While federal government/RUGA controversy is still hot in the polity, bandits on kidnapping mission and marauding Fulani herdsmen are unleashing terror on farming communities, some Fulanis are contemplating setting up vigilante groups in some parts of the country. OLASUNKANMI OSO and OLUWAYINKA AJE sampled the opinions of Nigerians to enquire if Fulani men should be allowed to set up vigilante groups in the South-west. Their views:
These people are not from Nigeria. They are not Hausas. But some might be Fulani from other countries. Security situation is a great deal. Before you appoint someone to secure you, you need to do background check, forensic analysis because you need to trust the person before you can trust the person with your life. Unfortunately, some ignoramuses believe appointing those people are means of security. How would you be secure with strangers? Do you know his reason for leaving his domain/village/home/country? Do not employ security personnel if you do not perform background check and forensic analysis on them. They could be chameleon. They could be means of security as smaller thieves and then become the bigger thieves later.
Security of the nation is not in the hands of the president alone. It is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders. But, when our leaders talk as if Nigeria has no value, they compromise the security of the nation. Today, Nigeria needs the rise of new nationalists and patriots. It is when we have true nationalists and patriots that an environment could be created for working towards national sustainability. Security is not about just fighting crime or suppressing rebellion. It is more strategic than acquiring or deploying arsenals of war or threats of war. And every stakeholder ought to be a public diplomat. Unfortunately, those who qualify to be vanguards of Nigeria’s public diplomacy are the very ones compromising the security of the nation.
I have not heard of Fulani vigilante in all the states in the South-west except that of Ondo State. For me, that is grossly abnormal—and should be greatly kicked against by civil societies in Ondo State. It is unfortunate that our nowadays politicians are not showing much concern on the people. They only crave for their political ambitions and how to achieve it all costs, irrespective of what it would cost them.
I guess there is no cause for alarm on that, as long as they remain peaceful and oderly. And the governments of Southwest should check their activities from time to time, to ensure that they do not deviate from their primary objective. We all know their pedigree. But, I think they are peaceful and they would continue to be peaceful.
The Fulani vigilante should be watched. They constitute a threat to the security of Yorubaland. Naturally, the man who is suspected to have committed a crime should not be given the job of securing the same environment. The Fulani have been accused of committing most of the crimes in the region and they should not be seen forming a vigilante anywhere in Yorubaland. To make matters worse, the vigilante exists under the name of Myeti Allah, a group that has been giving excuses for the killing of people across the country.
The optimum security we could have now is to understand the security situation of the country. In a country that has government, security agencies, security architecture. These are sets of people who have topped the news headlines of our national dailies for breaking legal codes and for misconducts. We cannot be skating on a dine ice. These are people who have expansionist agenda. They are not well-regulated armed militia. In other to keep our fingers crossed and also avoid possible clashes with their counterparts in southwest, I say a capital No to Fulani vigilantes.
The history of Nigeria since 2010 is full of wasted lives and terrorism which the Fulani, so to say, has contributed to. It is high time the government protected the citizens more than before. Most of the terror incidents that occurred in the past few months had the inclination of the Fulani—for example, the death of Mrs Olakunrin and many farmers in the South-west. I do not think it is proper for a vigilante group that is not registered and has not gone through a proper military training to stay on the road. Their motive should be questioned. I believe that Nigeria is going to be peaceful, but we must work conjunctively. The indigenous vigilante groups must be ready to work with the police. And, the citizens are to serve as a watchdog by being observant and by supplying the police with relevant security information.
Nigerians are becoming stereotypical when the ‘Fulani’ is involved in an issue. I however, do not blame such approach. My views on the Fulani vigilante? First, I would ask: Who are the Fulani? Second, do they have the integrity to be our vigilantes? Definitely no. While other nations are contributing intelligently to global discourse, Nigeria is still deliberating on a policy that favours a tribe over the over. Any state that endorses either the RUGA policy or the Fulani vigilantes, is contributing to the big picture of extreme and unprecedented bigotry. Why destroy humanity, because of tribalism and ethnicity?