Herdsmen, ko! I’m going to Libya!

People of God, pr-a-i-s-e the God! Hallelujah! Brethren, I have a testimony. First, I thank God that we’ve all seen this new yam, sorry, year. My brothers and sisters, God has put the devil to shame. Amen? Amen! For years, I was without work. But God sent word of comfort to me towards the end of 2017. He said: “Son, in 2018, I’ll give you an idea. And if you implement it well, even President Buhari will send  for you. And might even give you an appointment while you are still alive”. I heard it loud and clear! God told me that my name shall never be among dead appointees. Amen? Amen!

So, people of God, on the clanking of the Libyan bell that Nigerian migrants should return home, the spirit ministered the idea to me. Ah! It became even more forceful when words filtered in that the trending Fulani herdsmen are moving South. Brethren, the Lord is good. And if you believe in Him, more than you believe Buhari’s words,  He will be your strength in turbulent times. As this idea came and my future looks brighter than Fashola’s power generation and distribution story.

Anyway, before now, I had thought of going into farming. Well, isn’t that what most people do when they have no paid jobs? Check it out, most retirees, especially military bigmen, go into farming the moment they retire. Piggery, fish farming, goat farming, cattle, etc. What my Agric teacher, in the secondary school, called “animal husbandry”. And, maybe, “wife-bandary”, too! So why shouldn’t I? Brothers and sisters, I confess that I thought of chicken farming . But then, I thought former President Obasanjo might think I’m trying to copy him. And you know how the man hates competition in any area. My wife (women like to think big, sha!), spoiled everything by suggesting cattle rearing. Ah! How would I now convince President Buhari that I am not gearing up to contest for his office in 2019? Or that I wont turn into a herdsman?

People of God, after serious prayer and fasting  for 14 nights (9pm-7am), God revealed to me that my problems are over. Praise, praise, pr-a-i-s-e the God! Brethren, as I speak, I have packed a bag. Please, don’t tell my wife o. I am going to Libya!

My decision to go to Libya is based on serious considerations. If I stay back and the surging herdsmen submerge the nation, nobody’ll speak for me. One fat stomach would rather lecture us on the origin, nationality and trajectory of the herdsmen. They are from Niger Republic, Kafanchan or Nasarawa. Or even space! But how would that bring down the price of fuel? Or restore life to the dead?

Truth is, certain things just don’t add up about the Fulani herdsmen. How come many of them carry guns? Authorised by who? Herdsmen, ko! Murderers, ni! Well, those who know say Fulani herdsmen do not like “town dwellers”.  In fact, one of them said through an interpreter, Cyprian Ekwensi from the land of the Burning Grass, that cattle rearing is in their veins. It acts like charm called “Sokugo” – and turns studious men into wanderers. Even Mai Sunsaye, the chief of Dokan Toro, suffered it. In the process, they desert wives, children, their people and, well, sense of reason. In other words, they become insensitive, selfish and inhuman. ‘We are men of cattles, our cattles come first and since it is our wish to take them to better pastures, all else must succumb to that wish.’, they boast.

Regrettably, one major theatre of the absurd is Benue State. And since 2015, it has reportedly recorded over 30 incursions of herdsmen from Agatu to Makurdi, Guma to Logo, Buruku to Tarka, and Gwer West to Otukpo. Governor Samuel Ortom says they have lost over N95billion worth of assets and property while close to 3,000 had lost their lives to the crisis.

Prof Charles Adisa says “the terrorist-herdsmen own no cattles. “Fulani herdsmen killers’ major job description is just to kill”. In a research finding at the Chinua Achebe Centre for  Leadership and Development (CACLAD), Adisa added that the terrorists are mere “security men” for the cattle. They’re mostly employed by more prominent Northern Fulani leaders, who own the cattle.

Well, if I go to Libya, I would become a national hero. First, Buhari will send his aides to come get me. And they’ll come with bags of rehabilitation materials(?) like toothpaste, bright coloured winter-jackets, empty promises and, well, “big-big grammar”! My children have never seen me on national Tv before, especially NTA. This time, if I’m repatriated in the night via a big bird, camera lights will be shone into my face and my kids will have he opportunity. That is, if they’ll agree to tune  out Nicoledeon channel. Anyway, whether they watch or not, I’ll be interviewed free, abi?

Nigeria is big on talks. We “solve” our problems more by talking. And when it is time to do the talk, we talk some more. Years back, the late Prof Ola Rotimi dramatized Nigeria as a nation of leaders always “holding talks” with no commensurate action. Herdsmen are killing, they (leaders) talk. People are dying from hardship, they talk bigger. No fuel, they talk. No electricity, they talk jargons. No roads, they talk about endless plans. A nation of “talking leaders”! Or is it talkative leaders?

Government is to “rehabilitate” those forcibly returned from Libya. But the same government is “looking into” the cause of deaths by herdsmen. All talks. All grammar! Let them “kwantinu” to be “looking”. Someone should give them magnifying glass, please? Or sincerity-glass, instead! You see,  if sincerely government is ready to do anything meaning to rehabilitate the returnees, that would mean spending money to set up structures that could help them reintegrated into the society. But why always wait until things get out hand before meagre actions follow big grammars? If government had provided power, for instance, many of the returnees wouldn’t have risked going to Libya in search of survival. The barber, the welder, the hairdresser would’ve made use of the steady power to eke out a living. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) would thrive and the economy would run better, waiting for when the big dos will come. But perennial neglect of the basic needful, irrespective of the ceaseless talk, kill the living vibes in the common man.

POSTSCRIPT: Nice to be back on the side of “Reality”, folks. After about 10-years of break. I just had to return here based on popular demand over the years. And I sincerely appreciate your love. I love and really missed my readers, all. More grace in 2018

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Author: Uche Atuma