Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the recent stereotyping comments of the Fulani folks as killer herdsmen. I have never been at ease with it. So it was, when I saw some lads standing innocently across the road watching their grazing cattle.
My egbon, Kamar Olabanji invited me to his friend’s chieftaincy coronation in Ondo Town and I saw this as another opportunity to see the countryside. Travelling by bus, my attention was focused on the greenery that lined the highway when suddenly one of my fellow passengers pleaded for the bus to stop. The other thirteen passengers, myself included, saw it as an opportunity to stretch our legs. That was when I saw them at the other end of the road, they stood akimbo, their staffs as supports and their cutlasses hanging loosely across their shoulders.
Those lads, four in number, were an ideal picture of Fulani herdsmen as remembered when we were growing up. They were known to be peaceful going about grazing their herds of cattle. We did saw them get lousy once in a blue moon when they had wedding ceremonies, where the groom receives a specific number of strokes of a cane to confirm that they are man enough for marriage.
Disputes amongst the Fulani sometimes occurred but it never resorted to killings, maiming or kidnapping. No! That was not the Fulani tribe that we knew as we were growing up. These ones carrying out recent killings are a totally different breed.
A point of view that I express at every opportunity though, is that every tribe, race or creed have good people just as they do bad ones. There is absolutely no race that is devoid of bad people, so when we decide to label a particular set of people entirely as criminals because of a small bunch who have chosen crime to be their stock in trade, I think we are not doing humanity any good. I encourage all and sundry to draw a line between dealing with crime as crime and respect for people for who they are by virtue of their race.
I came back to reality when the other passengers started calling that we had to get the bus going. I really wish I had the opportunity to ask the Fulani my questions. I was curious to ask them if they were agents or spies for ISIS, or if they were involved in the Islamization agenda, or was this just a move to earn a living or were they on a kidnapping spree? These are questions I’d like to get answers to at the earliest opportunity. Do you know any Fulani person who could answer these, or perhaps, you could? Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.
Alleged stories of terrorists masquerading as Fulani herdsmen, killing and kidnapping for a living has been trending for far too long. However, not many have suggested that the real criminals are possibly not actually genuine Fulani herdsmen. We should remember that there is need to be cautious when making sweeping statements on issues of terror and banditry.
As for the chieftaincy title party, thats a story for another day. Whatever the situation, remember to make somebody smile today as you go about your business.