The activities of the Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria have changed drastically from their benign beginnings. Fulani herdsmen used to be known as harmless nomads, entrenched in their beautiful but exclusive culture, rearing cattle and selling locally made cheese for sale. The only instrument found in the hand of these herdsmen was a wooden rod used in directing the herds.
Herdsmen now move about with Ak-47 guns, cutlass, machetes, bows and arrows among other dangerous equipment, spoiling for a fight and looking for an excuse to harm/hurt others.
The activities of these herdsmen has posed as a major challenge to insecurity in this country but as usual with other issues militating against our development we’ve treated it with the usual kid gloves. The federal government under the leadership of President Buhari has approached the issue more from the ethnicity angle rather than the national challenge that it is.
At the earliest stage of this administration there was a massive attack on some individuals in Southern Kaduna by suspected Fulani herdsmen, the attack received a wide condemnations from all Nigerians but the state Governor downplayed this issue by approaching it from the usual ethnicity view, Governor El-Rufai stated that he met with the killers and paid them off!
Such statements should have warranted the impeachment of the Governor but we live in a country where everything goes, security agencies were immediately handicapped by such pronouncements by Governor El-Rufai and nothing was done.
The federal government have failed to accept the killers as fulani herdsmen rather they’ve chose to use words like bandits,foreigners, farmers Vs Herdsmen clash which literally means the farmers are the one propelling attacks by herdsmen.
There was a window of opportunity for the federal government to nail fulani herdsmen and their evil activities when the global terrorism index in November 2015 named them as the 4th most deadliest terrorist group in the world, but the government chose instead to ignore the index and have repeatedly maintained that Fulani herdsmen are not terrorists despite the increasing number of deaths arising from their unprovoked attacks.
The fact still remains Nigeria cannot continue to use the kid gloves to handle the Fulani herdsmen, we need to take action and the question still remains when will Nigeria place the terrorist tag on them?