Herdsmen’s attacks, Okowa and police escort

Fulani Herdsmen

I Greet you, the great farmer. Surprise to see you at home, at a period farmers tend their crops jealously and with pride. Hmmm! My brother, thanks for your concern. I should be there soon, only waiting for the police. The police! What for?

My brother, too much water has gone under the bridge and we don’t know which direction the nation’s ship is sailing. Things are falling apart, everyone seems no longer at ease and the centre cannot hold, even the falcon no longer hears the falconer. The majority of the people take delight in crime, they rape, kill and destroy entire community in ecstasy and nothing happens.

Is that why you are waiting for the police before going to your farm? Well, you seem to be the only one without a clue of what is happening to farmers in this community. Have you not heard about the quit notice?

You don’t mean it! Which quit notice? The Arewa youths’ quit notice to Igbo to vacate the north? How would that affect an ordinary farmer like you here in the south-south?

Besides, the quit notice should be condemned outright by all right-thinking people and especially the bulk of northern leaders. Unless they want the whole world to believe the script played out by the so-called Arewa youths is not only written but ordained by them. I hope the arm of the law will not be twisted to bring those behind such treasonable crime to book.

Good talk! You see, the rehearsal of that script is being carried out by herdsmen and our peaceful community is now a war zone. Oh gosh! Be serious, what are you insinuating? Quit notice, police and herdsmen rehearsal. Is there a nomadic school in this community?

Sorry, please excuse me for a moment. I need to check if the police are ready. Or did you see any police patrol vehicle on your way? No, not at all! By the way, why are you so serious about the police? Abi you want to report the quit notice threat and the herdsmen rehearsal to them?

Jokes apart! In no time, if urgent action is not taken, the nicknamed Sambisa forest in Abraka will sooner or later be too hot to handle. What are you talking about, Sambisa forest in Abraka? But there are no reports of abducted school girls in the community.

Hmm, are you in this country at all? Haven’t you heard that the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa has mandated armed mobile policemen to escort farmers to their farm lands, due to the escalating attacks and killings in farms by rampaging herdsmen in several communities in the state?

Certainly, the way things are shaping out nowadays in Nigeria is very sad. It is even more disheartening to learn of how our political leaders handle issues with levity that affect the masses. Such is the case in point, as governor Okowa chose to romance the herdsmen and farmers crisis when he said: “The operatives [policemen] are providing security there [Abraka and Osissa] and currently escorting farmers to their farmlands … the Federal Government needs to speak up on this matter as this is very important if we are to have a way forward on this matter.”

For God’s sake! What does Okowa want the presidency to say or do, that he cannot borrow from Things fall apart? Chinuea Achebe’s ever-green novel where he wrote: “If a man comes to my house and defecates inside what do I do, do I shut my eyes? No, I will take a stick and break his head…” Indeed, the herdsmen are able to cause all this havoc because of government’s weakness and when a people know that the law and government do not protect them, unrest is inevitable.

Please calm down and take it easy, you young people are too quick to anger. We don’t need the biblical Moses law of an eye for an eye, in the 21st century because it will only help to escalate the violence. However, governor Okowa ought to have taken a cue from Ayo Fayose, the Ekiti State governor who used the law in a civilised manner to checkmate herdsmen’s atrocities in his state by passing the anti-grazing law.

Wait a minute! Was there not the hue and cry from the Nigerian public as they call on the Federal Government to recruit more manpower into the Nigerian police force because Nigeria is grossly under-policed? Therefore, where would the Delta State governor find the number of policemen to adequately undertake this special task on famers escort?

Does he even have the census of the farmers in Abraka and their scattered farmlands ? More so, will the policemen wait until the farmers finish work on their farms and take them back home?

No doubt, political jobbers are seriously at work. The escort programme could be a perfectly designed scheme to earnestly deplete the already paucity of funds in the state. Without being told, in less than three weeks into the programme, the governor is already feeling the economic heat as he was recently reported to have said: “…about 126 policemen are already resident in Abraka on a high cost to the state”.

Of course, the need for state police is becoming very obvious by the day and we should not shy away from it. More so, the honest agitation for restructuring of the country to a true federation cannot be further ignored.

Could that be the reason behind the call for the 2014 confab report by the Senate?

Let’s watch and see the abracadabra and drama waiting to unfold with the call for the confab report. In earnest, it will be easier for the head of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the 2014 confab report passing through the National Assembly for implementation. Perhaps, sensing that the confab report speaks volume in the minds of Nigerians, a call for it could help douse the tension in the polity and it is possible the Assembly will drag its feet on it, conduct 2019 elections and finally pass the confab report on to the ninth Senate.

Indeed, the deception called Nigeria is playing out everyday in several quarters from the unguarded comments, quit notices, agitations here and there, body language and so on. Above all, ethnic bias is no longer hidden among the nationalities and our leaders are playing politics with the issues.

Please don’t drag me into a quagmire! I must leave you at once, where is the police escort? I am running late to resume work in my farm.

Just a minute! In the face of these lingering herdsmen attacks across the country, how will the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government achieve its agricultural promise to grow what we eat and especially so for Delta State government whose age-long mantra “Delta without oil” continue on track now that farming is being threatened and farmers killed and prevented from their major occupation by persons from a distant tribe? Yet, the governor is waiting for the Federal Government to speak.

Don’t be fooled my brother! Okowa needs the talk badly like the air we breathe. This is because if you cast your mind eyes to all the crises that have happened around the country in the recent past, you will agree that our government is NATO (No Action Talk Only). Therefore, Okowa is right to seek the Federal Government to say something because, after the talk, the matter ends there and life goes on.



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