Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has blamed Fulani herdsmen for the constant clashes between them and farmers across Nigeria.
Speaking in an interview with TheNation, Fayose accused herdsmen of encroaching on farmers’ land and destroying crops.
He urged herdsmen to embrace ranching so as not to use their “business to destroy the business of others.”
Fayose said: “If we say it is good to graze anyhow, then, in Ikoyi, high brow Bourdilion, Victoria Island and top streets in Lagos, is it right for dogs to stroll around? Is it right for goats to move around? Because civilisation has come.
“Unending open grazing is no longer feasible. Everybody must respect the rights of others. Where your right stops, the rights of others start.
“The current situation is not herder/farmer clash. The farmer’s land doesn’t move. It is permanent. It is constant. It is the movement of cows and herders that is causing discomfort for farmers. Whether the farmer is from the North or South, that is the standard position. Herders or cattle readers should control and contain their cows. Today, there is a mix up. There is herder/farmer crisis. That is one. Some people now are kidnappers. They are not herders. They are outright criminals. Is it herder that is jumping from the bush to the road, stopping vehicles and leaving their cows. I don’t believe that. Some call them bandit. I don’t know. Bandit is a group of people doing something. The actual criminals are the ones that are operating indiscriminately and destroying the lives of people.
“The money you hold people to ransom and ask them to bring money, you are not herders. Herders, most times, don’t leave their cows. You can tell me herders are crossing the road with cows. You can tell me herders are encroaching on land farms. Herders sometimes hold guns, cutlass and whatever. You cannot tell me that herders are the ones stopping vehicles on the road, hijacking vehicles and all that. These are another set of hijackers, criminals that are taking an advantage of a society that is not well protected. Are herders the ones that are going to abduct children in schools? No. They are not herders. It is because they have taken it as a lucrative business.
“I have said it. Nobody will convince me that government does not have hands in that. The former Head of State, Abacha, once said that once terrorism goes beyond one day, it is to the knowledge of the government. Government has everything to stop it. The moment government looks away, terrorism develops and grows. Most people using them for political gains, they know what they are saying.”