By Ishaq Habeeb
The issue that allegedly triggered the recent violence in Jos was that a fortnight ago, men believed to be Fulani militia attacked the Irigwe community and killed 40 people, burnt down an unspecified number of houses and as is their style, vanished into thin air shortly after.
A fortnight later, the aggrieved Irigwe youth decided to block a road, stopped cars, cherry-picked Muslim passengers and slain them in cold blood in reprisal to the ‘Fulani attack’ on their community.
Now one of the secondary dangers of this barbaric culture of reprisal that’s since become a norm, in Jos, southern Kaduna and other places, is that often, innocent Hausa Muslim travellers and remote village dwellers, where few Fulanis also reside (not the actual Fulani militia), end up as victims of such Fulani militia attacks on random villages at various times for whatever bad blood they must have against such places and also of the eventual reprisals by residents of the attacked communities.
The major reason for this silly idiosyncrasy isn’t far-fetched. For the ignorant, vicious, islamophobic residents of those villages, Fulanis and Hausa are mutually inclusive, since to them, the two appear culturally and religiously homogeneous. Hence, they must share the same agenda; the common denominator here is Islam. But, other than that, I don’t see how Hausa could strike any, as Fulani, physiologically and traditionally.
The shocker to this age-long madness of confusion has now added the Yoruba Muslims to the equation, seeing that as news has it, some of the slain motorists in the Irigwe community were Ondo Yoruba Muslims who were only in Jos for a quick visit.
The sick irony in all of this is that some Fulani pastoralists are only Muslim by birth and name. That aside, the only real religion they have is ‘Fulani’ itself and the real god they really worship and can kill and die for, any day, anytime, anywhere and whoever, is their cow (“nagge“). Their cattle is what they live for and the primary essence of their existence; mess with that and win yourself a lifelong enemy.
Now one easy way to put my theory to the test is to wait until any Hausa community dares to kill or rustle Fulani cattle the way some members of those attacked communities do sometimes – whether as revenge for having their farmlands devoured by the herd or simply for evil intent as is mainly cited. Then, you would see how the Fulani militia will unleash their wrath on such Hausa community in like fashion; the Islam identity you think we share becomes immaterial.
Thank God the Hausa people are not as half as vengeful as the Fulani and those other tribes could be. Otherwise, considering the numerical strength of the Hausa people, then Nigeria as we know it would have long been history by now.
May Nigerians have a sense,
May the Nigerian government grow a conscience,
May peace take over Africa and the world.
Ishaq Habeeb can be contacted via email@example.com.