Thursday, 22 February 2018

Kenneth Okonkwo Makes Shocking Revelations about Fulani Herdsmen and Farmers Clash



All herdsmen are farmers (animal farmers) but not all farmers are herdsmen. The crop farmers consider the livestock farmers a worthy ally in the whole process of making food. The waste from the livestock provides a veritable source of manure for the crops. It is one of the best set of organic fertilisers. So good is it that the crop farmers even pay for it. The livestock farmers depend on the waste from the crop farmers for the feeding of their livestock. They buy grasses and unused crops, after harvest, from the crop farmers to feed their livestock. At times, the crop farmers even reach an agreement with the livestock farmers to allow them move
through their farms during years of fallowing the land to allow the land to rest and be re-energised. The movement of the herds through the land, during those periods enables the herds eat up the remnants of crops and grasses in the land while giving the lifestock opportunity to directly defecate on the land, thereby giving the land the desired manure and making the land richer and better prepared for greater yields when the crop farmers resume the cultivation of the land. Such was the symbiotic relationship that existed between the crop farmers and the herdsmen, whether local or foreign. This relationship ensured bumper harvests for the crop and livestock farmers those days and made food available for all at very cheap rates. Everybody benefited. 

As expected, just as it happens in all other existing relationships of mankind, there is bound to be clashes between these set of farmers. Some herds (cows, sheep, even local goats) stray into lands with ripe or unripe but unharvested crops and eat them up without the authority of the farm owners. Some farm owners can harm some herds which make such unauthorised foray into their lands. But the beautiful thing those days was that the world of farmers had traditional ways of peacefully resolving those conflicts among them. They knew they needed each other, so they guarded their relationship jealously. No conflict was too big to be settled peacefully. No blood was ever lost or even contemplated to be lost as a method of resolving any crisis. 
Q
The Fulani Herdsmen and their lifestyle were particularly intriguing and fascinating. Apart from the Igbos, the Fulani Herdsmen were the most travelled of the other tribes. That's why the Fulani Herdsmen and the host communities in those days were natural allies. Whereas the host communities dwelt in cities or rural areas, the Fulani Herdsmen dwelt in bushes; indeed they were the bush masters. So skillful were they in the management of their forest life that they earned the admiration of the host communities in Nigeria. They were simple, not greedy, in love with their cows, strong and untiring, not violent (in fact largely unarmed with only staves and knifes for domestic use),

As children, there were a lot of myths they told us about them that made us rush outside to watch them with admiration in Nsukka land, the Land of my nativity. We were told that they live in bushes. That they understand the languages of animals and the animals understand their languages. That snakes and other animals in the forest do not attack them because they have the juju that enable them morph into any animal specie and live peaceably with all animals. That when they are hungry, and have run out of food in the forest, they will morph into cows and eat grass before they morph back to human beings. To convince us on this myth, we will watch to our chagrin how a little boy of 5 years will be commanding cows with only a staff and the cows will be obeying him while whenever we get near to the cows they will send us running away with a mere sound. We will voluntarily offer them water to refresh themselves. We thought then that they owned the cows and marvelled on how rich they were yet how loving and caring they were to the cows that made them even sleep with them in the bush

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