The Oasis Reporters
June 28, 2018
To live the life of an Internally Displaced Person is indeed a foreboding experience.
They are usually left, largely on their own and to a great extent, they rely mainly on their kinsfolk in town.
I have seen kids roam around aimlessly. Women too, do the same and when things get really bad, some will sell their bodies to keep themselves and their kids in food.
There’s always forced hilarity in their voices as they try to acclimatize to their new circumstances. But when you look closely enough, that haunted, desperate visage lurks just beneath the surface.
It is disheartening to be a ” refugee” in your own land, a very terrible thing. Worse still is when your situation has been occasioned by your fellow country men, just because they can. Yes, only because they can.
Today in Plateau State alone, at least 45 communities have been sacked and occupied by “strangers”.
These ” strangers” were haboured by the host communities for years. Some have come to see these communities as home.
Accidents of history also conspired to give ascendancy to some of these strangers over the indigenous people, making it difficult for the “strangers” to recognize that they are not truly of the regions they have come to inhabit.
In a true federation, that is the way it ought to be. But we all know that this is not what truly obtains. For, there are some parts of the country where no matter how long you have domiciled there, you are never truly seen as anything but a stranger!
I have traveled far and wide in Nigeria my country and have resided in Yoruba country all my life. In Ibadan where I call home, I can do as I please. Build my home, own property and even become a strong community leader. As hospitable as the Yoruba are, it is unlikely that I can become a Commissioner in Ibadan. But down the road in Lagos, it has happened and continues to happen. The Yoruba, in my book remain the most hospitable people in this country.
In the East we all know the story. In the North, non Northerners are herded into Sabon Garis (new settlements or communes). But I do believe that they are even more flexible than the Easterners where ownership of property is concerned. But, I derail.
Whenever the issues in the Middle Belt are raised, people say…don’t ethnicize it. But that’s largely social media talk. Because the dispossessed know who have dispossessed them. Therefore it matters little if Mazino Obaro Ikime, uses the term Fulani Herdsmen or Fulani Militia. The victims of the atrocities that have been committed in that region know who is responsible for what.
The Federal Government really needs to look at this call for restructuring hard and fast too. There is disenchantment and discord which continues to engender hatred.
Whether I am politically correct in my utterances does not affect those who have lost loved ones, their homes and livelihoods to these marauders.
Decisive action needs to take place. Listening to Mr President in Jos the other day, I marveled at the hollowness of his pronouncements!
Yeah, he visited, he spoke.
But what did he really say? Another opportunity to be a true statesman and national leader H been lost.
Written by Mazino Obaro Ikime