I am saddened that the former Governor of Kano state, Senator Rabiu Kwakwanso, a man whom I have always considered a friend and whom I have always respected could insult our reverred Yoruba elders. Yesterday, during a function in Ibadan, it was widely reported in the media that he asserted that the recent demand by the Yoruba elders that all Fulani herdsmen ought to be banned from the south west as a consequence of the atrocities that they have been committing is somehow inappropiate and misguided.
Instead of stopping there he went further and concluded by telling the Yoruba elders to ”shut up”. Such impudence is rarely seen and this final insult may represent a defining moment in the history of the relationship between the Yoruba and the Fulani in our country. Worse still, this comes barely a few weeks after Chief Olu Falae, a much-loved 77 year old Yoruba elder, was abducted, incarcerated, stripped naked, beaten, matcheted, maimed, force-marched, humiliated and kidnapped by a group of Fulani herdsmen. Unlike many others Chief Falae was lucky to escape with his life because before and since his abduction many other victims of these Fulani cattlerearers have not.
These aliens have become herdsmen and cattlerearers by the day but terrorists, murderers, vagabonds and rapists by the night. They have become an affliction. That is what we have to live with in the south west and many other parts of southern Nigeria today.The Yoruba are still hurting from the abductions,murders, raids and consistent violence being meted out to them by these creatures from hell.
Many Yoruba farmers are still living in trepidation of being attacked and butchered by the vagabonds and many have had to sit by helplessly as the heartless beasts raped and slaughtered their wives and daughters before their very eyes. Instead of attempting to calm our nerves and allay our fears by reaching out to us with an olive branch and condemning the criminal actions of his Fulani kith and kin, Kwakawnso has instead indulged in his provocative and dangerous intervention.
It is a manifestation of the crass arrogance that some Fulani leaders have cultivated over the years that they feel that they can insult us in this way and get away with it. Worse still they seek to defend, rationalise and condone the activities of their barbaric and murderous herdsmen and cattlerearers who have murdered, raped and pillaged thousands of our people and forcefully taken our lands and crops over the last few years.
I will leave it to Afenifere, the Yoruba Council of Elders, the OPC and others to respond to Kwakwanso and those he represents because these are the groups and people that speak for the Yoruba nation. The only thing that I will say is that Kwakwanso’s thesis and theory about education being the answer to the menace and criminal activities of the Fulani herdsmen in the south west does not make sense. It has no basis in logic, rationality or reason.
In any case if the herdsmen are not properly educated and do not know how to behave in a lawful and civilised manner when they are in the territory of others whose fault is that? Is it not the fault of Kwakwanso and the other Fulani leaders who have refused to enlighten and educate their people over the last 50 years? That is the bitter truth.
You cannot stop those herdsmen that have chosen to be murderers, vagabonds and rapists by simply educating them because what they do is inherent within them. Those that have chosen the path of criminality and violence are suffering from a sociopathic and psychotic disposition. Simply put they have an insatiable bloodlust and an irresistible desire to hurt others and to steal, maim, rape and kill. When I say this I am not referring to all Fulanis but only to those Fulani herdsmen who insist on indulging in violent and deviant behavior in our land.
The only thing you can do to stop such people is to make them face the full wrath of the law for the crimes they have consistently committed and ban them from entering our territory. It has nothing to do with education. We do not want these herdsmen amongst us anymore because they are like a plague. All they do is kill, steal and destroy. They have done it throughout the Middle Belt for the last 50 years and now they are doing it in the south and particularly in Yorubaland.
Do Kwakwanso and the other Fulani leaders expect us to keep quiet whilst their people are terrorising, slaughtering and robbing ours? If so they are in for a big shock. We will not only not keep quiet but we will also continue to insist that they must get out of our land. And if the government refuses to protect us from them we shall take strong measures to protect and defend ourselves and our people. There is no crime in self defense.
The days of talking down to us, treating us with contempt and treating us like slaves are long over. Kwakwanso and those he represents should not test our will or underestimate our resolve. We want peace but it cannot be at the expense of our lives and the liberty and safety of our people. The Yoruba cannot be butchered at will or treated like sacrificial lambs to the slaughter by anyone or any group of people. Senator Kwakwanso’s insult on the Yoruba elders will not go unanswered. Education is not the solution to the problem of the murderous Fulani herdsmen. Expulsion is.
Femi Fani Kayode is a former Nigerian Aviation minister
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