Alhaji Abass Njidda Tafida

Alhaji Abass Njidda Tafida

The Emir’s Plaintive Cry

The Emir’s Plaintive Cry

8/1/2021 3:35:00 AM

The Emir’s Plaintive Cry

My heart went out to Alhaji Abass Njidda Tafida the other day. His plaintive cry attracted the sympathy of the listening world. Being the Emir of Muri in

Would it be considered proper for Haitians of Igbo ancestry to mass-migrate to Nigeria because of ethnic affinity? Or isn’t it true that Haitians, in their traditional worship, appease the “Ibo Loa”, the deity originally believed to have come from the descendants of Ndigbos of Nigeria? Is he aware that there are Igbos in Gabon and that even the Gabonese president, Ali Bongo, was rumoured to have been a Biafran orphan adopted by former president Omar Bongo during the Nigerian civil war?

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Hiding under the ECOWAS protocol to justify an attempt to tamper with the demographics of Nigeria is foolish, counter-productive and futile as we have seen so far.Were the ever hilarious Chief Zebrudaya asked to intervene in this discourse, he would have croaked, “What are good for the goose are good for the gizzard!”

But this is no laughing matter. Last February, I advocated that Nigerian Fulanis have to speak up in denunciation of those foreign invaders so that the good name of the Nigerian Fulani would not be soiled. In my column, under the title, “Fixing the Fulani Brand”, I gave my perspective on the Fulani as follows:

“The Fulani that many southern Nigerians knew and affectionately interacted with for decades are different from the variant of the tribe committing sundry violent crimes today. When the AK47-wielding herders came on the scene and motley ethnic groups were falling over each other to support them and lampoon their victims, I did warn that grievous damage was being done to the Fulani brand because everything happening was totally at variance with the previous perception of the Fulani as a contented, hardworking and peace loving lot. If I was Fulani, I would have denounced those violent nomads for what they were. I would have screamed, “Not in my name!”

Thankfully, some Fulanis have been speaking up. Our unity of purpose is strengthened when we put ethnicity and religion and other parochial sentiments aside to affirm that what is bad cannot be good at the same time.The Sultan of Sokoto has spoken up several times on the need to wipe out terrorists from the land. Soldier of conscience, Col. Abubakar Umar Dangiwa (Rtd), has also been proffering solutions to the problem. Dr Akeem Baba Ahmed has also been reaching across the tribal aisle, seeking to understand and to be understood.

But no one has spelt it all out so definitively as Emir Abass Njidda Tafida of Muri emirate in his Eid el Kabir sermon. He was obviously incensed, frustrated and devastated that his emirate had been laid waste by a band of violent wastrels. He may have sounded as if he was legitimising self-help. But the terrorists have pushed everybody to the wall. That was why the emir issued the 30-day ultimatum to the foreign Fulani elements to vacate the forests or be destroyed.

His words: “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? If you are not a Muslim, let us know.“From now onwards if anyone is kidnapped from this emirate, we will go into the bush and kill any Fulani man we see and we will not ask for his name or what he does because the Fulanis cannot say they do not know the kidnappers, they had better stop them.

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“From now on, anyone caught conniving with kidnappers, we will kill him and his family members. Police should be warned! We have respect for them but when next they arrest someone conniving with kidnappers and they let the person go free, we will also arm the youth to protect the citizens.

“Because of this unending menace, every Fulani herdsman in this state have been given 30 days 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 this oppression to continue.”

You can feel his pain, his frustration, his feeling of helplessness. Of course, nobody is saying that lynch mobs should take over law enforcement in the country, but the right to self defence in the face of certain death is universally acknowledged. No one can accuse the emir of tribalism, religious discrimination or Fulaniphobia. We are all identically robed in the garment of victimhood. The least we can do is defend ourselves.

“When it comes to self defense”, says Kevin Shearer, “it is better to have the power and not need it than to need it and not have it.” Read more: LEADERSHIP Newspaper »

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