- Fulani: Pastoralism, Herdsmen-Farmers Clashes, Anti Grazing Law, And A Call For Modernisation
By Abdulbaqi Jari
Who are the Fulanis? Fulani people are historical Nomads and itinerants from upper part of Futajallon in modern day Mali who regularly move from there to Central African Republic in search of greener pasture for their battles.
The recent pronouncement of anti grazing bill in Benue state does not come to me as a surprise considering the fact that there have been seres of killing and community clashes between people who always believed to be “Fulani herdsmen” and farmers. What many people don’t know is that this killings have been going on for the past 200 years or more in core Hausa states, since when Fulani usurped Hausa thrones in 1804. Almost every farming season there are clashes between Fulani nomads and Hausa farmers which results in lost of many lives. But that has always been underplayed because the rulers of those sized lands (Hausa States) are Fulani and that since they sized those lands they have created classes of people and disparity which has always favoured the Fulanis.
A typical Fulani man is like a Japanese in 1800 when they always caused trouble trying to conquer China, Korea and Russia, until when America put a stop to their greed. They are aggressive, fearless and conquerors. They move with their animals destroying farmlands and government at no point in time has ever called them to order or tried doing anything close to that.
The locals must also not plant on routes designated for nomads. That is a crime and instigation. The Fulani has lived as nomads for hundreds of years. To ask them to give up that lifestyle at once is unjust and may not work. The process should begin gradually till it is fully accepted by them.
Just as there is not anything like Kanuri-Shuwa, Gbagi-Nupe, Igbo-Ijaw, Arab-Jew or Korea-Japan despite their closeness and intermarriages, there has never been anything like Hausa-Fulani despite our similarities. Hausa and Fulani are totally different people. But we Hausa people are always at the receiving end and made to bear the consequences whenever Fulani went to any place to cause havoc. Yes, they are our brothers, but we Hausa people have suffered and paid more than we should covering for the Fulanis.
It is time the Fulani should accept modernity and build Ranches. It is in their interest and in the interest of Nigerians, peace and above all, their offsprings. They should learn to live in peace with local people. Any feeling of superiority must be dropped and equality accepted. The Mughals conquered India and ruled over it for 700 years, but ultimately, they were chased away at some point in time because they have refused to accept and mingle themselves with the Hindi people, denying opportunities on the majority and ill feelings.
I call on federal government to ensure justice for both Fulani killed in Numan, Tiv killed in Benue, Hausas, Igbos and any other person of any tribe killed unlawfully in Nigeria. That is the only way that will bring peace and tranquility in Nigeria. And also, an inter-tribal and inter-religious forums should be organised regularly to help in bringing peace in Nigeria. Not forums on papers or for influential people, but real forums without disparity and separation.