Decoding ‘no fly zone’ over Zamfara

Editor’s Note: Reproduced here is the last article Comrade Yinka Odumakin submitted for his column, ‘Voice of Courage with Yinka Odumakin.’ The article re-evaluates the wisdom or lack of it in the declaration of a ‘No-fly zone’ on Zamfara State by President Muhammadu Buhari when some other states like Katsina and Borno have more severe security challenges.
Curiously, the Comrade sent in the article earlier than usual. He sent it on Thursday, March 6, instead of Saturday, March 8 that the article was expected from him. He gave no sign that all was not well as the article submission was followed by the usual exchange of banters. The last exchange of pleasantries with our dear brother and friend… a staunch supporter of Tribune who counted himself as a proud member of the Tribune Family. We will miss your tenacity of purpose, kind words of support and the scintillating repast you served the Nigerian public every week in your column.
Fare thee well our Dear Comrade.

Our parents out of ignorance over the demographic contradictions in the North were fond of saying “Gambari pa Fulani  o lejo, Hausa lo pa Hausa”, meaning there shouldn’t be any fuss when a Gambari man kills a Fulani, as it is perceived to be an intra-ethnic feud. The lie was spread that the Fulanis who were the last set of people to arrive Nigeria  from FutaJalon were of the same status with the Hausas whom they deceived after the 1804 Jihad to accept ‘pure Islam’.

The Hausa were gullible and killed their kings so that the Fulani could rule over them. Then the Fulani moved on to the Kanuris who told them they already had pure Islam before the Fulani. The Fulani, out of subtlety, dropped Fulfude language to culturally assimilate the Hausa by speaking their language. The Fulani among themselves can code-switch to Fulfude and the Hausa would not understand a word.

It was after they finished the conquest of the Hausa that they moved to conquer the Kanuri who resisted them and said they were Muslims before their arrival. This is the reason why all Hausa land today are under Fulani Emirs but the Kanuris are under Shehus.

It has been strongly suggested that the Boko Haram insurgency partly has its origin in the Kanuri-Fulani feud.  I can recall how one Hausa young man was making progressive contributions at the 2014 National Conference. It was during lunchtime that I saw a Second Republic Rep, who passed on recently, scolding him in the corridor, saying “it seems we are  beginning to give too much education to some of you.”

That is the depth of contempt the Fulani  have for the Hausa. The ‘next level’ Fulani suzerainty has  brought out the worst in  their people in the two leading parties who now talk to the rest of us like Boko Haram and Miyetti Allah.  Only those who are not versed in the Fulani way would not understand the indifference of the presidency to the recent Zamfara schoolgirls abduction. As much as Governor Bello Matawale tried to manage the situation, he was forced to make a declaration at some point.

He first told the country what we all knew all along that we would be shocked at the identities of those behind kidnappings of school pupils and that there were people paying so that the abducted school girls are not released. These are weighty allegations that a proper government in a country that has not totally failed should be interested in and investigate.

The shameful option of the Fulani backers was to declare war on Zamfara by declaring a ‘no fly’ zone on the state. The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, told reporters in Abuja that President Buhari has ordered a no-fly zone to be placed on Zamfara State as part of measures to crush bandits operating in the state. The NSA said the security agencies have been mandated “to go after all non-state actors, whose activities are inimical”.

The marines are all ears but we know the object of the measure is to block the engagement of the state in productive mining activity and it flows from the clash of civilisations.


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