhem.
This nation belongs to all of us and it is therefore imperative to do the right thing for us to enjoy peace and tranquility as well have a prosperous country for our generation and the generation yet unborn.