In the English language, some things or entities are called ‘frightened cow’. The Chambers Dictionary defined ‘fearful cow’ as ‘an institution, custom, etc., so revered as to be beyond criticism’. Thoughts about ‘holy cow’ easily lead the mind and intellect to India. There, many things are considered sacred, and the ‘waking up’ of western civilization has not been able to digest this part of Indian life, even after many episodes of engulfing it. When thoughts about “sacred cows” are taken literally, the Hindus who worship their cows come to mind. In places like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, where Hinduism is the norm, there is no shortage of sacred cows. Elephants, tigers, turtles and even the mouse also have special status in Hinduism. They are all holy in their own rights. There is also the Hanuman of India and their scared monkey.

Sacred monkeys are also abundant in Awka, the capital of Anambra state. As cosmopolitan as the Awka people are, they still revere their monkeys. They don’t harm them or kill them, let alone eat them. There are the Osokwa people in Ngwaland. They revere the forest fowl and do not kill them. They also do not eat the animal. The Oje people of Yorubaland will not hunt the weaver bird. Part of Oje’s eulogy is that the people are loudly proud as “a child of Oje who is not allowed to eat the weaver bird”. The python is also considered sacred and revered in many parts of Africa. The Eke Idemili (Anambra State in Nigeria) of yesteryear comes to mind.

People derive all kinds of strength from their cultural and religious beliefs. Also, many myths surround their submission 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 who were not canonized but radiated an aura of invincibility because they were said to belong to the community’s deity, Kamanu. As primary and secondary school children, we often saw the black rams roaming free, destroying the farms and gardens of people’s homes in the Ekebedi and nearby Amizi. The rams, called “EbilaOgwuma”, were common sights in the communities of Amizi and Ekebedi, but strangely enough were not found even in a closer Awomukwu. The rams embodied danger as they moved in the herd, and they predicted anger because they were always hungry and could be dangerous. Our fathers and mothers warned us not to harm them because they belonged to the gods. Thus they were free in their destructive majesty as far as AhiaOrieta and around the Amankwu community axis of Amizi. The best we could do was chase them out of the gardens.

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However, of all the animals in the list, I’m still curious as to why the cow is the most popular used by the English to symbolize holiness. It may be the superficiality of my knowledge of these things, but that’s how I feel about the English language. What’s with the cow? Why didn’t the English say “the sacred python” as we have done in some places in Ghana and Benin Republic, instead of “frightened cow”? Like the sacred cow that is “above all criticism” according to the dictionary, other animals considered sacred by various people, including the “EbilaOgwuma,” are beyond reproach. So why only the cow?

In the field of spirituality, there may not be a completely irrefutable argument. We just take it as it is, because it is beyond human comprehension. Perhaps in that way we should just bow to the proposal of the government of Zamfara state in cases where the man is generally agreed that he is a champion bandit and terrorist: Bello Turji. The Zamfara state government said through the state’s deputy governor Senator Hassan Nasiha that the infamous bandit has embraced the government’s peace initiative. Indeed, the deputy governor praised Turji for the ceasefire decision after all these years and also thanked him for his action for bringing relative calm to three local government areas of the state, namely: Shinkafi, Birnin Magaji and Zurmi. “Several wars were fought, but that did not stop the parties involved from entering into a dialogue with each other to resolve their differences through a peace agreement. It is in light of this that Governor Bello Mohammed found it necessary to use kinetic and non-kinetic approaches. It would not be a firefight or a war with any weapons between the bandits and the people.”

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Judging by the numerous available reports of the murders that have taken place in the northern parts of the country, the region is not at war. What has been and is being reported is that armed bandits, now declared terrorists by the government, have descended and taken towns and villages for mainly monetary gain. They have ruthlessly slaughtered people and looted villages and communities. Not once was it reported that Turji and his ilk were fighting a war and why. It is worth studying with what kind of voice came the sanctity of Bello Turgi who so attracted the Zamfara government. It remains to be seen what would become of the Federal Republic of Nigeria laws that would be downgraded upon Turji’s unilateral return. Again, is the pardoned Bello Turji of Zamfara the same Bello Turji of Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger? I think another study of the armed banditry in the various parts of the north will help unravel the flowery language with which Zamfara describes this man.

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Bello Turji is not known as a man limited to one area as Zamfara. He is like the Ìjàkùmò… He is not an animal for one territory. Meanwhile, helpless farmers everywhere negotiate with terrorists and bandits to gain access to their farms. The farmers and their heads of government all write their history.

Northern Nigeria shakes hands with a clenched fist on terrorism and banditry and the safety of life and property. There have been movements between allowing banditry to allow it to be condoned and different languages ​​as such. Zamfara state deputy governor may not know that he and others are breeding a monstrous tiger and creating a historical chapter when he addressed students at Medina University. For many, Nasiha and his director have achieved great success by locking Turji in their cage. For many others, there are doubts about this kind of success and its authenticity, in all its ramifications. How safe is the cage in which the terrorist is held? Maybe we should read about him again.

The sacred animals come to mind again. Holy cow seems to have a new meaning. We have to dig deep to find out which gods we have offended that these animals have unleashed on us? These sacred animals ruin our minds.


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