Fulani Herdsmen & the British Legacy of Guilt
“Guilt by community association” (GBCA) is back in Nigeria in fresh form in 2018. Not by the actions of a foreign colonialist. But those of the local Nigerian auto-colonialists courtesy Fulani herdsmen affairs. In the colonial state of Nigeria, under British rule, was the chief means by which the Nigerian staffed police force secured conformity and order. The method of choice was community arrest and faux crime taxation.
If a person dropped dead in Ilesha, Oron, Keffi or Ughelli (or some village). The police would arrest all the heads of families in the area (or village). Then require each to bail themselves at a prohibitive cost. GBCA was born. The people quickly learned that a police matter was a money matter. This was the very first habit the Nigerian police force gained that ensured that they would become hopelessly corrupt in the future. Corrupt initial conditions bred both corrupt post-Independence foundations and institutions, a legacy of empire. Today, Nigerian auto-colonialists carry the blame for GBCA.
The bail borne of GBCA entrenched by the British for the convenience of the colonialism might have been just £1 in 1939 or 1951. In updated terms would be like arresting all the household heads on 3rd Avenue FESTAC Town, Lagos, at N200,000 per head in 2018. Such would cause a disempowering financial shock to the household kitty of most of the residents. It would cause families to fall into debt and desperation. Moneylenders would love it.
Thus, the British, to keep order, would ensure an entire community pays for the crime of one person. And communities were terrified of offenders and criminals spurning a root cause of modern-day lynching. Lynching was much cheaper and much less distressing than a crime tax placed on the entire community. 99 percent of them were innocent. That is how much contempt and injustice the British needed to inflict on Nigerians to fulfil the myth of “ruling Nigeria without firing a single shot”.
Surprisingly, in a report, the Ezi Nze community in Udi LGA, Enugu State in 2018, has been told to pay N2 million as compensation. Compensation for loss of cattle caused by some local youths against Fulani herdsmen operating in the area. The demand is supposed to avert a bloodbath at the hands of the herdsmen. Extortion colonial-style! What is not clear is if the sum demanded was an extortion from the Ezi Nze community was a direct restitution by Fulani herdsmen. Or with the support of government agencies. Or with strings being pulled by the Fulani Lobby. Bianimikaley!
GBCA was an atrocious colonial tactic to subdue the colonised. Why are Nigeria’s auto-colonialists re-instituting it? Answer. Where are Nigeria’s jurists and lawyers? If GBCA is legitimate in Nigeria, any killing of an individual. Or destruction of property and livelihoods lost because of the opportunistic impunity of “absolutely faceless” Fulani herdsmen? Then Nigeria, then groups like Miyetti Allah, should face charges of paying restitution on-demand to victims. That would be better than the one-sided justice fashioned by the “men in power” in favour of the Fulani herdsmen.
Many Nigerians are both frightened and tired of the Fulani herdsmen. More so those who bear the direct cost, the dispossessed, the orphans, and widows. Just as the British used an indigenous military and police to subdue resistance and oppress Nigerians. The Fulani Lobby is using its militia cum herdsmen to serve the same function. Backwardness? There is no doubt Nigerians fear Fulani herdsmen much more than they do the military or police. Still, there just are a few thousand herdsmen n Nigeria. Not sizeable enough to vanquish peace in the country, they constitute a menace greater than Boko Haram to the everyday Nigerian. They perpetrate mass murder as if it were an honourable duty, and the perpetrators treated as if they broke no rules. But it has.
Nigeria has military/security forces and a justice system. The current President of Nigeria would have the world believe that the one-sided atrocious massacres incessantly perpetrated by ingressive Fulani herdsmen are fair. Yet, they are against men, women, and children in their lands/homes. The “fair fights against farmers” mantra by government is doublespeak for mass murderers sharing their blame with victims.
The auto-colonialists were cowardly in fighting Cameroon over Bakassi. Are cowardly in fighting corruption because they are the Big thieves. They are backward in providing basic public services to Nigerian citizens because statecraft is neither their gift nor concern. Thier chief interest is power for power’s sake. But they are bold and energetic in supporting and providing brazen impunity for a violent, criminal and subversive organisation.
Many know this is because the Fulani Lobby is the auto-colonial masters of Nigeria, but tacitly accepted. Fear of the Fulani Lobby is inestimable to those who know its reach and power. Just as the British said, the entire community should pay for the crime of one felon. The auto-colonialists are not just doing the same but are publicly claiming a “life of a human for the life of a cow” doctrine. Many onetime anti-Sharia and anti-Fulani Lobby champions now in politics have been uncharacteristically silent. They say nothing about the recent heinous menace of Fulani Herdsmen in their homes of origin. The reason needs no mention or explanation.
Nigerians did successfully gain Independence from colonialist Britain when the eyes of many Nigerians opened up. It is now looking like the present government has made it an utmost necessity for Nigerians to seek Independence from auto-colonialist Nigerians and the Owners of Nigeria Technostructure (ONT).
Eyes have opened up wide this time!