Certainly, the Emir of Muri Kingdom in Taraba state, Abbas Tafida, is fed up as a traditional ruler. He must have been pushed to the wall by the activities of some killer herders. His subjects might have been suspecting him if he failed to talk about the development – of raping women and children, looting and kidnapping the people of the community.
The emir decided to talk on Sallah day when his kinsmen were expecting a message of hope. For the traditional leader in the north-east to summon the courage and issue a one-month ultimatum, if he was to give statistics of violence and robbery in the kingdom, of which his people have reported to him, tension will brew.
The Emir was speaking in Hausa language. He said: “Our Fulani herdsmen in the forests, you came into this state and we accepted you, why then will you be coming to towns and villages to kidnap residents, even up to the extent of raping our women?
“Because of this unending menace, every Fulani herdsman in this state has been given a 30-day ultimatum to vacate the forests. We are tired of having sleepless nights and the hunger alone in the land is enormous and we will not allow it to continue.”
Another vital point from the emir is “hunger” which he said is enormous.
Apart from these, giving an ultimatum and the emir said “we won’t allow this (sleepless night) to continue”. How does this kingdom plan to stop its sleepless night if the tormentors failed to leave and language from Abuja is not reachable in Muri Kingdom? The emir may be inviting an overnight DSS raid. Our prayers are that, may there be no discovery of ammunition, AK47, and others, if it happens.
Maybe that’s why the Governor of Benue, Samuel Ortom, was seen wailing and weeping when his kingdom was invaded. Like the emir of Muri, Ortom also gave an ultimatum to the herders who kill, kidnap and loot but it failed. Perhaps, it has worsened the peace moves in the land. More blood wasted. The governor is helpless, he does not control security architecture but he told his people to defend themselves where governments fail.
When the government failed to secure the lives of Ibarapa residents, they asked their tormentors to leave their ancestral land. It turned bloody. Women and children were being raped, farmers were kidnapped for ransom, houses were looted. Oba’s palace in Igangan, Oyo state was razed. There comes a messiah, Sunday Igboho, who they see as a freedom fighter that others take as a terrorist.
He led youths and women to protest insecurity and injustice in the land. The same groan of injustice from the emir of Muri in Taraba and the people of Agatu, Igede, and Idoma in Benue. The voice of Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, is heard speaking for justice, fairness and equity.
The sleepless night is not only in Muri Kingdom, it is in Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Borno, Yobe, Niger, and others. Hunger, as lamented by the emir, has spread to almost every household in the country.
When the emirs, the state governors, and prominent citizens are issuing an ultimatum after weeping and wailing, reasonable leaders should be seen feeling indifferent on the seat of power. When those with power to destroy Nigerian Air Force planes are still called bandits. No. No. Those that unsettle our unity are not seen as terrorists but good governance agitators are what we spend our time chasing. It means we have lost focus.
Rauf Oyewole is a Nigerian journalist. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org