am having a very strong instinct that Nigeria, someday, will head for the rocks. It is becoming very obvious that the ownership of the country is not defined hence the tendency for anyone to run all manner of commentaries borne out of arrogance and undue pride. It is also manifest, that most discussions are not structured along national vision or agenda to deepen our collective aspirations and further the narrative of unity in diversity. When you watch members of Miyetti Allah Association on television, you will marvel at the level of their pride, gusto, misplaced confidence and deliberate anger especially on this Amotekun discourse. It further exposes the level of nepotism of the present leadership, reason why Miyetti Allah’s representatives have become paranoid on anything that tends to stand in their way of business engagement.
Watching one tactless, clueless, spineless and vulgarly Alhassan on Channels Television sometimes last week, pouring out venom and using uncouth language, such gibberish, against the proponents of Amotekun, was most unfortunate and further demeans the whole essence of our nationality. Civilisation is a strong word that requires a deeper understanding beyond the surface meaning.
If members of an association that are professional herders could pour out such anger and venom on the people of the South-West Nigeria, for daring to set up a security platform, it shows the extent of the primitiveness and crudity of the Miyetti Allah association. It is a notorious fact that members of Miyetti Allah often settle quarrels and differences with cudgels, bows and arrows, particularly with farmers, and even boastfully claim credit for many senseless killings of persons in retaliation for their slaughtered cows, I am still in awe to explain away their recent unabashed confidence in attacking people of the South-West over Amotekun. It is a big shame that in a 21st century world, where ranching has become the model for handling cattle business, the utterly primitive Fulani herdsman, bereft of formal education, still believes that nomadism and cattle rearing through bushes and forest should be the template to engage his business. As he roams the forests and farmlands, destroying crops and farm produce, he tells the farmer not to complain because according to him, he cannot be restricted or stopped in carrying out his business anywhere in Nigeria. His sense of ownership of farmlands even in areas or communities that he cannot lay any claim, speaks to his level of arrogance and pomposity, as if to tell the average farmer to go to hell.
Seeing the level of anger of the Miyetti Allah association, it got me thinking of the possible scenarios that may have warranted the outburst. First, I looked into the mission and vision of this Amotekun initiative, and I could not possibly understand the rationale for their outburst. Second, if the Amotekun security initiative is meant to address a number of peculiar crimes and criminalities, ranging from kidnapping to armed banditry, why should normads express such bated anger as if their cows were under threat? Does that in any way pre-suppose that the herders might be the brains behind these crimes, against the background of their reported antecedents in recent past, where they clashed with farmers followed by reckless retaliatory killings? Why should a security organisation that is poised to further secure the forest be a source of worry to herders who are resident in the forest? Shouldn’t they be happy that, for once, they are getting security boost from the Amotekun initiative? Why should they lose sleep over such a positive initiative? Could it possibly be that this Amotekun will expose the business or operational secrets of Miyetti Allah or what could possibly be the motivation for this anger?
The Amotekun initiative has helped to further unveil the hidden bitterness and anger amongst Nigerians of different ethnic and tribal backgrounds. It further exposes the mutual suspicion that exists in the heart-of-hearts of Nigerians across socio-political and regional divides. No matter how good an intention is, we often tend to use ethnic and tribal binoculars to view it, without looking at the bigger picture for the benefit of the nation. We are cocooned in our ethnic conclave in taking informed position on any issue. We are often driven by primordial sentiments rather than nationalistic sentiments in deepening our narratives. We still see ourselves not as Nigerians, but more as natives of our different tribal configurations. When Hisbah Police was introduced in Kano State, and Nasarawa, coupled with Civilian Joint Task Force in the North-East, heaven did not fall in the South. From exposure and civilisation, the Southerners understood clearly that the insecurity in those places required that certain deliberate actions are taken to mitigate them. The South-West did not insult the sensibilities of the North nor did they pour venom for daring to generate ideas that would be a direct response to the era of insecurity. Hisbah police has remained with us for over five years to complement the effort of the Nigeria Police that occasionally appears overstretched.
Why then was Amotekun such a pain in the neck? Elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai in an interview last week gave a tip of the fears. According to him, the Amotekun was a ploy for actualising restructuring of the country. Since restructuring has been on the drawing board, some Northerners are feeling that a regional platform like the Amotekun would facilitate the process of owning a regional security outfit that could further be armed to take up greater responsibilities should the need arise. It is the reason why the Miyetti Allah calls it “ethnic militia”, even though similar description or label was never given to Hisbah Police when it birthed in Kano. The Miyetti Allah did not stop there, they went further to threaten the South-West on political grounds, asking the region to choose between 2023 presidency and Amotekun. What impudence? What arrogance? What insults? An ordinary business association of cattle rearers who are primitively detained in the forest in the age of civilisation, dishing out such threat? Wonders! Wonders!! I expect Miyetti Allah to sit back, think of best ways to modernise this primitive and crude approach to their trade, especially in the face of civilisation, to grow their business, rather than becoming a militia by other means. No law is made at the convenience of anyone. If the Miyetti Allah businessmen feel concerned about the Amotekun, they need to live within its dictate or change some of their criminal tendencies. We cannot because of cows, expose human beings to senseless killings and criminalities. If there are no humans to feed on beef, how will the cow business thrive?
The Amotekun initiative is an eloquent response to the failure of our security architecture and the inability of the present government to find the appropriate answers to growing cases of crimes and criminalities. It is a call to vigilance and action. It is like asking the people to take their destinies in their own hands. It is a direct response to a nation in distress and dire straits. Be it legal or illegal, it offers a ray of hope to a people whose environment has become the temporary abode for all manner of crimes. The governors of the South-West must be commended for the boldness and courage to insist that the appropriate thing must be done in the true spirit of federalism. Other states and zones must wake up and seize this initiative. We cannot sit back and watch our country being gradually taken over by criminals, kidnappers, armed robbers and armed bandits to the extent that governors now travel through forests to negotiate with bandits. How sustainable would that be?
The Amotekun initiative is a metaphor for our collective failure in securing our country. This is why we should encourage this initiative to provide the roadmap for community policing of our dear country and create a sense of being secured in a country that is gradually being torn apart by insecurity.