By the time you are reading this the family of High Chief Olu Falae might have been compelled to cough out the 90 million blood money demanded by the hoodlums who kidnapped their patriarch. The rude barbarians who kidnapped him kept all of us in breathless suspense. However the High Chief was last Thursday released from barbaric captivity to reunite with his wife and family, and all the townspeople of the Ilu Abo community where he is King thereby ending the cruel drama occasioned by the audacious abduction of the respected Yoruba leader and brilliant technocrat.
Notwithstanding the displayed gallantry of the Nigeria Police and the robust professionalism of the IGP Solomon Arase we are still compelled to make one or two comments on the gravity of the colossal taunting of a whole race which the barbarity of the untamed Fulani herdsmen evoked and provoked. It is the height of provocation for members of one of the over 250 nationalities that were forced by un-negotiated marriage into a country to wantonly recklessly invade another nationality and continue to do so with stupendous impunity.
The attack on High Chief Olu Falae’s farm, the plundering of his plantation, and the deployment of dangerous weapons to frighten, harm and subsequently abduct and imprison a distinguished leader of the Yoruba nation is an act equal to declaration of war! And I am not exaggerating. As observed by Odumakin, it would be highly improbable that any member or members of the Yoruba race would invade the farm of Balarabe Musa, or Maitama Sule and commit the highly respected Nigerians to captivity.
What is happening in this country has gone beyond the ravaging habit of the tempestuous Fulani herdsmen known notoriously for their butchery and degradation of other nationalities across the country. They routinely invade other people’s farms, destroy their farm produce and top their vicious act with attacks on the defenceless owners of those farms.
A stop must be put to this nonsense.
I have said it on very many occasions that the danger posed by the barbarism of the Fulani herdsmen to the corporate existence of this country is worse than whatever we think the Boko Haram extremists are doing to Nigeria. There is hardly any part of Nigerian soil except perhaps Sokoto where the Fulani herdsmen have not wrecked havoc on the local communities. And we have observed that what these barbarians are doing is beyond cattle rearing or animal husbandry. People tending cattle do not have to be heavily armed with highly sophisticated weapons including AK47 automatic guns.
I submit with no fear of contradiction that the Fulani herdsmen are terrorist groups masquerading as nomadic herdsmen. And they should be treated as such and our Security agencies should better wake up to this reality and take the bull by the horn. We cannot continue to treat the marauding herdsmen with kid gloves and react to them as people above the laws of the land.
In the specific case of High Chief Falae, the herdsmen were alleged to have earlier vandalised his farm a trespass for which the chief sought compensation. On the day the abduction took place on the farm premises, some workers on the farm were accosted and assaulted and were forced to lead them to where the 77-year-old High Chief was and after identifying their victim, abducted him and took him away to an unknown destination after forcing him to trek a distance of 30 kilometers!.
The worry and concern of this writer is the fear of reprisal that may attend such banditry in the future. The Intelligence Community must put their ears on the ground and listen to loud whispers. Farmers in Benue, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Oyo, Ekiti and Osun to mention a few states that have had the macabre taste of the Fulani herdsmen are battle ready to go to war with any herdsmen that may provoke them again. Ugly and gory stories of Fulani herdsmen raping wives of farmers whose lands are vandalised and the slashing of ears, breasts, and even the abdomens of some women who fell under their wicked hammer are legendary.
The reality which Nigerians, particularly the lawless Fulani herdsmen should face is that no section of this country has a monopoly of violence. Even the highly tamed lamb can be violent if pushed to the wall. Should some crazy Fulani herdsmen push other members of the larger Nigerian community to react, they would discover to their chagrin that they would be maximally outnumbered by members of any community they taunt with their madness.
Nigeria is not the only country that raises cattle. And Nigeria is not the only country or the first country to harbour nomadic. The Fulani as a race spreads throughout West Africa and beyond. Why is it that it is only in Nigeria that we have this degree of extreme lawlessness?
It is believed that the Fulani herdsmen do have leaders. It is these leaders that the Federal Government must reach out to today and begin the process of instilling some sense into their skull. Nigerians no longer have the stomach to tolerate excesses from any quarter. The age and period of impunity is over, and over forever.
The abduction of High Chief Olu Falae on his 77th birthday was the unmitigated taunting of the titanic Yoruba race. The Yoruba, highly cultured and civilized people with rich history and tradition will not submit their nation to unwarranted attack by hoodlums whatever name such hoodlums call themselves.
It is gratifying and instructive that the non-nomadic members of the Fulani race are among the best in human virtues of decency, mild and gentle manners, sartorial elegance and good breeding. It is to such members that a strong appeal must go so that together as members of the larger Nigerian community, the taunting and provocation which characterize the Fulani herdsmen is brought to an end.
Let no section of this country provoke another war. And believe it or not, inter-ethnic war in a country of over 250 ethnic nationalities will be more gruesome in its ferocity and execution than a Civil War.
The Fulani herdsmen must take heed; you must swear not to taunt or provoke any section of this country again. You must not taunt the titan!