et talk a little more about this situations, In the past, the sight of cattle and its meat called beef left tongues wagging, mouths drooling and one’s belly expectant of such a tasty delicacy especially when it is served as Suya at night garnished with the condiments of spices to give it a salivating taste to nourish our bodies. However these days the story is different, as the sights of cattle and the men behind them with sticks or umbrellas roaming around streets and communities evokes fear and mutual suspicion between the onlookers and the herdsmen themselves. People dread the cattle because of the men behind them, those fickle-looking stick-wielding herdsman who appears innocent is a stealthy assassin with a lust for blood and domination.
In recent times in Nigeria, the cattle itself has been the issue of debate but not the subject of the argument. The cattle is the forerunner of chaos and an instrument of destruction used by the blood-thirsty herdsman to commit atrocities. First, the herders use the cattle to invade farmlands, where the slow-moving earth herbivores wreck havoc destroying food and cash crops causing damage to the farmer’s months of planting. Not done with that, the herders abduct, maim and kill farmers who stand up to them in coordinated killings without any form of remorse. They even go as far as abducting women and children, raping some, and in some cases killing them. In some communities, they forcefully take over some lands and demarcate boundaries for themselves and their cattle alone, and anyone who dares encroach is mulled down by the herders’ guns and daggers. What we see is a pitiable case of marauding nomads now chasing settlers out of their place of birth. A case of tenants evicting landlords, or employees locking out the employer from his domain. A very sorry sight.
These violent herdsmen now graduate from communal violence to highway hoodlums, using their castles to block roads and expressways where they engage in armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom using their castles as effective cover. The herdsmen have now become new overlords of the land. They dictate who lives and who dies, who farms, and who eats what is harvested. Human lives were not their first consideration, they value their cattle more than a human soul, little wonder they are impatient with the dagger and the gun, ready to sacrifice their lives for the cattle.
The cattle militia spreads death wherever they go, they live tales of relentless cries, woes, pains, and sorrow on the path where their roaming beasts tread. They move around into communities without invitation, destroy farmlands without opposition, and sack communities without retribution. The cattle militia is no longer that simple group who move with umbrellas, sticks, and water bottles taking care of their cattle, instead, the cattle militia is a well-armed set of vengeful murderers armed with AK 47 rifles and daggers saddled with the evil responsibility as encapsulated in the Bible ‘ to steal, kill and destroy’.
The cattle militia is everywhere, from the mambilla plateau in the North to the creeks of the Niger Delta and to the cocoa arable lands of the West, and the forests of the East, they spread terror and woes wherever they set forth. These rootless herders are always violent and indeed blood flows, where the cattle go, What have we done the cattle?