A small spark has developed into a conflagration threatening to consume Nigeria. That spark was ignited by the unabated killings, farm destructions and consequently farming disruptions, kidnapping for ransom ostensibly by the ubiquitous Fulani herdsmen, which the Federal Government through its security agencies has failed to combat giving impetus to the often held belief that the criminals have the back of the Federal Government particularly of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is widely known to be the Life Patron of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), the socio-cultural umbrella body of cattle breeders in Nigeria. The association was founded in the early1970s in Kaduna and became operational in 1979. Its major task is to protect the interest and rights of cattle breeders in the country. President Buhari has always been associated with the association and he has never made any conscious attempt to extricate himself from this notorious link. That members of MACBAN, swelled by imported Fulani men from other countries in Africa and linked with such heinous crimes under the names such as bandits and terrorists, without strenuous efforts to curb their activities through arrests and prosecutions as a deterrent measure even though they brazenly and openly bear AK-47 and other assault weapons, have continued to raise suspicions that the marauders are part of a grand plan of the Fulani people to seize the whole of Nigeria not only politically but physically particularly in terms of taking over ancestral lands of the various natives. The audacious displacement of people from their ancestral homes being witnessed in many parts of the country particularly in the Middle Belt zone of the country without concerted efforts by the security forces to dislodge the imperialists no doubt gives credence to this allegation.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Chief of Army Staff and Defence Minister, General Theophilus Danjuma, both who are not Fulanis have raised this issue in national discourse. While Obasanjo made reference to Fulanization and Islmaization agenda, Danjuma alleged that the Nigerian security forces are complicit in the agenda. Again, no efforts were made to debunk the weighty allegations. With the heists of the pre-colonial Nigeria when the Fulanis under the leadership of Othman Dan Fodio, an Islamic scholar in Gobir, later renamed Sokoto, declared a jihad in the guise to reforming Islam starting in Gobir, then an Hausa kingdom under an Hausa Seriki (king), which saw the jihadists sweeping down south in furious onslaughts, it’s forgone conclusion that the thought of another evil agenda will rankle in the minds of the generality of non-Fulanis, more so when such eminent presumably knowledgeable personalities in the mould of Obasanjo and Danjuma alluded to it. The Governor of Benue State, a state that has come under intense attacks by the marauders has also stated this for the umpteenth time that all the attacks were to take over Benue lands. The taciturnity of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and his penchant to taking up the cudgels on behalf of these criminals only add to the veracity of the claims and his alleged tacit support to the marauders.
To say Nigeria is now at the brink is to say the obvious. Because different nationalities that make up Nigeria are daily becoming conscious of their identities and are all belching self-determination. In fact, the Igbo youth of the South East and the Yoruba people of the South West are ardently agitating for self-determination and ultimately a breakaway from Nigeria. The agitations are gaining momentum and its purveyors appear real and serious especially in the South East with the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) now waging a fierce battle with government security forces even as Unknown Gunmen, now target security agents for elimination and burn police facilities.
The sad thing is that the Federal Government has failed to take the necessary steps to stem the slide towards the country tumbling from its present fumbling and wobbling surge. Conflict management requires that the Federal Government looks into the various people’s grievances holistically with a view to assuaging frayed, insecure nerves but rather than do this, it has gone out blazing from all cylinders to quell the agitations by force. Suppression by force of arms has its limits and things appear to be nearing the limit as far as it is concerned in the Nigerian situation. Many nationalists have identified and called for genuine restructuring and are still agitating for it noting it is the panacea to the many hullabaloos assailing the country but the Federal Government in its ill-conceived wisdom and illusion has remained inflexible to this patriotic call. National dialogue always is a better option because after war you still come back to the roundtable but when a party is conceited and is bloated in the belief that it can suppress emergencies then doom may teach it a bitter lesson. It is sad that in Nigeria many government leaders always nurse the belief that they are Mr. Know All and cannot falter, that is the only explanation to this unfolding scenario in the country, a case of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. It is high time government rose to the challenge before the Rubicon is crossed and the situation becomes impossible to salvage. Nothing is impossible. Even impossibility is vulnerable to quote a writer, Akin Atolugbokun.