So, some people are just getting to know about the existence of Ruga? Ruga that used to be a fortress for us as kids in adventure then oh. We would sneak out – far into the bush – in search of Fulani people. To get charms for elusive mystery, to have a taste of their Kindirmo, a freshly brewed cowmilk (nono)!
We would befriend their boys and admire their girls – we would teach their boys how to read in English and they, in turn, gift us giant cocks. I was so popular among the Fulani that I was named ‘Dan labe’. Inna, a very tall beautiful old woman was my crush. She so loved me that she yearned for my adventurous visits. She said I looked very well like her husband who went far across the Niger with his flocks but never returned as he got drowned in the canal of Asaba! Inna was friendly and motherly infectious to me. At a point, I almost became a herder. I was attracted to the nomadic splendour of the Fulani people.
26 years ago, just like yesterday oh, is my reference and Karu here in Abuja was the location in reference. We were all Igbos, Kadara, Igala, Hausa, Yoruba, Idoma, Tiv living amongst the Gbagyi as Nigerians. We went to the same market, stream and farmed on same land inhabited by the ancestral Gbagyi. We were united by humanity and that was all that matters.
We had Angwan Tiv, inhabited by the Tiv-speaking people who sojourned from the rich rivers of Benue – yes happily settled in colony on the land of the Gbagyi, the original inhabitants of Abuja. So, we had Angwan Hausawa exclusively colonised by the Hausa-speaking people from the rich heritage of Arewa. The Igbo co-inhabited their colonies with the Igala and other tribes. We were all Nigerians settled in the land of the Gbagyi and we lived in perpetual harmony.
The Fulani colonized themselves far into the bush not because they hated human cohabitation but because they have their herds in companionship. It was extremely impossible to have them lived within us because of their cows, hence their sojourn into their Ruga, today’s reference of fear.
To avoid the incidence of cows roaming the streets, disrupting human traffic, destroying crops and bringing diseases, they chose to live in isolation. The Fulani of my reference aren’t the kidnappers of today and they aren’t the bandits of today. I am talking about the peaceful Fulani that lived in peace with us years ago. Those fulani that didn’t rustle cattle. Those Fulani that lived in peaceful companion with every tribe in Nigeria. Bring back our Fulani in Ruga settlements.