During the January Fracas in
which the Beroms gave the
settler ‘a slap in the cheek’ to
realize his status, the settlers
cried foul. They cried LOUDER!
LOUDEST! The officials of the
plateau state government did all
they could to suppress their cry.
They were only ‘grazed a little’,
why such loud cry. …

Official: So you see, comrade, this
is the way that Marx explained
it, ‘From each according to his
abilities, to each according to his
needs. ’ You understand?
Farmer: (confused) Not really.
Official: Ok. It is like this. Say a
comrade has two cows. We take
one cow from him and give it to
comrade who has no cow. That is
socialism. You see?
Farmer: Yes, yes, this is good.
Official: And if a comrade has two
tractors, we take one of his
tractors and give to man who
has no tractors. Yes?
Farmer: Yes, yes, that is very
Official: And if a comrade has two
chickens, we give one chicken to
man who has no chickens.
Farmer: No. That is not good!
Official: Why?
Farmer: Because I have two
The above is lifted straight from
a joke book. In the last couple of
days I had shared this joke with
quite a number of my friends to
the point of monomania. My
wife, who was there on most
occasions deigned to ask me
what I find so interesting in that
particular joke since she knows
very well that I am myself a
reservoir of plentiful anecdotes.
“ The farmer, my dear, is a man.”
I replied. She knew that remark
was pregnant but she rushed to
her duty post, the kitchen,
without further enquiry.
The farmer’s a man.
There was a fresh onslaught last
Sunday in villages around Jos. It
is alleged that Fulani herdsmen
were responsible for the
bloodletting of that calamitous
Sunday. The diabolical force
attacked in the dead of the night
and literally vanished into thin
air. The victims were largely
Beroms, mostly women and
children. The entire media, local
and international, unanimously
agree the carnage was
retaliatory. Truly, there is no
justification for genocide even if
it be in avenging bigger
genocide. Fie onto the
perpetrators of this heinous
massacre. I personally believe in
the sanctity of life and the
inviolable right to live and the
sacred duty to let live. Therefore,
it is my fervent wish that the
criminals behind every phase of
the genocide all across the crises
in plateau state be tracked down
and brought to book. But it is
probably another wish in vain.
Gov. Jang is perhaps the number
one accused in this bloody saga.
The police are accused of taking
sides. So also are the military.
Etcetra, etcetra, etcetra. Added to
that, no panel ’s or commission’s
report and recommendations
were ever implemented, if at all
made public. All the same I wish
what I wish.
The farmer is a man and I know
During the January Fracas in
which the Beroms gave the
settler ‘a slap in the cheek’ to
realize his status, the settlers
cried foul. They cried LOUDER!
LOUDEST! The officials of the
plateau state government did all
they could to suppress their cry.
They were only ‘grazed a little’,
why such loud cry. The
government refused to give any
figure of those killed or injured on
any one side for obvious reasons.
They refused to telecast victims
receiving treatment then. They
refused to pay heed to security
reports alerting them on the
huge possibilities of a violent
clash. Gov Jang refused to
answer the Sultan ’s phone call a
night before the carnage. The
commissioner of police was quick
to pass inciting verdict. The
commissioner of information
denied virtually every claim the
settlers made as to the cause of
the rampage, their casualties, the
Kangaroo police used against
them and their leaders, both
political and traditional, refused
to shed a single tear over the
settlers ’ loss.
Forget about the farmer for a
Ironically, now that the shoe is on
the other foot, the officials of the
plateau state government are
flooding the world with arguably
doctored information on the
mayhem of last Sunday in which
the victims were mostly ‘the
kings’ men’…Oooops I mean
‘kins’ not men. The kings even
shed tears. It is the Beroms
crying foul now. The echoe their
cry generated reminds me of a
poem whose wordings I am no
longer so sure of:
Settler, cry!
You cry alone.
Berom, cry!
And the whole world cries with
Many of our vampirish national
dailies wouldn ’t be left out this
time around. They lapped it up
like cream. They were all so
eager to report the atrocity that
some, in their rude hurry, did not
even visit the site or met the
victims or relevant officials
before putting pen to paper. It
was definitely a front page story
when Beroms are killed, but who
gives a damn about the poor
settler who ’s an intruder,
anyway. That’s perhaps why
January reportage of similar
gruesome killings was buried
deep inside a great majority of
our national dailies. But the great
haste in reporting the recent
attack is evident in the fact that
to date there is no consistent
figure of the victims, living and/
or dead. The Police tell us one
thing. The papers force another
on to us. And the partisan
commissioner of information
menacingly wants to ram
entirely something else down our
throats. The various figures of
those killed were reported as 56,
90, 106, 200, 350 and over 500.
The last is the figure touted in
official circle in order to make the
settlers ’ case even worse. The
police had to issue a statement
to disregard as inaccurate “the
500 reported by the media as
confirmed by the Plateau State
Commissioner for Information
and Communications, Hon.
Gregory Yenlong. ” Isn’t that a big
shame and a serious
embarrassment? Shouldn’t we
then take whatever Plateau
State Government may say on
the crises with double pinches of
The farmer is a man and I know
him, well.
Mr. Yenlong now claimed security
reports were ignored. Is this the
first time that security reports
are ignored? He even called for
the immediate arrest of the
President of Miyetti Allah Cattle
Rearers’ Association, Plateau
State Chapter. One wonders on
what grounds? Is like arresting
the head of any one Berom
associations for complicity in the
January carnage. Well, Yenlong
could be excused for the
desperation since he’s after all
trying to ensure his bread is well
buttered or, even likely, he lost a
relation in the showdown. All
deaths are equal, Mr. Yenlong.
The National Assembly in one of
its sessions early this week
observed some minutes of
silence in honour of those killed in
the most recent Plateau crisis.
Yes, most recent crisis where true
human beings lost their lives not
settler yahoos who only look like
human beings. It is this duplicity
that ’ll continue to undermine
good understanding, mutual
respect and harmony in our
society. For goodness sake I am
not saying only Hausa-Fulani ’s
were killed in January. No, by all
means no! What I am simply
saying is that they were the
worst hit. This fact is amply
attested to by the entire press
albeit indirectly by referring to
the Sunday attack as a “reprisal
attack”. That implies a payback.
Similar wrong was done them
and now they are avenging. The
Assembly ought to have
observed the same thing then. Or
were they waiting for more
corpses to pile up rather than
waste precious session time in
one more silence. Would it be
one silence too many?
Members of the Assembly were
really spitting fire and brimstone
while discussing the Plateau
crises, swearing by all that is holy
that the matter must be looked
into. They were all probably on a
commercial trip to the moon last
January, February and first week
of March.
The farmer is a man and I know
him, only too well.
Professor Wole Soyinka, winner
of the Nobel Prize in Literature,
was at the head of a protest
group calling for the
implementation of the Nigerian
constitution as it regards an ailing
leader whose capacity is in
question. That was a goodly act.
One would expect him to
transcend petty bigotry and fight
against the breach of the
constitutional rights of the Muslim
Hausa-Fulani settlers in Plateau
State who are denied Indigene
Letter, Scholarship, and political
mandate for purely ethnic
reasons at a time when we have
Igbo House of Assembly member
in Kano and Kaduna states and
innumerable naturalized Yuruba’s
in many Hausa communities. But
no, Sir. That ’s not his cup of tea
until recently when the whole
world echoed in unison the
clangorous cry of the Berom.
The American government is also
now very aware that the
situation in Plateau is getting out
of hand. Recently, America ’s
secretary of state, whose name I
cannot clearly remember but is
probably something between
Monica Clinton and Hillary
Lewinsky, urged Nigeria ’s
government to look into the crisis
and bring to justice its
perpetrators. Good. Very good!
May be what we ’ve been calling
for eons ago will now receive due
attention since the US govt.
seems to be interested.
The farmer is a man and you
probably know him too.
The recent massacre, like others
before it, in Jos and elsewhere, is
grossly unfortunate. We must all
shun violence at all times for
whatever reasons proffered. The
people on the other side of the
divide are also human. They can
hear. They can talk. And above
all they can see reason. . But we
must fight hypocrisy and double
May I extend my sincere
condolence to all those who lost
their dear ones in the plateau
crises. May the devils behind
them be exposed? May those
who were maimed in the fracas
find life less challenging than
when they were not?

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