“The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future”- Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Saurdana of the Sokoto Caliphate and Premier of Northern Nigeria, Parrot Newspaper, 12th October, 1960, recalled by Tribune, 13th November, 2002.
These are interesting words from the most revered, prominent and powerful Fulani leader in the history of modern Nigeria. The Saurdana’s worldview, vision and intentions are well-encapsulated here and they are self-evident. They need no further explanation or analysis.
To add to the Saurdana’s contribution and to buttress his point, in August 2001 President Muhammadu Buhari, a proud and ascetic Fulani man whose mass appeal, popularity and following has reached cult-like proportions amongst the working class Fulani population in Nigeria said the following: “God-willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of sharia throughout the federation”.
Finally to emphasise the point, on January 27th 2013, Mujahedeen Abubakar Shekau, the young and brash leader of the most dreaded, most powerful and most deadly islamist terrorist organisation on the African continent called Boko Haram said “By Allah, we will not stop fighting until every Nigerian is living by sharia law. If you don’t abide we will kill you”.
When one hears and reads some of these things one can only look up to heaven and say ”may the Lord deliver the people of Nigeria”.
Here you have a classic case of anything and everything, including religion, being used to effect an ancient ethnic agenda of conquest and subjugation. It is not even subtle: it is brazen and real. Worse still most Nigerians are fully aware of it but they find it difficult to voice it let alone resist it.
Yet despite our awe and trepidation at least a few questions must be asked such as the following. Who exactly are the Fulani? Where did they come from? What is their story and what is their history? What is their purpose and what are their intentions for the rest of Nigeria? I shall attempt to answer some of these questions in this two-part essay.
Futa Jalon is an area made up of beautiful plateaus and breathtaking mountains which is situated in modern-day Guinea. It is a confluence that is known as the “bitter waters” and it is the location of the Vulture mountain where, up until today, thousands of vultures gather. It is also the source of no less than five major African rivers including our very own River Niger.
The people that live in that area are known as the Fula Jalons and it is from that ethnic stock that the Fulanis evolved. From there they migrated to other parts of West Africa and settled down in what was originally known as Sakkwato but what is now referred to as Sokoto in northern Nigeria.
The Fulanis were actually the product of a beautiful racial mix and generations of cross-breeding between the Arab-like and nomadic north African Berbers and Tauregs on the one hand and the local black indigenous Fula population of Futa Jalon on the other.
That explains their unusually light complexion, their well-chiseled and refined visage, their height, their unusually slight frame, the soft texture of their hair and their essentially non-negroid features. If the truth be told, generally-speaking, they are a physically attractive people. In terms of temperament they are proud, patient, calculating, subtle, courageous and they have very long memories.
They are capable of masking their thoughts and emotions very well but they will never forget a sleight. Most importantly, unlike most, they are capable of recognizing a common group cause and consequently they are in a better position to further the political and economic interests of their people more than any others. To the Fulani what is most important is what is the interest of his people and their collective cause than anything else.
It is interesting to note that the Tutsis of Central and East Africa come from the same racial root as them and they share similar physical features and characteristics. They are also both essentially nomadic in nature and traditionally they both have an intense fascination and interest in cattle and cattle-rearing. As a matter of fact the old-fashioned way of establishing a Fulani mans wealth is to find out how many cows he owns. The more cows he owns the richer he is considered to be.
It was after their mass migration to our shores and after they successfully infiltrated the Hausa kingdom of Gobir that Sheik Usman Dan Fodio, the father of the Fulani Caliphate, unleashed his violent and very bloody jihad, established the various emirates and conquered much of what is now known as northern Nigeria in the name of his Islamic faith. That is the history.
On March 3rd 2016 there was a violent clash between Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani youths in Orile, Lagos state. A number of people on both sides of the divide together with some of our security agents were killed. Homes, chattels, property and places of worship were burnt down as the fighting raged.
This came just one day after a similar clash between the same two ethnic groups took place in Ikorodu, Lagos state which also resulted in the loss of life and destruction of property.
Again on 5th March in Ogere on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway yet another clash took place between Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani youths which resulted in even more casualties and a terrible bloodbath.
A number of days before then over 300 Idomas were killed by well-armed Fulani herdsmen in Agatu, Benue state.
At a so-called peace meeting, when asked why they did it, they told the Inspector General of Police that it was because some of their cows had been killed!
After the meeting instead of being arrested for genocide and ethnic cleansing there and then they were allowed to go home quietly. Not even their AK 47’s were confiscated from them.
To make matters worse it was later suggested that those that perpetuated the atrocity were not even Fulanis at all but rather aliens from Chad and Niger Republic. The question must be asked: who is fooling who?
Sadly there are many other examples of mass murder, genocide, official impunity and similar atrocities. Over the years the same thing has happened in Jos, southern Kaduna, Zaria, Zangon Kataf, Kano, Bauchi and many other places.
Throughout the country Fulani militias and herdsmen are wreaking havoc and are slaughtering their compatriots for one reason or the other.
Worse of all is the fact that our Fulani-led Federal Government and Fulani-led Armed Forces are killing thousands of young igbos in the east simply because of their support for Nnamdi Kanu and their call for the establishment of the independent sovereigh state of Biafra.
Again a few weeks ago the same Armed Forces killed over 1000 shia muslims and shot and abducted their leader, Sheik El Zakzaky, who has not been seen in public since.
As all this is going on our economy has ground to a halt, our people are suffering untold hardship and difficult times and the war against Boko Haram and islamist terror is still raging.
Today Nigeria has the dubious distinction of having within its borders the first and the fourth “most deadly terrorist organisations” in the world according to the Global Terror Index. According to the Index the first is Boko Haram and the fourth are the AK 47- wielding Fulani militias/herdsmen.
People are being slaughtered, abducted, pillaged, kidnapped and raped all over the country on a daily basis by these heartless terrorists simply because they believe that one of their own is now in power and that they can get away with it. All this yet no-one appears to be prepared to do anything about it or to call a spade a spade.
In the light of all these facts the question on everyone’s lips is what is to be done? We all hope and pray for peace and unity in our country but judging by the way things are going perhaps the first question that we have to address is whether we really have a country at all and, if we agree that we do, whether it will or can remain united and as one for much longer.
If we ever needed the elders and great men of wisdom and knowledge like President Olusegun Obasanjo, General T.Y. Danjuma, General Yakubu Gowon Alhaji Maitama Sule, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Chief Alex Ekweume to pull us back from the brink and bring healing, peace and unity back to our land it is now.
The rise of radical islam and the use of terror to achieve the objectives of those who espouse and believe in it has changed the world forever. Our country cannot be exempted or left out of this. We have changed forever as well and things can never be the same in Nigeria again.
Those that are in power in our country today appear to have a soft-spot for the terrorists and for reasons best known to himself our President has simply refused to condemn the murderous activities of the Fulani herdsmen and militias.
This is probably because he is, and has been for many years, the Life Patron of the Fulani Cattle Rearers Association: which is the umbrella organisation of the Fulani herdsmen and militias. To make matters worse our President told the world, as recently as 2014, that “an attack on Boko Haram is an attack on the north”. One wonders what purpose that was designed to serve and why he had to say it.
Then came the sad and pitiful case of Ese Oruru in which the Fulani Emir of Kano played an unspecified and unclear role in the abduction, forced islamisation, rape, torture and kidnapping of a 14 year old southern christian girl whilst our security agencies turned a blind eye to the whole thing and refused to rescue her for months.
It has been alleged that the girl was kept against her will at the Emir’s palace and that one way or the other she was used as a sex slave and she came out pregnant. Despite all this the police have refused to pick him up and compel him to answer the necessary questions that could have cleared the air.
All this because “his” people are in power and they believe that thay can get away with anything and everything, including pedophilia, slavery and, in many cases, murder.
Worse still there are hundreds of other cases, five of which have been exposed by Miss Toyosie Ogunseye, the editor of Nigeria’s Sunday Punch Newspaper and her incredible team of investigative reporters and one by the famous high society blogger Miss Linda Ikeji on her blog in the last few days.
These cases are all similar to Ese Oruru’s and they involve the abduction, islamisation, rape, sodomy and enslavement of young southern christian girls (some as young as 9) who ended up in royal palaces and hareems all over the north.
In each of these cases those that carried out the abductions have refused ro return the girls back to their families despite all pleas and efforts and the police have been unable to do anything about it.
In one case in Bauchi in which the southern christian girl was just 12 years old and in which she was abducted whilst on her way to church, her family was told that if they wanted her back they would have to “negotiate with the Sharia Council”!
In another case in Zamfara state the family of a 14 year old christian girl who was abducted as far back as 2009 were told by her abductors that if they persisted in asking for the return of their daughter their entire family would be killed and their home would be burnt down.
As a result of this threat the girl’s father and his entire family had to leave their home and flee from Zamfara for their lives. They were compelled to leave their young daughter behind in the clutches of her merciless abductors.
Nothing reflects the degeneration to which our country and our values have been reduced to better than this.
Permit me to end Part 1 of this contribution with the following words which I keep hearing in my spirit and which I believe shall prove to be prophetic.
“O ye sons of Futa Jalon and ye daughters of the Vulture mountain and bitter waters: your princes and kings shall be exposed and brought to heel, your yoke shall be broken and you shall pay a heavy price for your wickedness and many sorceries”.
Many have been killed in the most hideous manner or falsely implicated and wrongly jailed in our country for sharing such knowledge and for exposing some of the things that I have chosen to expose in this write-up. Regardless of this I have no fear because I know that my Redeemer lives and I know that He shall stand with me till the end of time.
As long as Jesus lives I know that He will never forsake me and that, until my work on earth is done, I cannot be cut short and neither can my enemies overwhelm or destroy me. (TO BE CONTINUED).
Femi-Fani Kayode is a lawyer, a Nigerian politician, an evangelical christian, an essayist, a poet and he was the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006. He was the minister of culture and tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from June 22nd to Nov 7th 2006 and as the minister of Aviation from Nov 7th 2006 to May 29th 2007. He tweets from@realFFK.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.