What’s the beef?
A cow is just beef, so why are humans being killed in droves to please cows and give them comfort to fatten up?
The Fulani herdsmen obviously haven’t gotten the memo on the value of life.
I don’t know what the solution is, what I know is that it’s a horrible situation and lives are being torn apart. This isn’t in the far north or northeast, this is just at my backyard, in peaceful quiet Benue, the food basket of the nation. Where we eat pounded yam for pleasure and abound in the juiciest of fruits. In Agatu… where they people survive on farming and fishing... and my grandma gets the nicest dry fish for the homes of her children and grand kids. We haven't had nice fishes for a while, grandma says the crisis has prevented the women who bring her steady supply from trading.
Death is on a rampage, dining with families and leaving blood trails of heartbreak; deep gut wrenching sorrow.
This is the season where love rises to embrace the hopelessness of people who have been uprooted from their homes, from what normalcy means to them. Waking up and living: cooking a meal, sharing a laugh, scolding a child, sweeping the compound… to the indecency of a camp, a makeshift home, emptied out classrooms. No clothes but the ones they had on as the fled. No privacy, little to eat and dependency on what love has to offer in form of clothes and food from individuals who have a heartbeat for humanity. Because it’s beyond the government, if love didn’t exist, they’d be victims of bureaucracy and corruption, twice hit, from their marauders and the people in authority who have a duty to respond to their plight and ease their burden but wouldn’t until there’s a social media movement that moves them to action.
There are various IDPs spread across the affected region in the state. But I have come in contact with one through my mum and her league of women, some of those led by love to reach out and be a little beckon of comfort. Not like some bags of rice and clothes are any comfort to one suffering from great loss, but they are a joy, an assurance that their survival is worth something, and they will live through this to a time where their land would be completely theirs again and restored, a time where they would be able to breath again without feeling like their chest would rip from the pain and hurt of losing loved ones and entire belongings, not even given the opportunity to have closure from burying their dead.
I haven’t been brave enough to go in the midst of lost hope to give love, because what I’d give wouldn’t be a smile of hope, but a forlorn look of despair and maybe guilt, that I get to come there by choice, I get to wear my own clothes and eat properly prepared meals and leave them in an aced car to a well made bed and at least the comfort of a fan in this heat, when the little some of them had, all of it has been snatched away… just like that, burnt.
I don’t have the heart. Yes I am a coward.
I’m not strong enough to take it in first hand, because it crushes me, even from the filtered information I get from my mum.
This particular camp is made up of those who escaped through the river.
They ran as their homes were set ablaze and witnessed indiscriminate killings of their fathers, sisters, uncles and children, that they couldn’t stop to mourn or hold on to for just a little while longer to their dying bodies. They were pursued and shot at as they fled. Many died right in the heart of an escape to life, but not to living just yet.
As they paddled away in canoes, they were shot at.
One of the ladies lost her husband just as they were about letting out their held breath in relieve at their narrow escape… right on the brink of a second chance, he was snatched from her and her children. What’s a new beginning going to be like for her?
One of the ladies was brought out of camp to be with my family, she’ll be earning some money for the upkeep of her kids.
Her story? While they hid out before they fled… she, her mum and her four kids had nothing to drink for four days, nothing! When they eventually got to the camp, her eight-month-old son died of dehydration. He escaped the machetes and guns of the marauders, but he couldn’t escape the thirst of the body.
There’s such a deep sorrow in her quiet composure, like you could drown in all the unshed tears within her soul. Her husband, one of the brave men who chose to stay behind to defend what they could of their home, their heritage… Did he survive? Or is he still alive and plagued daily with the uncertainty of a crude death and an unmarked grave?
What do the Fulani herdsmen want? There are theories… fingers are being pointed, but sometimes we have to move away from the genesis of an issue and get an exodus from it for a resolved tomorrow. What’s the solution now that it’s happening?
When has the life of a cow mattered more than a human life? When has the life of a cow become worth this indecency to humanity?
Why are we suddenly been stirred to barbaric responses in the era of civilization?
Why is war, rumors of war and crisis becoming a normalcy in our daily lives?
What’s the solution to this?
What’s the beef? And who’s responsible for burying the hatchet and brokering a long lasting truce?
So many questions, but would the answers bring about the peace we’re in search of?