Pastor Tay Martins shared his experience on social media
Read his story below:
Let me start by saying i used to be a big supporter of President Buhari. I still like him, but my approval rating of him has dropped; and this has nothing to do with the ongoing killings by herdsmen. I have been trying to assess the herdsmen situation from several point of view. If you carefully engage the sixth sense, you will agree with me that certain things concerning this menace does not add up.
My opinion of the above: One: the pastor received an intelligent report about those who were behind the killings. In my belief: that intelligence report was credible and genuine. But someone somewhere, who wants the pastor to disbelieve the credibility of the report wrote him the letter purporting to be from Fulani herdsmen. Purpose of which to steer up religious sentiments in this killing saga and to consolidate our thinking that the killers are Fulani herdsmen, contrary to what the report might have stated.
What i see here is a manipulation. There is a group of a vicious and sinister nature that are orchestrating these killings and trying to manipulate Nigerians into believing it’s Fulani herdsmen. As for me, the letter they sent to the pastor just gave out their schemes. This manipulation is the handy-work of a group of syndicates, somewhere.
I am a Pastor and Farmer. I share a river from which I irrigate my farm with Fulani herdsmen. There they bring their cattle to drink water. There is a large stretch of my land that are yet to be cultivated. Sometimes I see these herdsmen feed their cattle of that part of my land. At first I was worried and apprehensive of them bringing their cattle on it but from the distance where I watch, I saw them standing guard, preventing any in the cattle from coming onto the cultivated farmland. I saw how they speak languages (like a warning) at the cow and the animal obey by stepping back. I also watch how they beat (with their staff) the hell of out of any cow that dare step into my farm. One day I walk to them. As they saw me coming, they came towards me smiling like they already knew my worries. They greeted and spoke to me in fluent Yoruba language.
They told me not to worry about my farm; that they would secure it from the cattle. Then they begged me for water. I realize they could not drink of the river when and after the cattle steps in. So I took them to one of the surface tanks on my farm and told them they could come for drinking water as much as they need. They just took enough in a water bottle and left. At another time I engaged them in further discussions, where they told me that cattle belongs to one popular Yoruba –my tribe’s man. That they are only workers skilled in the keeping of cattle, working for my tribe’s man. I was amazed to hear that.
Sometimes they wave at me by the road side when I drive home from the farm, seeking a lift. Then I stop my car to pick them but won’t even recognize who they are. In the car they would ask: sir, don’t you recognize me? I am the cattle man. Amazingly I will shout wow! You’ve changed. We both laugh and they tell me: we are going to town to make some purchase and that is why they are not in herdsman clothing. No conflict or violence with Fulanis has ever been recorded in that village community to my hearing.
This is my own story with Fulani Herdsmen. I keep picture records of events on my farm because I don’t know when I may qualify for grant. Those are pictures that reflect some activities on my farmland. In the ordinary I would not have shared them for now. But if it could promote peace; why not? Maybe herdsmen are not the enemy here; because I think about this all the time. Herdsmen attack? How are we sure they are Fulani Herdsmen? Is it because they come with their cattle when they attack? I just don’t understand.
How do we sacrifice for peace? I know many of us has lost so much or even too much already. Both Christians and Muslims, this nation mourns with you. But remember that every precious thing you have lost can only be regarded as sacrifice when you forgive. Forgiveness is the sacrifice of peace; and your sacrifices towards the unity and progress of this nation shall never be in vain. If not in your lifetime, your children shall speak of your good story. I plead with you; let us give peace a chance to survive –meaning: we are just about to kill peace.
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