By Gbemiga Olakunle
Recently, President Muhammed Buhari was quoted as saying that the best time to diversify the nation’s economy is now as a result of our dwindling fortunes from Petroleum Resources owing to the crisis in the Niger-Delta and the drastic cut in the price of crude oil in the international market. The President through his government’s policies obviously wants the nation’s economy to be diversified into Agricultural Production/Marketing and Solid Minerals Mining.
Historically, before the discovery of crude-oil, Agriculture was the bedrock of Nigeria’s economy with cocoa, groundnut and oil-palm being produced as cash-crops in the Western, Northern and the Eastern regions of the country respectively.
However, the President’s intention to diversify the nation’s economy from Petroleum Resources to Agricultural Resources will remain a tall-order and a mirage in lieu of the persistent Fulani herdsmen’s menace that can be likened to the activities of the biblical Midianites and the Amalekites recorded in the scriptures Judges 6:1-6.
Currently, farming activities in the North-Eastern part of the country have been grounded and reduced to zero-level as a result of the Boko-Haram menace in the last 6 years.
The same goes for the Middle-Belt especially in Benue and Plateau states where some Fulani herdsmen are ravaging the farming communities and turning the local inhabitants into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Intheir homelands. The same strange fire has engulfed some parts of the South- Eastern region while the South- West is the latest port of call of these deadly invaders.In the Oyo North Senatorial Zone (Oke-Ogun Area) of Oyo state, South-Western Nigeria, these Fulani herdsmen would usually wait until the cassava stems and the maize stalks are in their early and tender stages before they drive their cattle to graze on the farmlands and destroy the crops.
And of course, any form of resistance from the affected farmers will be met with attacks that could result in the raping of the women, maiming and even killing for daring to challenge them.
Police reports in Oke-Ogun Area will prove that this is the kind of behavior that the people of the Area have been tolerating for decades from the Fulani herdsmen popularly called Bororo among the locals.
But the impunitywith which they are operating now has been on the high side in the last one year. As a result, the farm-produce of these crop-farmers that are producing at a subsistence level has been on the sharp decline.
In other words, the crop-farmers can no longer produce enough crops to feed themselves talkless of selling the rest of their harvest to meet their other personal needs owing to the activities /deadly operations of the modern-day Midianites and Amalekites in their midst,.“…For they come up with their cattle as grasshoppers for multitudes…
The Federal Government’s intention to diversify the nation’s economy into Agriculture will amount to paying a lip-service if the lives and the property of the farmers cannot be guaranteed in their own homelands. We do not need a Cleric, a Seer/Prophet or a Soothsayer to tell us what is obvious.
And this is the fact that Nigeria will soon enter into a period of acute food shortage/scarcity not as a result of natural disasters like drought or pests invasion, but due mainly to internal security issues enumerated above. And except the relevant authorities muster enough political-will to confront the needless internal security challenge.
But can the present administration of President Muhammed Buhari serve the purpose of our own present -day Gideon’s Army in our current circumstances and lead the people of this nation into their inheritance where peace, prosperity and equity abound? As we continued in previous articles, the people on the receiving end of these Fulani herdsmen menace should not go on a revenge mission or reprisal attacks.
However, taking up of arms and weapons are allowed for the purposes of self-defense or protection as recorded in the Scriptures and demonstrated by the responses of the Israelites to the nations who came out to fight against them in their journey through the wilderness to Canaan land.
The accounts of these wars are recorded in the books of Leviticus and Numbers. In other words, do not be the attacker, but you can do anything possible to defend your territories against surprise attacks from any group of intruders.
•Olakunle writes from Abuja