Does Bello Turji belong to Zamfara?

In English, some things or beings are called “scared cow”. Chambers Dictionary defines “scare cow” as “an institution, custom, etc., above criticism.” defined as Thoughts of the ‘sacred cow’ easily lead the mind and intellect to India. Many things are held sacred there, and the “awakening” of western civilization has not been able to eat away at this part of Indian life, even after many episodes. When the thought of “sacred cows” is taken literally, one thinks of Hindus who revere their cows. In places like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, where Hinduism is the norm, there are no shortage of sacred cows. Elephants, tigers, turtles and even mice have special status in Hinduism. They are all sacred in their own right. There is also the Hanuman of India and their frightened monkey.

Sacred monkeys are also abundant in Awka, the capital of Anambra State. As cosmopolitan as the Awka people are, they still treat their monkeys with respect. They will not harm or kill them, let alone eat. Ngwaland has the Osokwa people. They respect bush birds and do not kill them. They don’t eat the animal either. The Oje people of Yorubaland will not hunt the weaver bird. In fact, part of the Oje panegyrics are people boasting out loud like “the Oje boy who should not have eaten the weaver bird”. Also, in many parts of Africa, the python is considered sacred and revered. The former Eke Idemili (Anambra State, Nigeria) comes to mind.

People take all kinds of power in their cultural and religious beliefs. Also, many myths involve their obedience to these animal symbols, and these vary from culture to culture. For example, there were some rams from the Ekebedi community in Ikwuano LGA of Abia State that were not declared sacred but carried an aura of invincibility said to belong to the community’s deity, Kamanu. As primary and secondary school children, we often saw black rams destroying and destroying people’s households and gardens in Akabadi and nearby Amiz. Rams called “EbilaOgwuma” were common sights in Amizi and Ekebedi communities but interestingly not found even in the nearer Awomukwu. Rams represented danger when moving in a herd and they expressed anger because they were always hungry and could be dangerous. Our fathers and mothers warned us not to harm the gods because they belong to them. So they were free in their destructive majesty all the way to AhiaOrieta and around Amizin’s Amankwu community axis. It was best to drive them out of the gardens.

However, I still wonder why the cow is the most popular animal used by the English to symbolize holiness out of all the animals on the list. This may be my shallow knowledge of these subjects, but that’s how I feel about English. What’s up with the cow? Why didn’t the British say “sacred python” instead of “frightened cow” as we have in Ghana and Benin Republic? Like the sacred cow, which the dictionary says is “above reproach”, other animals considered sacred by various people, including “EbilaOgwuma”, are beyond reproach. Well, why only cows?

In matters of spirituality, there may not be an entirely irresistible argument. We simply accept it as it is because it is beyond the human mind. Maybe we should just give in to the Zamfara state government’s proposal on Bello Turji, a thug and terrorist, as agreed by the people. The Zamfara State government, through the state deputy governor, Senator Hassan Nasiha, has said that the notorious bandit has accepted the government’s peace initiative. The deputy governor indeed commended Turci for the ceasefire decision after all these years and also thanked him for his action in bringing relative peace to the three local government areas of the state namely Shinkafi, BirninMagaji and Zurmi. “Several wars have been fought, but this has not stopped the parties from engaging in dialogue to resolve their differences through a peace agreement. It is in light of this that Governor Bello Mohammed deemed it necessary to use kinetic and non-kinetic approaches. It would not be an armed battle between bandits and the people, or a war using any weapon.

According to the numerous reports of killings in the northern parts of the country, there is no war in the region. What has been reported and circulated is that armed bandits, now declared terrorists by the government, have invaded towns and villages mainly for financial gain. They mercilessly killed people, looted villages and communities. Not once was it reported that Turji and his ilk were fighting a war and why they were fighting. It deserves to be studied in what voice the sanction of Bello Turki came that absorbed the Zamfara government so much. It remains to be seen what will happen to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that will be brought down should Turji unilaterally return home. Again, is the pardoned Bello Turji of Zamfara the same Bello Turji of Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger states? I think another study on armed banditry in different parts of the North will help unravel the flowery language Zamfara has used to describe this man.

Bello Turji is not known to be a man confined to an area like Zamfara. He’s like Ìjakùmo… He’s not a beast for an area. Meanwhile, helpless farmers everywhere negotiate huge payments with terrorists and bandits to gain access to their farms. Farmers and their government leaders are all writing their own history.

In matters of terrorism, robbery, security of life and property, Northern Nigeria shakes hand with fist. There are actions that allow banditry to ignore it and different languages. The Deputy Governor of Zamfara State may not be aware that he and others have raised a monstrous tiger and created a chapter in history when he addressed the students of Madina University. According to many, Nasiha and her boss achieved great success by locking Turji in a cage. For many others, there are doubts about such success and its authenticity, in all its consequences. How secure is the terrorist cage? You may need to read about it again.

I am reminded again of sacred animals. Sacred cow seems to take on a new meaning. Do we have to dig deep to find out which gods we offended who put these beasts on us? These holy beasts disturb our minds.


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