• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Ruga: An unadulterated monkey business

Ruga

There are many definitions of a monkey business but in the “operational definition of terms” for this treatise, it is an issue that raises more questions than answers, a shenanigan or something shrouded in deceit, leading to a the more you look, the less you see scenario.

Literary folks usually talk about narratives and how people, consciously or unconsciously, change the narrative. The narrative around the herdsmen has been changed of late. Up till two years ago, it was normal to speak about Fulani herdsmen; but not anymore. Now, they are just herdsmen. These non-Fulani herdsmen invade communities, murder, maim, rape, raze and at times occupy (the original scorched earth model) but we call it farmers-herders clash. How can a farmer with a hoe clash with a deadly armed troop? How many of the herders have been killed in these numerous farmers-herders clash? (And we even put the farmers first so that its farmers-herders; not herders-farmers).

Of late we were told that the herdsmen, who are no longer Fulanis and who only clash with farmers, are no longer Nigerians. On May 13, 2016, our dear president declared in faraway London that the murderous and rampaging herdsmen were not Nigerians and he was sure that they were from Libya! He restated this assertion during his bilateral talks with Donald Trump, the author and finisher of ‘trumpocracy’ in Washington on 30 April 2018, absolving Nigerian herdsmen (not Fulani herdsmen) of any criminal capabilities and tendencies.

In May 2017, Audu Ogbe “supporting the motion” also informed that the killer-herdsmen were foreigners (I do not know whether he really believed that).  He was speaking at a town-hall meeting at Abuja, where he also revealed plans by the government to stop the illegal entry of herdsmen into Nigeria (I don’t know how far they have gone with the plan).

 

In September 2016, the grand Muslim of Nigerian, the Sultan of Sokoto declared with a royal finality that  the  “so-called Fulani herdsmen moving with guns, causing violence, fighting with farmers are not Nigerians, but foreign terrorists”. This was in his 2016 Eid el-Kabir message to the Nigerian Muslims.

The Bible says that a matter can only established by the testimonies of two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy, 19:55 and 2 Cor. 13:1). So, it is proved beyond all reasonable doubt that these herdsmen are not Nigerians. QED, QEF!

However, the Nigerian government has been treating these foreign herdsmen with unusual leniency. The presidency asked Nigerians to be accommodative towards them, not to retaliate. And the Minister of Agriculture even planned to import grass from Brazil for these illegal foreign herdsmen and their foreign cattle.

Of course, Nigerians after being attacked by these foreign herdsmen cannot react because the security forces come immediately after the attacks to keep the peace and make the “no stone will be left unturned” declaration (That is if there are still any unturned stones remaining at all!) This is a situation in which illegal immigrants have more privileges and receive more compassionate consideration than the sons of the soil.

It is worrisome and I don’t know whether it has anything to do PMB being a “namapreneur” i.e. an entrepreneur specialising in nama and related affairs). These stories don’t add up, but longsuffering Nigerians accepted these narratives in good faith.

However, when this Ruga dimension reared its controversial head, Nigerians sparked! The size of a typical Ruga settlement is said to be about that of an average Nigerian local government. It means the government will just, by fiat, create about 200 plus extra modern Fulani exclusive settlements in Nigeria, with our collective resources. And this is in a country where people are regularly harassed out of the land which they have duly acquired for, commercial and social purposes. 

Other Matters: Discos; signs and wonders; checkpoints and ease of travelling

On 27 June 2019, I narrated how the IBEDC dealt with us at Ijebu Ode and specifically, how our bill for the block of flats rose from N1,500 to N12,000 within three months without any change in the power supply or consumption. Well, for July, I received a bill N3,500 for an apartment which I was billed an average of N500  four months ago! I assure you on my honour that nothing changed in my consumption pattern. In fact, in the month in question, I was “out of stock” for more than half of that period!  Anyway, we have strategised and decided to say no to this process of monkey de work… We are searching for prepaid meter, by fire by force.

Last week, I narrated how I spent 10 hours on a journey that would have taken 6 hours plus because policemen were searching for Fulani herdsmen inside the boots and documents of vehicles, to the extent that we encountered up to 50 police toll-gates less than 500 meters apart. Well, my return journey revealed another aspect of this police toll-gate business. I travelled from Igbo-Ukwu through Onitsha to Ijebu-Ode within 5 hours; driving at an oldie’s speed.

When I was going down east, it took 8 to 9 hours. But the main issue is that there was no police checkpoint on the return journey from Onitsha to Ijebu Ode! Even the Customs and FRSC did not bother with those on the Onitsh-Lagos route but they were (and still are) all working over-time on the Lagos-Onitsha route.

Does it mean that herdsmen, smugglers and traffic offenders only operate on one side of the road? Well, here’s the simple reason. Those travelling home are still “loaded” and they are in a hurry to get to their destination. They are thus more willing and capable to provide the white chalks for the sacrifices! Those on the return journey have exhausted their resources and the hurry-hurry tendencies are less. Nigerian police, I hail!

 

IK MUO