– by Dr Okenwa Nwosu –
Ebonyi is widely known as the most welcoming of all sates in Southern Nigeria. The state is, therefore, known to harbor a large concentration of Islamist Fulani herdsmen and its associated well-armed militia who act as enforcers of will of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) of which the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari has been a Patron for life.
The indigenous population comprises mostly sedentary farmers who cultivate the land as their sole means of livelihood. As enunciated by Ebonyi state governor, Mr. Umahi, his government welcomes nomadic Fulani herdsmen cattle herders based on the policy of live and let live. But that philosophy has never been reciprocated by the nomadic cattle Fulani in all parts of the country for the past two centuries when their predecessors first migrated into Northern Nigeria.
The history of Fulani migration into the Nigerian heartland has been a tale of blood and horror, often camouflaged under the ambit of Islamic jihad. But history has shown that the Fulani first send in their nomadic cattle herders to infiltrate and surveil a target destination. The next step is to set up trading posts to sell their cattle to the local population. Then follow the building of mosques and arrival of Islamic clerics from well-established footholds farther north.
While the local population professes the principle of live and let live, the Islamic doctrine teaches something else entirely different. Islam has no tolerance for who they brand as infidels and non-believers. When the time is right, the local population would definitely get the ultimatum to convert to Islam or face the alternatives of enslavement or death.
This scenario has been played out recurrently throughout the history of Fulani hegemonic expansion and Islamization of Nigeria since the early 1800’s till date.