The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) on Monday kicked against the Federal Government’s plan to establish Ruga settlements for Fulani herdsmen in states across the country, the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), saying that Yoruba land was “for the establishment of industries and farming, and not cattle grazing”
YCE in a statement issued and signed by the Council’s President, Dansaaki Ade Agbede and made available to journalists in Ibadan described the move by the Federal Government as “dead on arrival.”
Agbede wondered how a group of people seen as threat to peace and security of others would be made to own settlements in places outside their own domain.
He said: “To now think that the Federal Government that should be concerned and worried about the untoward activities of such people is the sponsor of Ruga is worrisome.
“Such a project is not at all in the best interest of this country as well as PMB’s presidency and the earlier the Federal Government listens to the voice of the people by disembarking on the project, the better. Virtually all the states outside of the domains of the Fulani herdsmen are against the project and Yoruba speaking states are no exception.”
YCE explained that the recent experience of people in the hands of the Fulani herdsmen “leaves much to be desired with our spirit of openness and accommodation being eroded. We can’t fold our arms and allow our land to be overrun by strangers.”
Agbede also charged the governors of the six states in the South West to be on guard and let the Federal Government know the stance of their people on the issue.
“This is not about politics or political party affiliation, it is about patriotism and responsibility to the people that elected them into office.
“As the highest body of Yoruba socio-cultural group, we are saying an emphatic NO to the construction of Fulani settlements in any of the states in the Yoruba speaking area of the country. Our land is for the establishment of industries and farming and not cattle grazing and we are expressing our vehement opposition to the project, which to us is nothing but an expansionist agenda,” Agbede said.
He further urged President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of the actions his administration would be taking in view of the myriad of challenges confronting the country, stressing that the idea of creating settlements for Fulani herdsmen across the country does not portray the president as being fair, adding that “herdsmen across the country should be the least of PMB’s problems while Nigerians are yearning for good roads, health, education, sustainable wages and so on.”
The YCE leader added: “PMB should not through this kind of programme affirm the allegation of fulanisation of the country which some people are levying against him. The Federal Government should not be seen to support the subjugation of one ethnic group by the other.”