If someone lives by traveling from place to place instead of living in one place, such a person is said to be a nomad. By moving about, families of nomads have been and are still being decimated as when they part from each other in search of pasture, they may never meet again. after all they never have a village or settlement of their own. It is this pathetic life of moving about in the bush with cattle that is the chief cause of kidnappings in northern Nigeria. Unfortunately today, most of the nomads no longer have cattle of their own to sell and go on Hajj or solve other life’s challenges as they used to do in times past because cattle rustlers have dispossessed them. Poverty is now their lot.
I have said times without number in this arena that this life is no longer sustainable. It is now very clear that Fulani nomads and their women can no longer live in the bush herding animals. You know why? A steadily rising population and an unequal land distribution have resulted in the emigration of large numbers of the Fulani (particularly youth) to the cities in search of better job opportunities than cattle herding.
But the young Fulani nomads are not prepared for city life. They have no education, they don’t have skill of any type, they are not farmers, they don’t know how to farm, they are not traders either because they don’t know how to do trading.
But our founding fathers ought to have had the vision that something like this would eventually happen to the nomadic Fulani who are the most dispersed people in West Africa. For our failure to do this long before now, we have and are still breeding armed robbers and kidnappers.
The nomadic Fulani do not have a place where their kids could go to school and make friends like your kids and mine. These nomads have no place where they could travel with only a carry-on and not all their life belongings. They do not have a place where they could focus on their health and organize a better work/life balance. They do not have place where they could be part of a community. They do not contest elections and they seldom vote. They are for ever on the go.
Unfortunately arms conflicts in the Middle East, North Africa and some parts of West Africa have made dangerous weapons and light arms readily available to many. Today, guns are locally illegally manufactured all over Nigeria. These weapons are now in the hands of the nomads who can not live an honest life in the cities because they don’t know how.
This is why Zamfara is burning and blood is flowing there every day. So is Kaduna, Benue and Plateau. It is why people can not travel between Abuja and Kaduna without being robbed or kidnapped by the nomads.
For us in Adamawa, most of us can hardly sleep with our two eyes closed. People are either kidnapped on the farm or on the way to or from the farm. Girei local government area and the neighbouring university community have recently experienced kidnappings. Song boiled and Fufore has now caught fire as in Gurin, Chigari, Yadim, Pariya, etc, kidnapping is a daily affair.
This evil is perpetrated by the nomads because most of them no longer have cattle of their own as an investment nor as an item of trade to sell and go to Hajj or marry as in times past. They do not know how to farm nor engage in trading. They have no skill of any kind nor education and most unfortunately, they can easily lay their hands on weapons which they use to get easy money to sustain their new found very expensive life style of drugs and substance abuse.
I don’t know the solution to this challenge of our time.
By Hon Sadiq Dasin