Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Yoruba elders under the aegis of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) Thursday kicked against open grazing within the South-west region, calling on state legislators in the Yoruba states, Kwara and Kogi inclusive, as a matter of urgency, to enact laws outlawing nomadic grazing in Yoruba land.
The group in a communique issued at the end of its meeting in Ibadan, Oyo State, where new leaders were elected, said grazing routes of the pre-independence era and the first republic have been wiped off, and in most cases, taken over by housing estates, stating that grazing is no longer feasible because the cattle would destroy farmland and impoverish the people.
While reading the nine-point communique signed by the new President, Justice Ademola Bakre; Chairmen from Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun and Kwara States as well as Chairmen of United Kingdom and United States, the Secretary General of the group, Dr. Kunle Olajide, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for suspending the RUGA project, urging him to do more to restore the dwindling confidence of Nigerians in his administration.
The Igbimo Agba Yoruba Worldwide insisted that what the country needs now is true federalism, noting that the president must, without delay, revisit the 2014 National Conference report and the El-Rufai committee report on devolution of power.
According to the communique, “The council notes the palpable tension in the country arising from the frightening state of insecurity which has now gravitated from the Northeast and gradually enveloping the six zones of the country. Tragic stories of kidnapping for ransom, murder, herdsmen/farmers clashes have adorned the media virtually every day.
“The unfortunate introduction of RUGA after the failed attempt to establish cattle colonies has further heightened mutual suspicion among the ethnic groups because of what some Nigerians suspect could be sinister plans to hijack people’s land and establish militia of occupation in all parts of the country.
“The YCE believes that President Buhari can heal the gaping wounds in the polity by reassuring Nigerians with his actions on his preachment for unity. Politics and 2023 presidency should be at the front burner now.
We are in a state of emergency, and all hands must be on deck to lower the political temperature of the country.”
On the daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, Mrs. Funke Olakunrinwho, was murdered on Ore road by suspected herders, the elders called on governors of the Yoruba states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi and Ondo to deploy technology to monitor our forests and flush out criminals masquerading as herdsmen from the forests.”
The new president, Justice Bakre, in his acceptance speech, said he was ashamed that people who are called elders were doing wrong things, noting that he, as the leader of the council, would not go cap in hands begging the governors for any largesse.