When I write, and you read… what do you understand?
I was flipping through Facebook when I caught a glimpse of this post on SabiNews wall. I died inside a million times. I had to quickly flip back to the article in question and read it through a second time.
Hate? Rancour? Against who? Minus the specific mention of “Fulani Herdsmen”, was there any other group that was singled out for that expression of dissatisfaction?
Okay, to better understand my chagrin, let us assume for instance that your child attends school where one of the teachers has been caught consistently fondling children in the bathroom. Maybe once or twice, he or she has actually forced a child or two to perform random sexual acts on or with them.
You hear this and your heart skips within you.
You know that it is not by the “grace of God” that your child escaped molestation, you are not holier than the other parents whose children have been traumatised by the rogue teacher. It was not even luck, luck is too random to be praised for your “good luck”…
… it could have simply been a case of time and chance.
Time and chance.
Had your child been in the right place at the wrong time and the rogue teacher had seen a window of opportunity, you could have been the parent lamenting and making the tour of hospitals and therapists.
But the teacher still teaches freely in the school. Still has access because according to him, “he was provoked/enticed” by the children he molested.
What would you do? Turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the ticking timebomb and pray that one day soon, “nemesis” would catch up with the culprit? Or take practical steps to ensure that the threat is removed as far away from potential victims as possible?
- How could Viola/SabiNews be spreading hate and rancour?
- Did we place the guns in the hands of the rampaging herdsmen?
- Did we send them off to trample on people’s livelihoods and kill the owners of the land for putting up a resistance?
- Did we ask for an ambush or retaliation on the Fulani herdsmen?
If you stood by and watched a trailer laden with garri mow down a group of innocent bystanders…men, women and children; their only offence being that these ones stood in the way of where the driver needed to park his trailer in order to offload his goods and make money, would you step over the dead and continue negotiations like nothing happened? Like those lives don’t matter? Like the garri and how it would serve as perfect accompaniment to the fresh pot of egusi you just made is of more importance than the innocent lives who were deleted off the face of this earth to ensure you had a next meal?
For those ones, there is no next meal. No next trek to the farm to go and weed. No running around in the playground playing catch with their friends. No tomorrow. Nothing. Zilch. Final. The end.
Now if you wouldn’t go ahead to negotiate with the driver of the killer trucks, why would you want to continue negotiating with the killer cowherds? Why would you want to continue eating beef fattened with the blood of innocents?
Are Viola and SabiNews inciting hate and rancour when they ask that we take a collective action to draw attention to the menace of the herdsmen and seek to put a stop to it?
Why do we like to paper over the cracks in the walls of this country?
Why do we stick our fingers in the hole in the dam and believe that that single digit of flesh, bone and blood would prove more effective than bricks and mortar?
Why do we like leaving things to mellow until they mature into wine too strong for us to stomach?
Political correctness right? To what end? So more can die while we continue to look the other way and pretend not to notice? Because we are not the ones dying? Our families are supposedly “safe” and so, we would rather continue to eat suya than say “No” to beef until something has been done about the menace?
In case you didn’t know, the nomad herdsmen do not own the cattle they herd. They also did not arm themselves. There is a bonafide association that is duly registered and own a fully functional website, visit the website and you will know those who own these cows.
When last have you heard that nomads move around with hundreds and thousands of cows in the West that we love to ape so much? Yet they raise cattle, milk them and obtain meat from them without trampling on other people’s livelihoods. Without murdering entire communities.
They ranch their cows.
They bring the grass to the cows in season and out of season (and no, they do not import the grass from Brazil either).
Don’t worry, I still advocate we #BoycottBeef until the government effectively addresses the menace of the herdsmen and saves Nigerian lives. They will survive the boycott, trust me.
This is not about politics, ethnicity or religion for me. I abhor politicising the loss of innocent lives. This is simply about collectively as a Nation, sending out a strong signal of displeasure to the OWNERS of the cattle, so they can call their herdsmen to order.
Because if the whole world boycotts Nigerian grown beef, the owners and breeders would be forced to adopt best practices in providing grazing for their cattle. The herdsmen would therefore no longer have to trample on people’s farms and kill women and children in order for you to have abodi and shaki in your peppersoup.