Fulani Herdsmen: A Road Not Taken, By Joe Onwukeme
The title of this piece “Road Not Taken” was the name of Robert Frost’s poem written in 1916. The narrator regrets not following a particular branch to his destination, after choosing another road, the narrator tells himself that he would come back to this branch one day in order to try the other road. However, he realizes that it is unlikely that he will ever have the opportunity to come back to this specific point in time because his choice of path will simply lead to other branches in the road (and other decisions). The narrator ends on a nostalgic note, wondering how different things would have been had he chosen the other path.
Same way the writer ended on a nostalgic end for the road not taken is the way Nigerians who underestimated the savagery of the Fulani Herds men are living in regrets for granting them access to their communities. The Fulani Herdsmen have been a pain in our communities. There’s no State or region that would say they have not had their own bitter tales with the Fulani Herdsmen bothering on land dispute and grazing issues. On every of their murderous appearance, they have been leaving tears and blood behind. From the North Central states of Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Niger and Taraba State to North West, South West and South south zones, the story remains the same. Their latest casualty is Enugu State and the once peaceful community of Uzo Uwani LGA woke up Monday morning to behold the gory sight perpetrated by the nomads with graceful impunity. The attack was so bloody that the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on his visit to the community broke down in tears as he watched helplessly the lifeless bodies of innocent people that were massacred in their sleep by the Fulani Herdsmen.
It’s painful what these pastoralists do to their host communities, they are not acting in isolation, our security agencies are yet to tell us the mission of these murderous errands in human form.
The Federal government’s complicity on these utmost savageries also validates this quote by Martin Luther king Jnr, “The deepest part of hell is reserved for those leaders who kept silent in the face of evil”. This is the time for the government to break their undignified silence and act preemptively to ensure the safety of the public from this ethnic cleansing that is threatening our nation.
For how long are we going to continue to suffer these killings from outsiders in our communities? For how long are we going to leave in regret for “the road not taken”? Yesterday it was Benue, today its Enugu, who knows whose turn it might be tomorrow?
There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people -Howard Zinn.
Joe Onwukeme writes from Enugu