Chief Olu Falae, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has berated President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping silence over the unwholesome activities of the rampaging Fulani herdsmen in the country,Falae said the continuous silence of President Buhari over the killings and destructions being perpetrated by the Fulani herdsmen on local farms was sad and uncalled for.
He stated that the President who is the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces in the country ought to have put an effective measure in place to tackle the unwholesome activities of the killer herdsmen terrorizing the country.
Chief Falae spoke on Monday while condemning the destruction made on his farm located at Ilado Community in Akure North Local Government area of Ondo by some suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The Afenifere Chieftain noted that he had been at the receiving end in the hands of the Fulani herdsmen who had once kidnapped him at his farm for a ransom before killing one of his guards.
“I have expected him (Buhari) for over two years to take an initiative and make a national broadcast to his people in Nigeria assuring us that he will handle the matter by announcing effective measures that could control the capacity of the herdsmen and assure that both the herdsmen and us can live together in peace without one side damaging the other.
I am disappointed I have not heard this from him.” “If I were President I would have taken the initiative because this is not a problem that cannot be solved many nations have gone through this, this mode of cattle rearing is universal but in the last hundred years most nations have solved the problem by adopting ranching.
“Government at all levels; especially the federal government should be a government for all of us regardless of how many votes we cast at the election time, we are all entitled to the protection of the federal government.
“Ranching is cattle farming and a legitimate and very profitable business run by private business men but they are trying to make my crops to feed their cattle to subsidize their own business because they are forcing me by invading my farm in the night to supply free food to their cattle and when they sell the cattle they don’t give me part of the money.
“This is a system that cannot survive and I expected the government to have stopped it, we are not saying cattle rearing should be stopped but the cattle rearers should be assisted to set up or do their business without hurting anybody.
Hurting farmers is not acceptable. “At first they will come in the night to fetch water and we were tolerant because they did not touch or destroy anything but we did not allow them to stay here but later it took a different turn all over Nigeria.
“They will come in the night, eat out maize and I’ve reported to the police over ten times. Element of the same people kidnapped me, when people said they were Fulani herdsmen, they said how could you say they are Fulanis but everybody knows a Fulani man in Nigeria“ Every year they set fire to my farm and do you know why, there are two elements to their actions, first is economic, they burn this farm because the grass is already dry and cows don’t like that.
So they burn the grass and in two weeks time fresh grass will grow and their cattle will have fresh grass to eat. In other word they are already treating my farm as if it was their colony.”
Condemning the recent attack, the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, urged government at all levels to take steps in curbing the activities of the herdsmen, saying “if they don’t take step to prevent it, it means that government supports what they are doing, they are not offended by what they are doing.”
On the issue of proposed cattle colony, Falae said: “The proposal that colony should be established and rangers will accompany cattle moving from one colony to another is a very provocative and repugnant proposal”.
According to him, the word colony is a repugnant political word because it means one group of people dominating another.
“I will try to contain myself because I am provoked. You know Nigeria was a colony; through the efforts of our leaders, we were able to get the British to leave and we are free.
“A colony is a territory that is a dependent territory; more or less owned by another nation. Thank God, since 1960 we are no longer a colony. “In Nigeria; to mention the word colony has political connotation not economic.
A colony is a political entity which someone said he wants to create in the territory of another; that is a provocation; that is terrible thing for anybody to contemplate.
I am sure it was a mistake; I hope my friend Audu Ogbeh will withdraw that obnoxious policy.“Looking at the proposal itself, assuming other terms has been used; it is unsound and makes no sense.
The question I want to ask is that why must the cattle travel from their ranch to another colony. The ranch across the world is self contained, because there’s water there, there’s processing facilities and you don’t have to match your cattle from one colony to another colony.
“There’s no justification for this, except you want to perpetuate Fulani herdsmen burning around our territory, we want to know the reason.
‘Tosin Ajuwon, Akure