A farmer in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Mr Goodhead Nation, narrates to DANIELS IGONI his encounter with a Fulani herdsman who falsely accused him of stealing his cow and descended on his 18-year-old son with a machete.
What is your name?
My name is Goodhead Nation.
What is your son’s name?
His name is Koghi Samuel Nation and he is 18 years old
When were you and your son attacked by a Fulani herder?
We were attacked on Friday, February 18, 2021.
How did the attack happen?
My son and I were in my palm plantation, cutting palm on that day. Suddenly, around 4pm, one Fulani herder ran into the plantation. He charged towards me and asked me for his cow. He said, ‘Papa, where is my cow? You have stolen my cow. Where is my cow? You took my cow.’ And I asked him what cow he was talking about. I told him I didn’t t know what he was talking about and that as he could see, I had been busy on my palm plantation. I told him we had not seen his cow and it was not with us.
While he was talking with me, my son was on the other side of the plantation, cutting palm. My son had been cutting the palm while I was carrying it. The herder asked me repeatedly for his missing cow and I told him repeatedly to look elsewhere for his cow. He was holding a big stick and a machete in his hands when he ran into the plantation. Suddenly, he tried to hit my head with the stick but I blocked it with my hand.
He attempted again and I still blocked it with my hand. He then ran towards my son, who took to his heels. He pursued my son and I heard my son shouting, ‘He is pursuing me, he is pursuing me.’ After a while, I did not hear my son’s voice again. So, I also raised the alarm. I started shouting for help, saying that a herder wanted to kill us. Somehow, one person who heard my voice rushed to my plantation. I told him what happened and he joined me in the search for my son. We did not hear his voice again as we kept searching in the direction the herder pursued him. We got somewhere and found him on the ground, and he could not answer me when I called his name. We called his name several times but he did not respond. He was unconscious. We started shaking him vigorously; then he regained consciousness and we carried him to the riverside where I tied our canoe. But the canoe was not big enough to accommodate the three of us.
So, some people nearby saw us and brought their canoe. We paddled to Otuoke, our community, and took him to the hospital there but they did not have a blood bank and turned us back because my son was losing blood. Some community development officials assisted us and got a vehicle to take us to the FMC (Federal Medical Centre), Yenagoa, in the night. When we arrived, they started treating him, washing his wounds and taking care of him. The herder cut my son with a machete.
What parts of his body did the herder cut him?
He cut him on his head, right palm and buttocks, maybe when he fell on the ground. So, he cut him on three parts of his body. I cried because my son is my only helper and he cut his right palm.
How deep are the wounds?
The one on his palm is very deep; the palm is almost cut off. I am afraid he may not be able to use it to work and support me. He is the only one who assists me on my plantation.
Did you see other herders with the one that attacked you?
No, I didn’t. I think he came alone. He was the only one I saw.
Were his cows with him?
No, I didn’t see any cows around.
How was he dressed?
He was wearing a singlet and trousers like some Fulani normally dress.
Did you see a gun on his body?
No, he wasn’t carrying a gun but he carried a machete and a big stick which he uses to control his cows.
When you eventually found your son, was the herder still there?
No, he had run away after cutting my son. We did not see him again.
Have you reported the incident to the police?
No, I have not reported it to the police. I have not had time. We have been in the hospital since that night we brought my son. I have been trying to save his life. I don’t even have money to pay his medical bills. I have been crying, right from Otuoke till I got to Yenagoa. Some people in Otuoke contributed money and gave to me.
But will you report the incident to the police when your son is discharged from hospital?
Yes, I will report to the police. But the Ijaw Youth Council has promised to take up the matter. Some IYC officials visited us in the hospital and assured me not to worry. They said they would also visit the scene of the incident.
How is your son now?
They have stitched his wounds and he is responding to treatment.
With this incident, will you still go to the palm plantation?
I have fears now. I’m afraid of going to that plantation so that the herder won’t come and kill me. It was God that saved me and my son.
Now that you are afraid of going to your plantation, how will you fend for your family?
I don’t know. It was God that saved me and my son from the herder. God will help us; He will take care of us. I have been bothered since the incident happened. I can’t use my hand that the herder’s stick hit, very well now. So, I am bothered. My son had been the only one helping me.
SOURCE: PUNCH NIGERIA