Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
Murders of Nigerian citizens, typically farmers, attributed to ‘Fulani’ cattle herders are reported in the media just about every other week.
Lasting solutions to these crises, aside from identification, arrest and prosecution of culprits, depend on the determination of each affected person.
The solutions put the onus on the one whose rights are violated.
A good start is for farmers or concerned persons to order the cattle and their rearers out of the farm.
From personal experiences in dealing with trespassers and similar who disdain the rights of others, these steps might help.
1. Do NOT engage in any conversation or pleasantries with such violators or their representatives.
If exchanges of greetings used to occur, cease those.
2. When the cattle and/ or their herders are on one’s property or the property of another individual where one has jurisdiction to intervene, order both cattle and rearers out.
3. Be firm and calm. Do not approach the animals or their carers. And ensure their carers do not approach one.
Remember guideline 1. = No discussions. A conversation of any sort will embolden the rearers to move towards one, increasing the risk of violence against one’s person.
Remain at a good hearing distance.
4. If possible, express guideline 2. in own language or in English language.
A simple GET OUT! is sufficient.
5. Expect some resistance.
Stand one’s ground and reiterate: GET OUT!
Other herders will trespass. Be resolute.
With consistency on one’s part, one will become known by the the words: GET OUT!
Even persons who have no knowledge of English language will soon understand those two words.
6. Identify one’s enemies among own social interaction. This is the tricky part.
It is easy to rake against “others”; acknowledging that own family and friends readily conspire with “others” is another matter entirely.
7. Here comes another problem: tradition, culture or religion.
If any of those encourages the prolongation of the trespassing, one has a vicious cycle.
Be ready to caution members of own ethnicity or religion, especially community and religious leaders who advise one to ‘endure’ injustice
Apply guideline 1. on such persons.
8. Avoid group action. This is of utmost importance.
One can never determine the intentions of others, except persons whose loyalty and discipline one can attest.
The purpose of this precaution is to avoid a physical confrontation when that was not one’s plan. Others can drag one into such a confrontation.
Another reason is to avoid being set up. Yes, the same who pretended to fight on one’s side can also be witnesses against one. This ought to be common sense.
9. Involve security agencies. There are two options here.
A. Herdsmen or persons protecting rearers’ interests will run to security agents to demand their right to feed or walk their cattle on or through one’s farm.
One will very likely be invited or detained.
Please do not assume the officers need to be of any particular ethnicity or religion to side with criminals
Collect legal information on such officers and send a petition to relevant authorities.
B. Lodge a complaint with a security agency. Give them information on the identity and movement of herdsmen violating one’s space.
Keep a record of each violation, the time, number of persons involved, their utterances.
There is the possibility that security agents will seek an amicable solution to the trespassing and destruction of one’s property.
Politely reject any suggestion by security agents that is likely to exacerbate the situation.
The best of intentions by the officers will not save one from the outcome of that meeting should one accept further violations as a remedy to current infractions.
Now, it is one thing to complain of the existence of a problem; willingness to see that problem eliminated is another issue.
Some talk about problems with little or no desire to change the situation by self.
Let us see how we can individually change our own fate for the better.
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