There is a government in West Africa that loves cows more than its citizens. It is no other than the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the All Progressives Congress.
The love for cows and herdsmen by the Buhari regime knows no bound. While this is understood, because the Nigerian President is a proud cattle farmer, who hails from the Fulani extraction who are predominantly pastoral farmers and cattle dealers, it is not yet clear why some state governors are also of the same character.
In Nigeria, the high rate of insecurity has been compounded by some notorious Fulani herdsmen and the failure of the Buhari regime to deal decisively with them. Gun-wielding herdsmen have been accused of killing farmers, grabbing farmland and attacking villages across the country in desperation for greener pastures.
The killing in different parts of the country and the sacred treatment of killer herdsmen by the Buhari regime is currently increasing ethnic, regional and religious tension in the country.
Just recently, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, reportedly ordered the arrest of one Sunday Adeyemo, a popular Yoruba activist better known as Sunday Igboho, for issuing a quit notice to herdsmen in Ibarapa town of Oyo State.
Igboho had asked herdsmen in Igangan in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State to leave the area within seven days when it was obvious the government and security agencies were treating herdsmen with kid gloves following incessant reports of killing and kidnapping of defenceless Oyo citizens by these people.
Igboho had blamed the herdsmen in Ibarapa especially of the Fulani extraction, including Saliu Kadri, the Seriki Fulani in the environment, of being behind the rising insecurity in the area. Meanwhile, before the community resorted to self-help by inviting Igboho, the people were already helpless and hopeless following the lackadaisical and reluctant attitude of government and security agencies to respond to distress calls due to the Buhari regime’s love for cows and herdsmen.
It was sad and very disappointing that the same government that could not fish out killer herdsmen in Ibarapa and refused to arrest some prime suspects and killer herdsmen as alleged by community leaders in the area, was very quick to declare the arrest of Igboho who was on a rescue mission to rid the community of crime, a proof that the Buhari regime loves cows and herdsmen more than its citizens.
According to the BBC, on Monday, January 1, 2018, Fulani herdsmen through Miyetti Allah, the umbrella organisation of cattle herders in Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the attack on some communities in Benue State, which claimed the lives of over 20 residents. To date, no executive member of the group that claimed responsibility for such a heinous crime was arrested, a proof that the Buhari regime loves cow than the citizens.
So also, many residents of Ketu-speaking villages in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State were brutalised by some soldiers alleged to have escorted herdsmen to graze on people’s farmland in the communities, prompting residents, some elected representatives and monarchs to cry out for government help about four weeks ago. Till date, none of the herdsmen and the so-called soldiers was arrested – a proof that the Buhari loves cows and herdsmen more than the citizens.
In defending cows and herdsmen, a governor from the north said this: “Because the Fulani man is practising the tradition of pastoralism, he has been exposed to the vagaries of the forest; cattle rustlers who carry guns kill him and take away his commonwealth, which is the cows. He has no option than to carry AK47 because the society and the government are not protecting him. What is his fault; it’s the fault of the government and the people. You don’t criminalise all of them, because, in every tribe, there are criminals.”
Above was a statement credited to Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State in defence of herdsmen who go about with Ak47 rifle in the name of protecting cows; another proof that the Buhari regime loves cows than its citizens.
Not quite long, the Buhari regime condemned Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s of Ondo State for giving an ultimatum to herdsmen to vacate Ondo forest reserves in his quest to create a database. The governor called for the registration of all the herdsmen in the state as part of his moves to end banditry, kidnapping and herders/farmers conflict currently claiming more lives than the Boko Haram insurgency across Nigeria.
Unfortunately, a government that swore to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians, which has failed in that obligation, quickly rushed to the press to condemn Akeredolu’s action through a statement issued by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity. Is that also not a proof that the Buhari regime loves cows and herdsmen more than the citizens?
On February 19, 2021, some leaders of the Ifon community in the Ose local government area of Ondo State protested against the invitation of their four elders by the police over the alleged killing of a cow.
The community leaders said they were surprised that the police were pursuing supposed killers of cows when they had yet to unravel those who killed their traditional ruler, the Oluifon of Ifon, Oba Israel Adeusi. The action of the police looks very funny but it’s indeed a proof that the Buhari regime loves cows and herdsmen more than the citizens.
As I write, hundreds of military operatives have launched heavy attacks on the camps of the Eastern Security Network, a voluntary group at the forefront of the struggle to curb the criminal activities of herdsmen and their cows in some parts of the forest of Orlu and Orsu, in Imo State following the failure of the Nigerian government in arresting and prosecuting killer herdsmen across the country.
What more proofs do we need again to know that the Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari loves cows and herdsmen more than its citizens?
*Olumide is the Publisher of Starnews Nigeria Online Newspaper