'My Fulani Story"
‘My Fulani Story’
A Nigerian pastor/farmer shares his experience with Fulani herdsmen.
(Editorial Comment) A pastor and farmer identified as Tay Martins, has bared his mind on the Fulani herdsmen saga which has been rocking the country for months now. According to him, there is a group of a vicious and sinister nature that is orchestrating these killings and trying to manipulate Nigerians into believing Fulani herdsmen are responsible. I have been trying to assess the herdsmen situation from several points of view. If you carefully engage the sixth sense, you will agree with me that certain things concerning this menace does not add up.
My opinion of the above is this: the pastor, Tay Martins, received an intelligence report about those who were behind the killings. In my belief, that intelligence report was credible and genuine. But someone somewhere, who wants him to disbelieve the credibility of the report wrote the pastor a letter purporting to be from Fulani herdsmen. Purpose of which to stir up religious sentiments in this killing saga and to consolidate his thinking with others, that the killers are Fulani herdsmen, contrary to what the report might have stated.
What I see here is a manipulation. There is a group of a vicious and sinister nature that is orchestrating these killings and trying to manipulate Nigerians into believing that Fulani herdsmen are responsible. As for me, the letter they sent the pastor just gave out their schemes. This manipulation is the handy-work of a group, a syndicate, somewhere.
Tay Martins’ Fulani Story
I am a Pastor and Farmer. I share a river from which I irrigate my farm with Fulani herdsmen. There they bring their cattle to drink water. There is a large stretch of my land that is yet to be cultivated. Sometimes I see these herdsmen feed their cattle from that part of my land. At first, I was worried and apprehensive of them bringing their cattle on it but from the distance where I watched, I saw them standing guard, preventing any of the cattle from coming onto the cultivated farmland. I saw how they speak languages (like a warning) at the cows and the animals obey by stepping back. I also watched how they beat (with their staffs) the hell of out of any cow that dared step into my farm. One day I walked over to them. As they saw me coming, they came towards me smiling like they already knew my worries. They greeted and spoke to me in fluent Yoruba language.
They told me not to worry about my farm; that they would secure it from the cattle. Then they begged me for water. I realized they could not drink of the river when and after the cattle step in. So, I took them to one of the surface tanks on my farm and told them they could come for drinking water as much as they need. They just took enough in a water bottle and left. At another time I engaged them in further discussions, where they told me that the cattle they cared for belonged to one popular Yoruba man, a man of my tribe. That they are only workers skilled in the keeping of cattle, working for my tribe’s man. I was amazed to hear that.
I don’t stay in the farm 24/7, but I have never returned to find the cattle have destroyed my crops. But there was a time their cattle, while drinking stepped on and broke my water irrigation pipe. I called their attention to it, they apologized sincerely and offered to pay for the replacement, which I refused. They promised to take extra measures to prevent it from happening again. At another time, I realized that they usually hang a scabbard (cover of sword or large knife) on their shoulder. Very funny, but then I asked, what is that sword for? I was expecting them to say something like: it is for protection against thieves that might want to steal their cows. But no, they told me they carry the knives around in case any of the cattle should die of sudden illness or snake bite, in which case they would quickly slaughter it and sell the beef. That it is unethical for them to sell beef of cattle that died before being slaughtered.
Sometimes they wave at me by the road side when I drive home from the farm, seeking a lift. Then I stop my car to pick them but won’t even recognize who they are. In the car they would ask: Sir, don’t you recognize us? We are the cattlemen. Amazed, I will shout: Wow! You’ve changed. We both laugh and they tell me: We are going to town to make some purchase and that is why they are not in herdsmen clothing. No conflict or violence with Fulani’s has ever been recorded in that village community to my hearing.
This is my own story with Fulani Herdsmen. I keep picture records of events on my farm, pictures that reflect some activities on my farmland. In the ordinary I would not have shared them for now. But if it could promote peace, why not? Maybe herdsmen are not the enemy here; I think about this all the time. Herdsmen attack? How are we sure they are Fulani Herdsmen? Is it because they come with their cattle when they attack? But they do not! I just don’t understand.
My message: let’s be very careful on what we think and what we say. I have noticed that a lot of unconfirmed videos and contents are flying around on our electronic devises. Let us employ the wisdom to verify all things and hold strong which is the truth. The first question you should ask yourself when you receive a content (video, image or text); would this promote peace or generate hate? Think twice before you share. Let us resist the powers that are trying to bring us into strife and divide. I know that many regions (if not all) have reason to be very angry. But the battle to win Nigeria back into her glorious destiny is not of bullet but of the mind. We need to be at peace with one another. Check out all the nations in conflict within themselves. No one is talking about development but about relief and humanitarian situation and solutions. What they will continue to get in place of development is death and destruction, until peace is first achieved. Peace is the platform or vehicle by which every good thing comes. Peace is not for free, we sacrifice for it. Peace does not stay or wait; we pursue after it.
How do we sacrifice for peace? I know many of us have lost so much or even too much already. Both Christians and Muslims, this nation mourns with you. But remember that every precious thing you have lost can only be regarded as sacrifice when you forgive. Forgiveness is the sacrifice we make for peace; and your sacrifices towards the unity and progress of this nation shall never be in vain. If not in your lifetime, your children shall speak of your good story. I plead with you; let us give peace a chance to survive –meaning: we are just about to kill peace.
A light in the tunnel: hope is very near. I can see God raising the next generation of liberal minded leaders. We (our generation) are younger and have seen better things and so shall do better things. If this generation of leaders that has ruled us since the beginning of Nigeria refuses to step off the mantle; I hope they are seeing the writing on the wall that their time is almost up. But if they refuse to retire and pass leadership to the next generation, nature is just about to retire them. As the next generation prepares, let us learn from their mistakes and not wallow in the same folly. God bless Nigeria.