Bloodshed is also Hurting real Fulani Herdsmen
The economics of beef is not that simple. At the up, mid and downstream sectors, millions of southern Nigerians earn their living. No one selling beef at any southern, middle belt and many northern markets buys directly from the Fulani herdsmen. There are middle men, traders, butchers, retailers and several hustlers sandwiched between the herdsmen and us, the consumers. Pound-for-pound, beef is the cheapest meat in the market. In fact, if we were buying directly from the herdsmen, beef will probably be half what we buy now!
In essence, as much as dent the pockets of Fulani herdsmen, stopping to consume beef, were it ever possible, will also upset the economies of thousands of southern Nigerian families. Where we have thousands of families, there are millions of people! I do not foresee it ever being practicable to place a lull on the consumption of beef in the south of Nigeria. As an interesting example, if we took a sincere census, we shall be amazed that we all have eaten much beef this past week, either directly with meals, or in the snacks that sustain our busy schedules.
The rather simplistic narrative of stopping the Fulani by avoiding their cows is not achievable! We need interrogate the issues deeper and more fruitfully. Truth is that the Fulani herdsmen that have been in our midst for decades have no issues with us. They know they need us as much as we need their cows. They know that quarrels with us on our lands will hurt their business. They have been very good neighbors all these decades, until now. Some of the questions we need ask is as follows
1). What has changed?
2). Who is sneaking at nights to murder our people?
3). Who stands to benefit from the chaos that bloodshed can cause?
4). What can be the motif?
The more we ask vital questions, the more our neighbourly Fulani herdsmen we’ve known for decades disappear from our list of suspects; the more the real guerrilla culprits, hidden in the dense forests, will be clear to us. This bloodshed is also hurting the real Fulani herdsmen, financially and mortally. “Intel” and the interrogation of a few murderous “Fulani herdsmen” apprehended is frightening:
1). They are no herdsmen and neither own nor herd cattle! 2). They all speak of being contracted and transported to locations to kill.
3). They accept that the Qur’an has not asked them to do this.
Put these tentative and scanty bits together and we have a frightful scenario of big men with budgets paying and arming mercenaries to masquerade as nightly “Fulani herdsmen” and commit murder.
I know that government’s sluggish ness is infuriating us all, but the truths will come out soon enough! It is so painful to know how many souls we have and are still losing. As we wait anxiously for revelations, solutions and peace, may the souls of the dead find eternal rest!
By Professor Babson Ajibade,
Department of Visual Arts and Technology,
Cross River University of Technology.
Source of feature image: leadership.ng