By Aare Amerijoye DOT.B.
Embarking on a journey few days ago ,my friend and myself decided that boarding a public vehicle would be better. It was a decision with laborious argumentation before we could actually arrive at boarding a public vehicle. I held tenaciously to my view that we just needed to embark on our journey in a public vehicle. To my friend ;holding the steering is safer as he can easily crush down any obstructing elements.
But I quickly reminded him of two incidents;how a brother of mine was kidnapped along Aunga Akoko in Ondo State ,on his way going to Abuja and even in between not too distanced two police checking points ,having to willy nilly cough out #5million and his brother accompanying him in the journey, paying a ransom of #5million too. The harrowing experience he shared with us could make one cry. You would not believe it, in the cause of negotiations with the Fulani kidnappers, a woman assigned to negotiate on behalf of the other brother crying profusely began to be begging the kidnappers who were Fulani and do you know what was the response of these brute lays, when the woman said she used the name of God to beg them, they retorted angrily “do you think if we know God we would be doing kidnapping”,
in another occasion they funnily said to us as we usually put the phone on speaker” don’t bother yourself going to any pastor or herbalist ooo,you would just be exploited for nothing.We know you Yoruba, na so you go dey kill rams , you go dey going to one mountain or the other for prayers, thinking we would release your people. If you do not bring the money we would kill your brothers” . You need to hear the narrations from these victims, how the kidnappers were showing them the corpses of the victims who were defiant in complying with them, paying the ransom or in a perceived of any slight threat.That brother needed to say ” I could never wish my enemy to be a victim of the devilment of these Fulani kidnappers “.
I reminded my friend of another scenario of the despicable act of these Fulani, of a friend who was not too lucky but got killed in attempt to escape. My friend was gripped by fears but he never hesitated to tell me that I should not forget that those kidnappers called Fulani herdsmen, kidnapped some people in a public vehicle in recent time and went further jokingly telling me that I have a succulent body and protrude belly that would make me be mistaken for a rich man, we both became stultified. I know in his mind he was thinking I was right but of course I was reconsidering my suggestion as far as my cognitive power could carry me too. Obviously speaking I agreed with my friend and could not agree less that it is only the mercy and grace of God that could secure people’s life in this country, though we never rescinded boarding a public vehicle to Ibadan.
Momentarily we were silent but he was quicker than me to ask “but why are things this bad in this country “, stuttering and scratching my head uncomfortably I responded in a jiffy, ‘it was a culminating failures of our leaders, most of these things or incidents have not been receiving the decisive attention required’ .I could recall that in 2007 and 2009, Fulani has been robbing people and kidnapping people along Abuja roads ,most often in Osokosoko routes .I could remember, perhaps I almost would have been a victim. During the wedding of my uncle’s daughter; Prof.Babalola Borishade’s daughter wedding, the sociopolitical Organisation which I was the head; Change Club; then wanted to attend the programme and also used the opportunity to have some discussions with the erudite professor as scheduled.
Obviously speaking the responsibility to arrange hotels reservations for my people became my responsibility, having agreed that my three cars and an eighteen passenger bus would convey us ,then it became charitable that I arranged the hotel reservation for my people as that was part of sacrifices leaders usually have to pay and arranging it a day prior to the wedding programme was considered. I initially wanted to set on the road but later changed my mind. But subscribing to the advice of my people that some people needed to move ahead of us. And later I wished my family ,a friend ;Dr .Dare Ayeni, now a lecturer in Obafemi Awolowo University and a brother ,Kazeem Akingbade from Ijan Ekiti should go ahead to do the reservations but unfortunately the mechanic; fixing and servicing the vehicle available and which I assigned at that material time to convey them did not finish to time. Observing it was late and having a foreboding, I discouraged them not to go again , feeling something terrible could happen.
But Darry Kay as that my friend is popularly called insisted that there would not be any problem. I reluctantly succumbed, sensing he has an agenda anyway to be in Abuja that night, as I got to know he would be picking a lady at Iworoko Ekiti but I requested my family should not follow them and they gladly agreed. They left me 3:45p.m but I was not too comfortable when I called later and he told me around 7pm that they were just reaching Ikole Ekiti, I tried to discourage them again , may be they could sleep in Ikole but they insisted. I got to know that it was that particular girl they had to pick that got them such delayed and they have to now leave Ado around 6p:m.
Few hours later I received a call from them, they had been ambushed by the Fulani herdsmen and the only lady in the vehicle was kidnapped. I felt so agitated ,terrified and petrified to hear the bad news. You know politicians are endangered species, imaginatively I was reflecting on the incident and also pray to God that the lady should be rescued from her captives or else unexpected perspectives would be built into the incident. After eight hours searching by the police in the bush the Fulani herdsmen, called bororo were caught and arrested but the lady was not lucky as much, she was brutally and mercilessly raped by them. On the second day I embarked on my journey to Abuja and needed to first attend to this ugly incident.
Getting to the police station and requested I need to see the evil men, I saw the Fulani herdsmen, they were just smiling and never bothered about the implications of their actions, the Jean wore by the lady was forcefully tore with knife by them, anger welled up in me, the anger made my vision blurred and nagging headache greatly obstructed my sensibility, it was just appearing to me that something should just make them dropped dead. I was actually in quandary, I did not know what to do and a young police lady just beckoned on me and privately she said honourable ” you need to inform any higher authority you know about this incident, these people are our regular customers, you would not believe it they would soon be released if you do not seek the involvement of higher authority” Such statement bewildered me and you would not believe it that was how the case was treated. Within me I began to feel Fulani herdsmen enjoy some special treatment in this country and under Buhari they are getting excessive special treatment that is dangerous to the existence of this nation.Kidnapping by Fulani herdsmen now thrive unrestrainedly, killing here and there, majorly by Book Haram and the Fulani herdsmen .You may agree with me that these are still topping the charts of the topical violent crimes in this country.
Arm robbery is not relenting either. A friend of mine; Yinka Ilori was narrating to me ,how having entered his house and settled down to watch some programmes in Television he put on his generating plant and a few minutes later the generating plant was off and he needed to go outside again to check the generating plant, having checked it ,he could not understand what could have made the generating plant to be off, he put it on again and after few minutes later the generating plant was off suddenly again and in his attempt to open his door again he had had some visitors waiting for him and they hit him with the butt of their guns, I would not like to go into the details of how he and his family were rough handled .May be he should be thanking his God that he had a reasonable amount of money in his house, or else the story would have been different. I need to say this here I never bother to come out anytime my generating plant is suddenly off. My thinking has always been perhaps somebody has scaled my fence o le je awon elegiri, won ti sii , I would not come out but that is actually not the case but the most of the cases and incidents around us has made one to be careful.
That reminds me of the Epe Ekiti incidents. The Fulani herdsmen, followed and monitored a man to a burial party, they ate and drank in the party and even watched their target spraying money in the Party. After some times the man left for his house with his family and friends being fatigued he went to sleep but the Fulani men were in his compound, they off the generating plant. The man never bothered to come out but one of his friend , a native of the community thought they needed the electricity, he decided to open the door and as he was about to put the generating plant on, the Fulani men had bombarded him, kidnapping the man and shooting sporadically as if the community had been entrapped in a war. Unfortunately for the man he was not their target and they got to their camps before they realised this, they politely apologised to the man but never joked with their ransom .The man relayed to his brother ,number of the corpses he saw in the camps of the kidnappers and that the Fulani men were telling them those people were defiantly not complying with their terms and they were killed.Imagined how many Nigerians could be such killed.
Quite sad the nation is turning to human abattoir on an industrial scale; a killing field of Hobbesian proportions, assassination of my lovely Comrade Christopher Olubunmi Ojo; a Federal Commissioner in Federal Character Commission, was an havoc wrecked too many;very nightmarish and heart wrenching. Rituals murders are increasingly on daily basis for people who become desperate for money, competing with other crimes. The case of dangerous ammunition in the wrong hands is alarming.Road accidents also ballooning human fatality statistics. Our country is marooned in mediocrity and utter futility of purpose and existence and our leaders need to be held responsible. A host of our unemployed citizens facing the grim problem of existence ,while an equally great number of them toil with little returns .It is always a sad reality that the Nigerian working class citizens suffer one deprivation or the other in the midst of overwhelming abundant resources. The wide gulf between the haves and have nots is atrociously rising on daily basis and unacceptable. Nigiria’s situations might have been bad before but it is getting worse and worst now.
President Muhammadu Buhari should not allow the people around him to confuse him with intellectual jingoism in their pursuit of puerile interests and hold him hostage in applying complacency to this Nigeria’s situations. The variegated opinions offered by concerned Nigerians should be taken serious. It is expected that the President should stop unnecessary blame game and incendiary fencing but take a decisive steps in bringing everybody on board to address Nigeria bedeviled challenges. I know the sentimental supporters of the President may with the deranged sneer say what is he saying, mongering excuses they would say Buhari did not create the problems but any impartial observer would want to agree with me that he was elected to proffer solutions to Nigeria’s problems not to continue dishing us excuses and treating the Fulani herdsmen issues with kid gloves. Our leaders having ensconced in power game, enjoying the goodies of power should please reason that democracy without duties and responsibilities is anarchy, the state owes the people basic responsibilities as the people owe the state responsibility. Our over paid governors, legislators, senators, ministers and privileged government officials nationwide should do the needful. Our leaders and President Muhammadu Buhari should be told in the echo of Will Roger’s opinion that” even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there ”
It shall be well with Nigeria and Nigerians.
Aare Amerijoye DOT.B.
Aare Ataayes of Odo Oro Ekiti
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