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Rugan Ardo community, a Fulani settlement, not of killer herdsmen

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Owing to the incessant killings and wanton destruction of lives and property perpetrated by the ‘supposed herdsmen’, it has became a notion for most people to describe or see every Fulani cattle dealers as ‘killer herdsmen’, writes Maureen Okpe

Contrary to this, not all Fulani herdsmen are rustlers, ‘killer’ and destructive, surprisingly, some of the herdsmen are actually victims of brutality, which sometimes results to killing of their cattle and inflicting injuries on their children in the process.

This describes Rugan Ardo community a small Fulani settlement of cattle rearers in the outskirts of Idu District, situated a few kilometres from the railway station in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The residents are noticeably different from anything close to the description of ‘killer herdsmen.’

In a visit to the community during a film screening of a documentary entitled: ‘Uprooted’, organised by PAGED Initiative, the residents lamented that the killings are very bad and heart wrenching.

According to the chief of the settlement, Mr. Ardo Juwa, the community they do not see any benefit in such nefarious activities that results in destruction of lives and property, stating that not all herdsmen are the same.

For them, Juwa said, their struggle is for daily bread and how to give their children a formal education to make them independent and responsible individuals.

He said: “We have not had any reason to fight with those living around us even if we have lost our cattle and some times have to pay for things destroyed as they may wander into people’s farm which is not deliberate or intentional. This is because these are animals and they do not reason like human beings.

“One of our problem is that always you will be hearing that herdsmen did this, herdsmen committed that but Fulani consists of different people. They are not all the same.

“When these killings take place, people will just generalise and accuse Fulani herdsmen instead of calling out the persons involved and not the entire tribe.”

Speaking further, Juwa stated that these labelling, ethnic profiling and allegations do not go down well with him and his relatives as there are Fulani’s who do not partake in such heinous activities adding that it is ignorant and lack of understanding that make people carry out such actions.

He explained that people who indulge in such generalizations lack the ability to think for themselves and as such lack the wisdom to understand that they are just being used.

Rugan Ardo community is a small Fulani settlement of cattle rearers in the outskirts of Idu District of Abuja, FCT

In the same vein, a young Secondary School leaver, Mr. Husseini Muhammed, lamented how it seems to be now a crime to be a Fulani, stressing that on many occasions in public places, people treat them with disrespect and see them as inhuman, forgetting that these killings are not carried out by all Fulanis.

Recounting an event that happen in a hospital when he accompanied a relative, Muhammed said: “Some will shout at you and some will just ignore you. On that fateful day, the nurse with annoyance said ‘them and their cows I don’t know who have more sense. When you are talking to them they pretend they don’t understand but they understand the tactics of killing people up and down.’

“This got me really sad because we knew nothing of what we were been accused of.”

According to him, this has made him strive harder in his academics as he wants to study to become a Medical Doctor so as to assist his people to pass the hurdle of discrimination which they face out there.

He said: “When I graduate as a doctor my first project will be to operate a hospital in this community so that they will not have to go to where they will be insulted, and also where they can understand what is being said. This is because I will make provisions for Fulani and Hausa languages to be used for better understanding.”

Also speaking, the wife to the chief of the community said, Ms. Safiyar Ardo, regretted that the Fulani people have been left behind due to their live style and business which is based mainly on cattle rearing.

“One of our problem is that always you will be hearing that herdsmen did this, herdsmen committed that but Fulani consists of different people. They are not all the same.

Mr. Husseini Muhammed, lamented how it seems to be now a crime to be a Fulani, stressing that on many occasions in public places, people treat them with disrespect and see them as inhuman, forgetting that these killings are not carried out by all Fulanis

Ardo admitted that western education is beneficial and so the reason why in the community they key into it to better their lives.

“We have seen that without education you will not have much knowledge of things. In the past we have been cheated because of things we did not know, that is why we are insisting and trying to see to it that our children are educated even though the financial implication is huge on us,” she said.

Against this backdrop, she stressed the need for parents especially women to be gainfully employed no matter how little the enterprise, as this will add value to their family.

“When you do not have anything doing you cannot help your children or give them proper home training, even school fees will not be available and these children will remain idle doing nothing.

“These are the kind of children that end up becoming thieves, take drugs and do anything due to improper home training but a child that is properly raised and educated even if approached by Boko Haram or thugs claiming to be herdsmen will know better,” she said.


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