Fulani herdsmen are the freest mass murderers in the world today. They are the only band of active terrorists on this planet that are privileged with explicit immunity. Nigeria has all but officially legitimized their campaign of violent depopulation on Nigerian farmer communities. The government of the day dutifully rationalizes, downplays and whitewashes their butchery.
The scorched earth attacks of that prolific militia are a means to an end. Their desperate mission to plunder, rape and crater the Middle Belt and Southern parts of Nigeria with mass graves signposts their resolve to complete a bold, coherent program of ethnic cleansing in the shortest possible period of time. Their singular goal is to transform the lands they lust after into a large cemetery, a vast graveyard where only grass, cattle and alien cow herds thrive. Their objective is land grab; their strategy is genocide.
The killing spree of the herdsmen escalates by the day in a consequence-free Hobbesian estate where every new carnage gives them a second wind. Every bloodbath strengthens their hand. It raises their cruelty. It makes them more triumphalist. It aggravates their impunity.
Before our very eyes, the savagery of the herdsmen has evolved from an occasional tragedy to a normalized fact of life. Their bestiality is now the staple of news. And worst of all, the shock tactics of the murder maniacs is increasingly desensitizing the people and weakening the spasms of public outrage that trail every ugly slaughter. The killings are beginning to assume the semblance of the holiness of a ritual sacrifice.
That should change. All Nigerians who are disturbed by this recurring carnage must go beyond cheap chatter and galvanize themselves to break the vicious cycle. They must canalize their avowed concern into a kinetic protest force.
It’s time for Nigerians to rise up and starve the war chest of the herdsmen. Deny them patronage. Avoid all commercial transactions that serves to feed their stockpile of arms. Abstain from their ‘blood beef’ and ‘blood milk’.
A nationwide boycott would hurt the bottom line of the Fulani herdsmen and degrade their ability to kill on a large scale. It would be a dramatic game changer. This trump card will bring their industry of destruction to its knees. It will force the war mongers to choose between peace and bankruptcy.
The boycott would represent an act of solidarity with the endangered human species whose native land the Fulani herdsmen are working aggressively to annex. The targets of herdsmen attack are typically humble folks struggling to eke out a living by tilling that lands that nourished and sustained their forebears. They are vulnerable people who cannot match the firepower of their adversaries and are, thus, incapable of defending their household from the onslaught of the wicked.
On the hand other hand, they have to contend with a well-resourced and resolute death cult that disguises as a ragtag gang of transhumance bullies. The herdsmen are an ethnic supremacist army marching for new frontiers. The pattern of their operations bespeaks a Janjaweed order of sophistication. They are equipped to kill, conquer and occupy.
The boycott would be a practical gesture of identification with the endangered people and their threatened history. It would be an exercise in resisting a ghoulish force that seeks to wipe innocent people out of the face of the earth. It would mean a vote for the right of pregnant women not to be ripped open by barbarians in a murderous Caesarean section.
The pogrom of the herdsmen is ostensibly financed with profits from the sale of their ‘blood beef’, ‘blood milk’ and ‘blood hide’. All Nigerians of conscience must loathe and avoid those goods. To buy them is to contribute to the funding of war criminals campaign. To consume them is to ingest a transubstantiated cannibal meal.
An effective boycott will compel the herdsmen to turn their swords into ploughshares. Without it, the killers will always have enough cash flow to maintain and develop their capacity to spread terror and sorrow.
The boycott holds promise. It will redefine the equation of power that makes the herdsmen’s monopoly of violence possible and sustainable. If majority of Nigerians who find the orgy of murders repugnant cut the purse strings to the perpetrators, the issue of blood will stanch. When all peace lovers in the country take to intelligent vegetarianism and stop priming the pump, the murderers stalking the land will sooner be too hungry to persist in their disastrous enterprise.
The boycott, a civic Lent of sorts, will see the people stepping into the breach left by an irresponsible president. General Buhari subordinated his charge as head of state and commander-in-chief of Nigeria under his loyalty to his tribe. He has refused to frontally address this naked threat to national security because that would require him to exercise his constitutional authority against the herdsmen with whom he shares kinship and nomadic pastoral heritage.
The Buhari that ordered the Nigerian military to ‘’crush’’ the pro-Biafra movement in the South is inexplicably passing up an opportunity to play a tyrant. He has retreated into supine spectatorship. He is now proud to pose as a weakling. He would rather that the earth be blood-sodden than move to disrupt the criminal activities of a subset of his relations.
In his ridiculous comment on the latest Benue massacre, Buhari asked that the survivors ‘’accommodate’’ herdsmen as a condition for peace. He and his aides disingenuously frame the killings as ‘’farmers-herders crisis.’’ Their sociolect suggests that the herdsmen are more sinned against than sinning. This is why his administration rushes out an appeasement package in the wake of every massacre —grazing reserves, exotic grass species from Brazil, cattle colonies.
Buhari clearly subscribes to the terrorist sub-culture of the Fulani herdsmen. He shares their view that human life is subservient to cattle. He believes that all killings done in the name of cattle rearing are reasonable.
Without the collective action of the citizenry, the Fulani herdsmen will continue to kill uninhibited until the last day of Buhari’s presidency. It behooves all peace-loving Nigerians to act to stop the massacres. We need not buy beef with the price tag of human blood.
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu
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