By Apeku G.A.Melvin
Anyone who is familiar with the writings of Alexandre Dumas will agree with me that the three Musketeers is probably his best.
In this historical novel Dumas depicts a picture of four friends, the lad D’Artagnan, Athos, Pathos and Aramis. These four fictitious characters lived under a common code based on honor for self and country, and a common slogan they used which has become so clichéd today is the popular ‘’All for one, one for all’’, I love this slogan.
The disparity that has created serious division among the people of Benue, especially among the Tiv is as a result of clannish and primordial sentiments with a political undertone, and while I will not want to bore you with details of how we let things get out of hand until it was almost too late, suffice to note that although many of us may have read Duma’s historical book, few of us truly have applied the principles taught in that book to our daily lives, unlike our Fulani neighbors.
The Fulanis are predominately herdsmen and back by their union, the Miyetti Allah Cattle breeders association of Nigerian (MACBAN), these marauders have adopted the philosophical believe of an injury to one is an injury to all, and should be retaliated with aggression of unequal proportion with the sole purpose to kill so as to scare and drive away their enemies from their lands so they could move in and occupy.
As insecurity worsens in the country, it is not surprising that Fulani herdsmen have replaced their traditional sticks, bows and arrows with sophisticated arms and ammunition as if they are more productive implements for cattle farming, and like all marauders who raid and pillage, these weapons have turned them to merchants of death, epitomized by frequent reports of senseless killing of defenseless Tiv farmers and villagers.
Truth be told the Tiv people were too divided and responded too late to confront this threat and presently we can’t fight them physically, not match their huge arsenal and financial chest, but we can fight and win this war democratically by proposing a bill to the Benue State House of Assemble to enact laws to criminalize open grazing in all the 23 local government areas of the state, not just against the herdsmen, but against anyone that breeds farm animals.
Unfortunately Herdsmen are deluded into believing they have unfettered access to any open land and only through legislation can we confidently change these perceptions .
The bill should be titled ‘’A law to make provision for control of normadic cattle rearing in Benue State, and other matters related thereof”
The BNSHA can organize a public hearing and invite representative of MACBAN and all stallholders to participate in this discussion and make their inputs.
The time for blame games is over, it is now time for us all to stand together and fight this infestation and like my Latin friend would says “unus pro omnibus,omnes pro uno” All for one, one for all.