Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Fulani Plague: an indictment of Tiv leadership

It is said that activity or movement does not necessarily translate to progress, and peculiar problems require peculiar solutions.

There has been a lot of activity employed to bring a lasting solution to the continuous attacks on Tiv people by Fulani herds men, whom have over the years transformed from peace loving, stick and sword caring men, to machine gun wielding terrorists. Who employ both physical and supernatural means to kill, destroy and displace those whose villages they have grazed through for decades.

The reasons for this violence, apart from obvious terrorism and acquisition of grazing land and dominance, range from attacks by Tiv men on cows, which on many occasions destroy farm produce belonging to these Tiv men, provoking them into retaliation. Others include disagreements over use and ownership of lands, which are allocated to these Fulani men by traditional rulers in those localities. In many cases the allocation of these lands is not in accordance with the wishes of other members of the locality,  while in other situations Fulani herds men encroach on lands that are not allocated to them,
The approaches that have been used to tackle this tragedy have mostly been, reactionary, cosmetic, short term and some even counterproductive. Despite all the blood that has been shed and the atrocities committed by this men, Fulani men wielding swords still walk our markets unafraid and graze through our towns and villages as though all is well .

A problem of this magnitude cannot be solved by an uncoordinated or unwholesome approach; this continuous assault must first be recognized for what it is, an insult and assault to and on the entire Tiv race. Thus, for this problem to be put to a final stop, the approach must change from talk, committees, reports and arming of militias, to something more proactive and long lasting. The entire Tiv race, championed by all its leaders, irrespective of affiliations or sentiments must come together with one purpose and an unyielding resolve to ensure the end of this senseless massacre. A well thought out and permanent plan or solution must be forged and then implemented with ruthless efficiency. Such a plan or solution should involve traditional and political leaders, the legislature, the federal government, the security forces, the Fulani community, civil right organizations, leaders of neighboring states, and all Benue sons and daughters of influence, home and abroad.

Now sadly, while Fulani herds men constantly kill, rape, destroy farms and produce and displace our people from their villages, our leaders carry on with their lavish political life styles as if all is well, these people who are victims of terror have house of assembly members, at the federal and state levels, they have chairmen and councilors, they have a governor, But their plight is worse than that of a people who do not have an identity or representation, the leadership seem to be disconnected with the realities these people face. The fear of being attacked and killed at any time and losing their only source of food and income, their farms, is clear and present. Some of those who run into town are left with no choice but to live in uncompleted buildings around town, many young women become prostitutes to feed themselves and family while boys take to crime. But how can our leaders know this? they seldom visit these places, as soon as they are elected, they become larger than life, they are mostly in Abuja or Jerusalem or Dubai or celebrating birthdays and thanks giving’s at every other date and too busy being too busy.              
While their people perish, they indulge in petty political rivalry, power tussle and politics of greed and self-interest; they do not remember the reason why they were even elected, till it is another election season. On another hand, most Tiv youths have lost all sense of belonging and responsibility to their father land and people; they have followed the path of our politicians and shamelessly fight themselves over crumbs that fall from the tables of their masters.

Even more sad is the fact that our people have this - “as long as it does not affect me directly, it is not my business” approach to all problems facing their society and this ignorant ideology has caused lot of setbacks to us as a people.

Problems that can only be tackled with unity and collective effort cannot be solved because our people are disunited and not concerned about their fellow man, until one of them is eventually directly affected. When this happens the rest sympathize and move on. The Tiv people of old where know to be united and known to hid the “Ayatutu” cry of their brothers, “one for all and all for one”.

Sadly, most of the capable and influential Tiv people seem to be more concerned with the selfish interests and spoils that can be gotten from politics, than the collective advancement, image and survival of their race, while many others, especially the academia, are not concerned at all.

Traditional structures that ought to be our last defense against bad leadership and external forces have fallen and lost its voice, due to greed, and partisan politics. Fulani herds men have killed hundreds and displaced thousands of Tiv people, while destroying properties worth billions, they attacked the home of the late Tor Tiv some time ago and till today meetings are continuously being held, committees being formed and funded and reports and statements made, while the Fulani continue to attack, kill, rape and occupy our farmlands, the same lands where our ancestors grew the food that fed us, the same lands where our ancestors lay buried, possibly wondering what has gone wrong with their children.

Ahile Kashami Ahile

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