A Nigerian pastor, Tay Martins, has come out to share his experience with herdsmen who come around his farmland to graze their cattle. In a post shared on his Facebook page, Pastor Martins says a group of people are orchestrating the recent crisis between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of the country to manipulate Nigerians into believing it’s Fulani herdsmen. Read what he wrote on his page below
Let me start by saying i used to be a big supporter of President Buhari. I still like him, but my approval rating of him has dropped; and this has nothing to do with the ongoing killings by herdsmen. I have been trying to assess the herdsmen situation from several point of view. If you carefully engage the sixth sense, you will agree with me that certain things concerning this menace does not add up.
Few days ago, it was published by a very popular Nigerian pastor that credible intelligence report has reached his desk about those actually involved in the ongoing Benue killings. To me: I think this an insinuating that the killers are actually not Fulanis or herdsmen but some perpetrators that were not disclosed to the public. But few days later, a letter was written to this very same pastor -the contents, which he shared in a video that has gone viral. The letter was written by a group claiming to be on behalf of Fulanis, seeking grazing colonies and would not stop until they viciously achieve what they seek, all over the nation.
My opinion of the above: One: the pastor received an intelligent report about those who were behind the killings. In my belief: that intelligence report was credible and genuine. But someone somewhere, who wants the pastor to disbelieve the credibility of the report wrote him the letter purporting to be from Fulani herdsmen. Purpose of which to steer up religious sentiments in this killing saga and to consolidate our thinking that the killers are Fulani herdsmen, contrary to what the report might have stated.
What i see here is a manipulation. There is a group of a vicious and sinister nature that are orchestrating these killings and trying to manipulate Nigerians into believing it’s Fulani herdsmen. As for me, the letter they sent to the pastor just gave out their schemes. This manipulation is the handy-work of a group of syndicates, somewhere.
Come to think of it: could Fulani people be that stupid? The President is their tribe’s man and they have chosen 2017/18 -close to 2019 election year to intensify killings and chaos? For what purpose would that be? To jeopardize President Buhari, their tribe’s man chances of a second term in office? Does that make sense? If the grazing colony agenda is to happen, don’t you think Fulanis are smart enough to wait for the outcome of 2019 election? Engage your sixth sense and you can agree with me that certain things does not add up.
A group of people somewhere, of a sinister nature are manipulating Nigerians and 2019 is the agenda. I am not insinuating that there are no killings by herdsmen. Truly there had been clashes between farmers and herdsmen not only in Benue State but at other regions in Nigeria. But I also believe that the recent escalation and sophistication of violence has to do with a hijack of this menace by an underground group with the intention of steering national hatred, phobias and unpopular public opinions towards the president and his tribe’s men.
It is very important to be truthful; that I fault the president for being too quiet in dealing with this herdsmen killings. The situation has gone too bad before serious action was taken. I think his “go slow” method created the needed loophole his distractors were seeking to cash-in. The impression the public are having about the president is that: he feels too relaxed or comfortable with the Herdsmen killings because they are Fulanis. If that is not the case; that is what it seems like. But should we have expected the president to take drastic decision or make reckless statement like OBJ did with OPC: “Shoot herdsmen at sight?” No. What we have on ground is an ageing President, in a very difficult situation. The actions taken now could have been taken earlier. Better late than never –shall we say? May God grant him the wisdom to sail Nigeria out of this dangerous storms.
I am a Pastor and Farmer. I share a river from which I irrigate my farm with Fulani herdsmen. There they bring their cattle to drink water. There is a large stretch of my land that are yet to be cultivated. Sometimes I see these herdsmen feed their cattle of that part of my land. At first I was worried and apprehensive of them bringing their cattle on it but from the distance where I watch, I saw them standing guard, preventing any in the cattle from coming onto the cultivated farmland. I saw how they speak languages (like a warning) at the cow and the animal obey by stepping back. I also watch how they beat (with their staff) the hell of out of any cow that dare step into my farm. One day I walk to them. As they saw me coming, they came towards me smiling like they already knew my worries. They greeted and spoke to me in fluent Yoruba language. They told me not to worry about my farm; that they would secure it from the cattle. Then they begged me for water. I realize they could not drink of the river when and after the cattle steps in. So I took them to one of the surface tanks on my farm and told them they could come for drinking water as much as they need. They just took enough in a water bottle and left. At another time I engaged them in further discussions, where they told me that cattle belongs to one popular Yoruba –my tribe’s man. That they are only workers skilled in the keeping of cattle, working for my tribe’s man. I was amazed to hear that.
I don’t stay in the farm 24hrs but I have never return to find them destroyed my crops. But there was a time their cattle, while drinking stepped on and broke my water irrigation pipe. I called their attention to it, they apologized sincerely and offered to pay for the replacement, which I refused. They promised to take extra measures to prevent it from happening again. At another time, I realize that they usually hang a scabbard (cover of sword or large knife) on their shoulder. Very funny, but then I asked: what is that sword for? I was expecting them to say something like: it is for protection against thieves that might want to steal their cow. But no, they told me they carry it around in case any in the cattle would die of sudden illness or snake bite, they would quickly slaughter it and sell the beef. That it is unethical for them to sell beef of cattle that died before being slaughtered.
(a) In the river where the cattle comes to drink.
(b) Broken pipe, after cattle stepped on it,
(c) After it was mended.
(d) By the river with the pumping machine.
(e) Arriving the farm.
(f) Irrigation pipeline.
(g) Irrigation in progress
(h) The surface tank
(i) With my Hausa brothers/workers.
(j) With the locals.
(k) More workers at work.
(l) Myself at work.
Sometimes they wave at me by the road side when I drive home from the farm, seeking a lift. Then I stop my car to pick them but won’t even recognize who they are. In the car they would ask: sir, don’t you recognize me? I am the cattle man. Amazingly I will shout wow! You’ve changed. We both laugh and they tell me: we are going to town to make some purchase and that is why they are not in herdsman clothing. No conflict or violence with Fulanis has ever been recorded in that village community to my hearing.
This is my own story with Fulani Herdsmen. I keep picture records of events on my farm because I don’t know when I may qualify for grant. Those are pictures that reflect some activities on my farmland. In the ordinary I would not have shared them for now. But if it could promote peace; why not? Maybe herdsmen are not the enemy here; because I think about this all the time. Herdsmen attack? How are we sure they are Fulani Herdsmen? Is it because they come with their cattle when they attack? I just don’t understand.
My message: let’s be very careful on what we think and what we say. I have noticed that a lot of unconfirmed videos and contents are flying around on our electronic devises. Let us employ the wisdom to verify all things and hold strong which is the truth. The first question you should ask yourself when you receive a content (video, image or text); would this promote peace or generate hate? Think twice before you share. Let us resist the powers that are trying to bring us into strife and divide. I know that many region (if not all) has a reason to be very angry. But the battle to win Nigeria back into her glorious destiny is not of bullet but of the mind. We need to be at peace with one another. Check at all the nations in conflict with their selves. No one is talking about development but about relief and humanitarian situation & solutions. What they continue to get in place of development is death and destruction, until peace if first achieved. Peace is the platform or vehicle by which every good thing comes. Peace is not for free, we sacrifice for it. Peace does not stay or wait; we pursue after it.
How do we sacrifice for peace? I know many of us has lost so much or even too much already. Both Christians and Muslims, this nation mourns with you. But remember that every precious thing you have lost can only be regarded as sacrifice when you forgive. Forgiveness is the sacrifice of peace; and your sacrifices towards the unity and progress of this nation shall never be in vain. If not in your lifetime, your children shall speak of your good story. I plead with you; let us give peace a chance to survive –meaning: we are just about to kill peace.
A light in the tunnel: hope is very near. I can see God raising the next generation of liberal minded leaders. We (our generation) are younger and has seen better things and so shall do better things. If this generation of leaders that has ruled us since the beginning of Nigeria refuses to step off the mantle; I hope they are seeing the writing on the wall that their time is almost up. But if they refuse to retire and pass leadership to the next generation, nature is just about to retire them. As the next generation prepares, let us learn from their mistakes and not wallow in the same folly. God bless Nigeria.