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Sunday Igboho: Warriors don’t live by publicity

He is called by many names. To some, he is a terrorising political thug, product of a nation with broken walls of security, and a fabricated handiwork of Nigerian political parties. To some, he is a motor-park tout, and an analphabet effigy of crudity and ribaldry who kills and maims for ransom and aggrandisement. But to many people of the South-West region, to those people from all walks of life who live and do business in that axis, and to Nigerians who have felt the brash brunt of pathetic peripatetic Fulani herdsmen’s violent blitzkrieg, whose family members have been maimed and friends murdered by strange terrorists who now seem to be looming menacingly over Nigeria, Sunday Igboho is a freedom fighter and a timely help from the ever-present God of heaven.

For a protracted period of time, Fulani killers and scavengers took their assaults to Igboho’s community in the South-West where the self-styled warlord is adored as a trusted defender of his people. Igboho must have had enough of the Fulani foofaraw. The herders had killed prominent sons and daughters of his community; kidnapped princes and princesses as they tucked away in the bushes where they are holed down to collect ransoms running into tens of millions of naira. Igboho and his foot soldiers decided to take the law into their own hands since established security agencies folded their hands and watched the Fulani mayhem unfold without bridle. If the government will not keep the people safe looking the other way when their community is set on fire, people naturally will resort to self-help defending themselves. Igboho truly believes he has been called to save his people from the wicked hands of depraved men who hand out death sentences without a cause.

Without a shred of doubt, the warlord’s cause is just, and his fight is fair. His approach, however, is raising more questions. There are still existing laws that must be respected by all no matter how aggrieved we are. Igboho must also learn to bridle his tongue. He who keeps his mouth keeps his life, the Holy Book admonishes. He cannot tear down the same house he wants to protect. By abusing kings and insulting men who could have joined forces with him to end the Fulani scourge, he erred bigly. True warriors don’t make noise; they make history. True warriors don’t blab their tongues, they keep them. True warriors don’t seek media attention, they run from it. True warriors don’t raise dust; they raise men. True warriors don’t start new wars, they fight existing ones in defence of their land and people’s dignities. True warriors. We have seen them. We have met them. They are all over our land. True warriors. By their fruits, you know them. Is Igboho a true warrior? It depends on who you ask.

A few lessons I believe Igboho can learn from the fighting strategy of my community in Imesi-Ile against infiltrating miscreants. Hounded for months by criminals, my community decided to fight for itself since nobody in government was prepared to do just that on their behalf. A handful of very fierce and determined volunteers routinely combed surrounding forests where these bandits had erected their sanctuaries.

The volunteers, among them local hunters, dealt raw blows on the kidnappers, robbers, and menacing herdsmen in their hideouts. The intruders came under indescribable firepower. The results were astounding. Remnants of these bandits later scurried from our area. At least for now; the community has peace. These volunteers didn’t make noise. They did not go on social media or television stations ranting. Their sole agenda was to cleanse our land of thugs and bandits. There are similar moves going on around the country and in many communities. Men behind these moves operate quietly without any notice from colluding law enforcement agents.

Igboho’s cause is just. His fight is fair. If the mayhem unleashed by the Fulani is brought to their doorsteps by others, worse and incomparable reprisals would have happened. But someone should tell Igboho this truth: Warriors who live by publicity will die by publicity. Igboho’s people need him to stay alive.

In spite of intense outcry from around the world, the widespread katzenjammer triggered by Fulani herders’ violent escapades does not seem to be going away. If anything, it appears to be worsening and intensifying in its threat level. Fulani herdsmen have always been around. But their activities picked up steam when Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) became Nigeria’s President in 2015. These miscreants continue to foment mayhem and maddening brutal acts of kidnapping and beheadings of innocent men, women and children. Anywhere the soles of their shoeless feet touch, hell breaks loose. Everywhere in Nigeria now seems to be their domain and kingdom as they unleash terror and horror at will. They have dethroned kings they did not crown. They have exiled queens they did not betroth.

They have torn down palaces they did not build. Children have become orphans from the edges of their swords and wives became widows from piercing pellets of bullets spewing out of their rifles. They are arrogant elements who believe that all people and all territories they are part of must genuflect before them. They occupy cozy spots in the hearts of some very powerful people in government; and they are a big threat to Nigeria’s co-existence. In their hounding and hacking hundreds, they throng and besiege communities; sucking lives out of families as they lay in bed. The murderers launch out in their usual ravaging manner with loaded guns, bows and arrows, machetes, and swords as they maul men to death unhindered. Who will stop this madness?

The apathy of South-West politicians and royal fathers has further angered many people who are now rallying behind Igboho. It is very obvious that the South-West bigwigs in the ruling party do not want to rock the boat because of politics.

ut Nigerians who can’t sleep at night, and can’t travel our roads by day because of killer-kidnappers are very angry at the way the Buhari regime is treating this Fulani herdsmen issue with kid’s gloves. It is unfortunate that we now have a country where people live in frenzy, furore, and fear; and their killers walk around free to kill some. Our President, a Fulani cow owner himself, has stayed mum; not publicly cautioning these people. And it doesn’t seem that anyone in government is prepared to hedge them, and none may ever publicly reprimand them. Is anyone waiting for Buhari to speak publicly on the Fulani violence? It is not in his DNA. You will have to wait for a long time.

By Fola Ojo

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