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That Islam is spreading at an alarming rate in Nigeria is not in doubt, but a majority of us are ignorant of the factors which act as catalysts in this spread.
Apart from the multi-billion dollars annual budgets provided by the Arab world in sponsorship Islarnization, herdsmen and the federal government perform very critical roles in the spread. Today, we shall take a peep into history to enable us to appreciate the roles which herdsmen play in the Islamization project.

That Islam is spreading at an alarming rate in Nigeria is not in doubt, but a majority of us are ignorant of the factors which act as catalysts in this spread.
Apart from the multi-billion dollars annual budgets provided by the Arab world in sponsorship Islarnization, herdsmen and the federal government perform very critical roles in the spread. Today, we shall take a peep into history to enable us to appreciate the roles which herdsmen play in the Islamization project.

The spread of Islam comprises three main stages in sequence. Like colonize the first step in Islamizaton is the establishment of contacts with the community to be converted. The   second stage consists of the establishment of a Muslim community inside the host community.
The third stage is actually the final phase. It is stage when the Muslim settlers begin to demand for Sharia laws. They combine these demands with Jihads to intimidate the host community to submission.
Unlike Christians who peacefully convert non believers, Muslims spread Islam with a combination persuasion and war.  Islamization of Nigeria is an age long quest by Nigerian Muslims to enforce Sharia laws in the country and this agenda is being spearheaded by Fulanis. With a population of about 5 millions, including non indigenes from North Africa, Fulanis obviously constitute a very small percentage of Nigeria's population notwithstanding their small numerical strength, Fulanis have succeeded to grow Muslim population to an enviable number over the years. Pew
Research Centre records show that Muslims constituted 50% of Nigeria's population in 2007 and" 50.4% in 2009. Obviously, the number must be higher now that the agenda is being executed with brazen force.
The first step in islamization is the establishment of a Muslim community in a non Muslim community. The secrets of Fulanis in the spread of Islam is that they hide behind the primitive and awkward culture of nomadic animal husbandry where herdsmen leave their ancestral lands, crossing state-boundaries to graze their animals on lands and farms in other slates. It is in fact the first step in the march to Islamization. Originally, the intention of nomadic herdsmen was to feed (heir animals in green fields, but Islamists found them innocent and willing tools in raising Muslim towns in Christian dominated communities. As nomads, they do not live among the natives. Rather than do that, they live with their animals in the forests and by river banks to the total ignorance of natives. This is their adopted method of making contacts with non Muslim communities. As they roam the bushes, they are later joined by others who trade on wares and by the time the natives know it, a thriving Hausa community or Ama Hausa has been established with Mosques which provide shelter to them.
For example, African Studies Centre, Leiden in Netherlands in its documentary on the advent of Islam in Nigeria, among others made startling revelations of how herdsmen were used in the spread of Islam in Nigeria whore it said: "In the second half of the eighteenth century a Muslim revival took place in western Africa in which cattle -driving people, who had settled and adopted Islam played a central role”. The Islamic Movement in Nigeria on its official Website also posted a lecture which was delivered by Professor Abdulfatah which traced the history of Islam in Igbo land and the role played by herdsmen. According to that document, the Islamic scholar said: "On the advent of Islam in South East Nigeria - the Igbo land, the Professor said that it was after Jihad of Sheikh Usthman Dan Fodio (RA) through herdsmen and traders". These statements confirm in concrete terms that Fulanis arrived Hausa land and northern Nigeria first as herdsmen after which they Islamized them. This is how all the "Ama Hausas”" were established. Once this is achieved, the cattle rearers continue to roam around bushes to graze their animals until it is Jihad time which is the second phase of the last stage.
After establishing links with the foreign community, the next role for herdsmen will be played during Jihads. The third stage in Islamization consists of a combination of demands for reforms and the waging of Islamic wars or jihads. After the period of mixing and blending Islamic influences with the host community, the Muslim settler begins to demand for political and religious reforms in line with Islamic laws. These demands usually precede an invasion of the host community.
Invasion of a community is always carried out by jihadists from different distant towns and are total strangers to the community to be attacked. This is where the cattle rearers become handy. Having spied and mastered all the nooks and crannies in their host community, these herdsmen act as guides and escorts to the jihadists.
For example, a research by Professor Charles Adisa of Abia State University established that: "A small percentage of these Fulani youths are Nigerians born in the states where (hey reside. They are the ones vested with responsibility of leading these Fulanis (Jihadists) on their regular rampage, serving as compasses to the blood hungry terrorists".
The truth is that Fulanis have been known for this pattern because it has always been successful. For example, when Usthman Dan Fodio led the jihad which invaded Hausa land in 1802, history books noted that "Fulani horsemen were helped by peasant Hausa natives to overthrow the Kings of Hausa land and replaced them with Fulanis for implementation of sharia laws". It must be noted that Usthman Dan Fodio and his invading jihadists came to northern Nigeria for the sole purpose of waging war. They were not part of the Muslim communities already established by herdsmen and early Muslim settlers. For the avoidance of any ambiguity, the "peasant Hausa natives" who helped the Fulani horsemen were actually herdsmen. It is the same way that they attack other communities in Nigeria where the local Muslim community organizes an invasion, assigns some guides to escort the invaders, provide all the logistics and yet feigns ignorance of the attack.
Perhaps, at this juncture, it may be appropriate to draw from research findings to prove that the Muslim community is responsible for what we generally describe as herdsmen attacks. For example, Professor Charles Adisa of Abia State University, while trying to investigate how and why "The Nigerian state has been under siege by Fulani herdsmen terrorists operating under a predictable pattern of reconnaissance, attack and withdrawal, leading to many deaths and social dislocations" made some discoveries which I think should worry every Nigerian. The researches finding which is in the public domain were based on surveys carried out in Enugu and Abia states.
In the first place, to prove that the Muslim community organizes the invasions, the Adisa research document notes: "W h e n t here is a disagreement between host communities or between herdsmen and farmers, the Fulani herdsmen who accompany the cattle will locate the nearest Fulani settlement and if there is none, they will locate the nearest Garki or Ama Hausa. When they arrive, they will narrate their story. The Fulani (Nigerian middlemen) cattle managers will notify their top Fulani herdsmen which in this case include governors and other bourgeois who own the cattle (MACBAN). A decision will be made about whether there should be an attack or not on the said village or host community. If an attack is sanctioned, then modalities will be mapped out and a date will be chosen for the attack. Most times, Fulani herdsmen in the military and police are notified and everyone sends a representative. Neighboring settlements send out representatives and arms cache are opened and arms are distributed to the participants. During an attack, every Fulani person in the area knows there will be an attack and all will contribute to make sure it goes on successfu1ly. Fulanis in the higher levels of the military will ensure all commands under them stand down and the top j Fulani police officers will' do the same. The road is then clear for the Fulani herdsmen to carry their attacks".
That the Fulani community plans attacks on its host community despite their denials has verifiable proofs. Their plans for attacks always get leaked to the host community. In the case of Enugu invasions, a native who is butcher was informed by his Fulani colleague and that was why he kept off his community during the attack.
The state government was -also aware but was unable to avert the invasion because security agencies advised him to get clearance from the presidency, a clearance which he was unable to get.
As we can see, out of these three stages in islamization, herdsmen are charged with the responsibility of establishing contact with the community to be Islamized. They also act as guides who escort the invading jihadists. From all indications, not only do herdsmen lead in Islamization, they do it with such sophistication that their host community is always caught napping, being as it were, abandoned by security agencies to their fate. The lesson which we must learn is that if the forceful islamization of Nigeria must be tamed, then the migration of nomadic herdsmen must be stopped. It should also be recognized that Fulanis arc deception strategists and tacticians because they understand the art of conquest very well. This is the reason for their uncommon patience for they know that conquests take centuries to materialize. They know how to feign ignorance and they are always quick to sign peace accords to prove their claim as were done in Abia and Ekiti states. This is a deception strategy which has always worked successfully for them.
It is evident from our discussions that out of the three stages in Islamization, herdsmen are responsible for Stage 1. They also participate in Stage 3 during the jihad.
Next week, we shall look at Stage 2 of Islamization, how it works, the participants and how they complement the roles of herdsmen and emboldens Islamism in Nigeria.

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