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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Unsettling rhetorics as Hausa and Fulani leaders exchange words

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Above: Kalthoom Alumbe Jitami: below: Dr. Salim Musa Umar.

There is an unsettling behind-the-scenes battle of wits and dangerous rhetorics going on between former tradiitional allies, the Hausa and Fulbe (Fulani), which may soon burst at the seams and throw the entire north into an uncontrollable conflagration, if not nipped.

Observers say it has been on for decades, but is becoming prominent following the growing banditry in the north, especially the North-West geopolitical zone, where the Hausa believe their race is being targeted by the Fulani.

Recently, a socio-cultural group, Fulbe Global Development and Rights Initiative (FGDRI) arose from a meeting calling on the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar to intervene and end the lingering crisis between the Fulani and Hausa in Nigeria.

FGDRI lamented the frequent clashes between the Fulani and Hausa in Northern Nigeria, distancing itself from banditry and other criminal elements linked to its kinsmen.

At its annual general meeting two weeks ago, its president-general, Dr Salim Musa Umar, said the Fulanis were being profiled and linked to criminal activities in Nigeria in order to be dealt with, adding that the race was facing existential threat and called on all to rise and avert the impending “genocide” against the race.

Umar said over 156 Fulani and 7,000 cattle have been killed in the first quarter of 2024 mostly in Plateau, Kaduna, Zamfara, Taraba and Niger states.

He adds, “The Fulani anywhere in this country and many other countries have become an easy prey and likely to be linked, compared or attached to all forms of vices.

“The narrative that is being sold in Nigeria trying to pit the Hausa against the Fulani is not something we can fold our hands and watch. A Hausa killing a Fulani and a Fulani killing a Hausa is such a big challenge. All of them are Muslims in Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and other states in Northern Nigeria and our revered fathers are keeping quiet.  It’s high time we set a committee that will take us to the Sultan to take leadership seriously and settle the Fulani and Hausa feud. As a race, we are facing existential threat. If a Fulani is not safe in Sokoto State, I don’t know where he will be safe in this country.”

He admitted that miscreants among the Fulani race were committing crimes.

“The criminals among us are not representing us, they are not our ambassadors, we didn’t ask them to go into banditry or kidnapping on our behalf, they are criminals and must be identified as that. They are not representing Fulbe, so no Fulbe should be tagged because some of his brothers are involved in kidnapping and banditry.

“Over time, our people have been subjected to pressure most of which are orchestrated by some evil personalities hence, our responsibility to address the challenges become difficult and seemingly impossible sometimes.

“However, it is possible if we can come together with the strongest of determination to say enough is enough, I believe we can do it,” he said.

He disclosed that the National Human Rights Commission is investigating the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) over the killing of herders in Nasarawa State.

On the Benue State Anti-Open Grazing Law, he said the group lost its case at the State High Court in Makurdi but had appealed against the judgement.

Chairman of the occasion and former Bauchi governor, Malam Isah Yuguda, said the Fulbe had a traumatising experience and must respond effectively to secure the future of their next generation.

Also present at the occasion and speaking in similar light was the dethroned Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who said the Fulani, like the Jews were being primed for global genocide.

He called on relevant stakeholders to commence community engagement to change the narrative surrounding the stigmatisation of the Fulani race.

In what appeared to be a swift response, a woman who styles herself as an emancipator of the Hausa race, Ms. Kalthoom Alumbe Jitami of the Hausawa Tsantsa Development Association (HTDA), removed the gloves in a rejoinder to FDGRI president-general.

She went down the memory lane, as she has done in the last few years, and listed a litany of woes the Fulani have unleashed on the Hausa race.

Jitami, who is rarely seen in public over alleged threats to her life by Fulani nationalists, wrote:

“Your great grand-father Usman Dan Fodiyo in the last 219 years initiated the killings and plunder of Hausa People and their lands by brigandage that  continued till today.

“Dr. Salim, where were you that you had been silent when your Fulani People were busy visiting my Hausa People with the following atrocities unabatedly:
– they buried Hausa people alive in the days of Bn Usman.
– they sold Hausa people like herds of cattle into slavery.
– they castrated Hausa males to stop them from procreation.
– they jailed husband and wife to their death for no just reason(s) .
– they seized cultivated and uncultivated farms and farm lands belonging to the Hausas.
– they indoctrinated Hausa children into begging and made them see poverty as their divine destiny.
– they forbid the Hausa children to go to school and those who managed to go were deprived of choice courses as they strive to further their – Hausas are denied recruitment into armed forces, paramilitary, police force and civil services.
– they forbid/exclude Hausas from participation in politics, except for voting as directed by Fulani mallams, imams, and ulamas.
– they kidnapped Hausa Christian women from churches and raped them inside mosques.

“In Sokoto that you are complaining about the insecurity of your Fulani,  your very  Fulani people  did the following to Hausa people:
– they burnt 44 Hausa people alive in a bus.
– they threw live Hausa babies to Fulani dogs as feed for the dogs to eat.
– they cooked Hausa’s newly born babies and gave their cooked flesh to the Hausa people to eat by force.
– A 70 years old woman was gang raped by about 15 Fulani men.
– they kidnapped husband and wife with their son and forced the son to rape his mother right before his father.
– they set a market ablaze with hundreds of people in it in a broad daylight.
– they beheaded 200 people and placed their severed heads on their chests.

“Dr. Salim, be reminded that Fodiyo, the father of your great grand father arrived Hausa land naked and uncircumcised. He was a stark illiterate and humanly debased. The Fulani were introduced to circumcision by the Hausas, and Usman Dan Fodiyo was taught literacy and Islamic religion in Hausa land. The Fulani never brought islam to Hausa land as they want the world to believe.

“Today, the Hausa people are saying enough is enough to the Fulani people because the Hausas are forced to remember the good that they represent to the Fulani and the evil that the Fulani represent to the Hausas.

“Therefore, the call to arms bearing is  made to the Hausas by me Kalthoom Alumbe Jitami, that the Hausas must defend themselves and their lands against the Fulani People.

“Dr. Salim, your voice of condemnation against the atrocities of your Fulani was never heard but no sooner we stood up to your people, you are all over place calling for attention. Enough is enough and there is no going back to ejecting Fulani out of the Hausa land by every means possible! The Fulani are strongly advised to exit themselves out of Hausa land before it is too late.”

While most of Jitami’s comments are found on social media, especially in Hausa groups, an idea of how her narrative is shared by most Hausa elites surfaced when an Emir in Zamfara State

“Our people have been killed, other Nigerians have also been killed. The more security agencies kill the armed Fulanis, the more their numbers increase. Today, the military and other security agencies will go after them and kill them, tomorrow another set will come and attack our people.

“They come in from Mali, Burkina Faso and other places, kill our people and loot our resources.”

The Emir of Kwatarkwashi, Alhaji Abubakar Ahmad Umar, had blamed foreign collaborators, and the presence of mineral resources for the worsening insecurity in Zamfara State and northern Nigeria.

He noted that though the disagreements between Fulanis and Hausas over cattle rearing were initially the main cause of the conflict, the situation has been aggravated by the discovery of gold and other mineral resources in the region.

Umar was speaking when Defence correspondents visited his palace over two weeks ago.

There have been talks of reconciliatory meetings going on, but observers say they may achieve little because of how deep-seated the hurts go among those who have lost loved ones and the mutual distrust between both races.

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