Re: Dear Kadaria Ahmed, Keep Quiet If You Have Nothing To Say On Herdsmen

Dear Kadaria Ahmed, I am confounded at the manner in which you pointed your pen at your partners, indeed, that is, if you are a journalist in the first place. 

Your article, “My message to the Nigerian media” is a disgrace to the calling and to the journalists who go extra miles to guarantee truth are uncovered. 

I observed from your article that you are still living in “If world”. It appears for many years; you haven’t seen that there are some ethnic group back by the government, going about and murdering honest individuals even at their own homesteads. 

No, you haven’t seen that victims of these group protest only for a feeling of acknowledgement, for equity and to maintain a strategic distance from re-occurrence. No, where were you when journalists who poke at the public authorities, maybe, your political godfather Mr Buhari are captured and imprisoned without charge?

Fulani herdsmen with a motorcyclist arrested at Ohafia. | credits: Stephen Uka
Fulani herdsmen with a motorcyclist arrested at Ohafia. | credits: Stephen Uka

What is a journalist’s job in the public eye, especially like our own, where truth is sold, and responsibility is assaulted in the butt? What do you anticipate that journalists should do, crease their hands, and join the line like our Senators, Member of the House of Reps, our state governors or even our local government officials?

According to the BBC, “Journalism serves as a public ‘watchdog’ by monitoring the political process to ensure that politicians carry out voters’ wishes and that they don’t abuse their positions.

“A free press is important because if the media was not able to report truthfully on events, important information might be hidden, and voters would remain in the dark. Equally, if the media was not allowed to facilitate open and free discussion, the views and concerns of ordinary people might not be heard.”

Your attack on Journalists is inappropriate. The only wrongdoing of Nigerian journalists are their reports on events, or are you of the opinion that they hide some facts not to instigate another civil war?

A couple of days prior, a radio broadcaster blamed me for sensationalism headline, and he said I shouldn’t have referenced that a US-based man that was kidnapped and killed in Edo State, an energetic man who returned home to celebrate Christmas and was abducted by Fulani herders.

In 2018 President Muhammadu Buhari met with The US President Donald Trump, and our chief Tribalist was quick to defend herdsmen when Trump raised the issue before him. 

Mr Buhari replied “The problem of cattle herders is a very long historical problem. Before now, cattle herders were known to carry sticks and machetes… but these ones are carrying AK-47s.”

If this is the case, the question is then, what the Nigerian government is doing to resolve the ongoing conflict between Fulani herdsmen and Christian farmers; investigate the crimes and prosecute the perpetrators; investigate the supply chain of AK-47s; consider the potential religious component to the conflict, and assist all victims of the conflict? Forbes queried in 2018.

Three years is a long time, and more people have died since then in the hands of these same animals invading our homes and our farmlands.

Jubril Muhammad Aminu, a cardiology professor, said “So, they have to move from place to place. The move, say, from Plateau to Mambilla, from Mambilla to Plateau. They move all over the place, and their contacts are the farmers, particularly now that their brother Fulani are not ruling. You see, there is a disadvantage to indigenous people, the indigenous tribe. They drive them away.

“They are not aggressive people. Are they mad? They are not. They just come back and pass where they passed, where they grazed last year. But somebody has taken it and says it is his farm, his house, his land. That is what is causing a lot of the problems that you see. And what will they do with their cows?”

The Chairman of MACBAN, South-East Zone, Miyetti Allah Association Alhaji Gidado Siddiki said Nigerians are using “blanket labelling” to conclude that all herders were criminals but agreed that there are “criminal infiltrators” among them.

National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Baba Usman, said “This is part of the name-smearing propaganda that has been going on about herdsmen. What does it (YCE) mean by ‘the herdsmen are untouchable’? Were the herdsmen not victims of the crime that has been taking place in the country? 

Now let me return to the accusation by the radio broadcaster. Am I sensationalizing my headlines? The government officials and associations claimed herdsmen are peace-loving; they claimed they are victims, Mr President has not taken decisive action against the criminal elements.

Several governors in the North claimed they are being targeted with no single message to those who lost their loved ones in the hands of these scourges. Who are the owners of the cattle? Who allows someone to trek from North to South? Would they let their children do the same? These are the problem coupled with our corrupted Nigerian police to whom the people had lost faith.

As a journalist, It is important to point out that a Fulani herder has committed a crime that their leaders claimed they are victims of. It is essential to now Headline the article that point fingers at the very people who have pretended that the victims of these daily killings are immaterial, it is crucial to write the event as it happens. If Igbo man commits a crime, I’d say an Igbo man.

We are one Nigeria, but we weren’t from immemorial. Do we live in a country where people publicly make utterances indicating that they are superior to the rest of the people, no one arrest them? We live in a country where soldiers escort herdsmen to farmers and beat the sanity out of them, and no one calls them to order? We live in a country where family cries, children are fatherless, women turn widow, and the perpetrators would brag that the police would release them, and no one cares?

Now, let me get back to the allegation by the radio broadcaster. Am I sensationalizing my headlines? The public authorities and herdsmen association said herders are peace-loving; they asserted they are victims, Mr President has not made a definitive move against the criminal components.

A few lead representatives in the North asserted they are being targeted with no single message to the individuals who lost their friends and family in the hands of these scourges. Who are the owners of the cattle? Who orders somebody to trek from North to South? Would they let their children do likewise? These are the problems combined with our undermined Nigerian police to whom individuals had lost confidence.

As a journalist, It is critical to bring up that a Fulani herder has carried out a crime that their chiefs claimed they are victims of. It is fundamental to now Headline the article that points fingers at the very individuals who believe that the casualties of everyday killings are irrelevant; it is significant to report the events as it occurs. On the off chance that Igbo man perpetrates a crime, I’d say an Igbo man did.

We are one Nigeria, yet we weren’t from prehistoric. Do we live in a country where individuals openly make expressions showing that they are superior to the rest of the regions, and nobody warned them? We live in a country where soldiers escort herders to farmers and beat the mental stability out of them, and nobody calls them to order? We live in a country where family cries, kids are orphan, women turn widow, and the culprits would boast that the police would free them, and nobody cares?

Kadaria, what do you need from journalists? It is safe to say that you resemble the radio broadcaster who needs journalists to withhold data regardless of whether it is for the public interest? What prevents you from taking on the public authority who had applied tepid mentality towards this issue? Why not inquire from the police who wouldn’t do their essential duties to ensure lives and properties are protected?

What prompted your Headline? Those going to people’s farms, annihilating their livelihood and slaughtering farmers will not set the country ablaze yet the individuals who report the events would? Call the public authority to act now to deflect your dread or stay silent in the event that you don’t have anything else to say.

I’m insulted by your assault. It was pointless, Fulani herders have stood out as truly newsworthy on the BBC, on Forbes, RT, and on numerous global media.

Fulani herders have stood out in Ghana, Cameroon, and other African nations. Journalists aren’t profiling these individuals, however, their violence, bias, lack of education, and predominance conviction are their most noticeably awful adversaries.

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