Pulaku is originally a fulani word that means ‘to be shy’. The fulani as a diverse people adhere to a code of conduct called Pulaku, which exudes patience, wisdom, modesty, and courage. There is this age old traditional friendly banter between the fulanis, and the kanuris, each holding onto the claim as the master and lord of the other tribe, from ancient history of the duels/ battles between the two ethnicities. The Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima who is ofcourse a Kanuri man, used the word Pulaku, and borrowed the code of conduct of the fulanis, when he visited Kano on the 16th of July, to say his condolences to the State Government and the people of Kano State, over the loss of an elder statesman, Abubakar Galadanci, may Allah repose his soul. During the condolence, he announced the idea of the Pulaku initiative. When a Kanuri man embraces Pulaku, it means he has been overwhelmed by the fulanis, and has finally succumbed to them, as his lords and masters right?
The Vice President was giving an explanation of the Pulaku, as an initiative of the Federal Government through his office, as another approach to curbing banditry and kidnapping, which has overwhelmed the entire North West Region, crippling its economy, and its educational institutions, and is practically hampering the agricultural industry of the region, which is its main source of livelihood. Unless we want to engage in an endless war of attrition, there cannot be a military solution to the crisis in the North West, and we must look at a non kinetic solution, the Vice President said. From his experience as the war-time Governor of Borno State, he has seen that the implementation of a two pronged approach, is the only way forward to keeping insecurity at bay, and guarding against the recruitment of idle and delinquent youths into terrorism. Just recently, the FG made a purchase of 997 million dollars worth of AH-1Z attack helicopters, in a move to further arm the military in its seemingly endless war against terrorism.
What has prevailed is that the terrorists are on a daily, recruiting youths into their fold, training them, and arming them, to terrorise their own communities as a means of livelihood. The root cause of all this vileness has long been identified as the poverty that is ravaging their communities, and the joblessness of the youths. As long as poverty reins supreme in these communities, terrorism will always grow in fertility and strength. Back in Borno State when Kashim Shettima was Governor, while the military engaged in raids and battles with the terrorists, The Governor was concentrating on rebuilding those communities that had been destroyed by terrorists, and revamping the economies and lifestyles of the people. He built model primary, and secondary schools, including a state owned University. He also developed Ultra Modern Hospitals in the cities, as well as Primary Healthcare Centres all over the communities. A Solar Power Panel Plant with a capacity to build 150MW of solar power was also built. To empower the youths, an industrial hub was created, housing numerous plants including tomato processing plants, cassava processing plants, ginger and onions dehydrating plants, biscuit production plant, plastic pipes production plant and plastic mats production plants. The plants began to recruit and engage more youths than the terrorists did. Motorcycles and Keke-napeps were provided to the youths on loans with very minimal interests, along with farm produce ferrying Keke. This idea is what the Vice President is trying to bring to the North Western war on banditry.
True to his ‘Pulaku’, The Vice President has now announced that the Federal Government has approved a whopping 50 billion naira, to kick start the Pulaku Non-Kinetic approach to curing the region of terrorism. He revealed this at the 2 Day Round Table on Insecurity in Northern Nigeria, which ended on the 26th of January, 2024. In a speech titled ‘Multi-dimensional approach to tackling insecurity in Northern Nigeria, he emphasised on the need to look at turning around the fortunes of those areas that have been degraded by terrorism, by increasing the rate of the development of those communities. This includes resettling the communities by developing housing, schools, and hospitals, as well as providing funding for small scale businesses for the youths in those areas.
Pulaku will concentrate on Sokoto, Niger, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, and Kaduna States, which have been identfied as the most critical. The 50 billion in the first instance will rebuild identified areas in these states. The development activities would inadvertently engage the youths in the development of those schools, hospitals, and the resettlement houses. In the over ten years of fighting the various forms of terrorism afflicting most parts of the country, poverty has been the dark well that has been consuming all the efforts of the military towards ending this war. The Vice President’s Pulaku initiative is quite a welcome idea. It will be a giving well, that will irrigate those communities with the livelihood they deserve. It will keep their youths off the streets and out of the forests. The Vice President’s idea will use the wisdom and patience of Pulaku, to help in abating this menace. We look forward to, and pray for the expedient implementation of this noble programme.
-Tahir is Talban Bauchi.