Southern governors told to revive ranches
Elder statesman and historian, Prof. Banji Akintoye, and secretary-general, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Uche Okwukwu, made this call yesterday at a summit organised by Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER) on peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
Akintoye noted that the demand to allow territories for Fulani nomadic cattle grazing was an attempt to throw a large number of people into abject poverty.
He noted that the establishment of the ranches should be done with consummate sensitivity to the people’s settlement pattern, adding that three to four modern ranches in each state would be enough.
He added that this would open new businesses and job opportunities for the people, produce beef and dairy products for home consumption and export as well as eliminate from the region cows reared by nomadic herders.
“If one views Yorubaland from far space, one would see patches of woodland with large cities dotting the edges of each woodland. It is in those woodlands that our people farm for sustenance and wealth.
“To ask us to make room for enclaves for nomadic cattle rearing in our homeland is to ask us to give up our woodlands and throw a large number of our people into abject poverty. It is also to ask us to push back on our civilised life to make room for a primitive existence,” he said.
On his part, Okwukwu noted the need to develop native ranches, so that every group would rear and produce, adding that the government must invest and encourage agriculture in all the regions.
“We need the capacity to develop native ranches so that every group will rear and produce. It is not only cow that we depend on the North for; we depend on them for goat, beans, carrot, watermelon, and onion. It is beyond cow. So our people must be willing to invest in agriculture. Our people must be willing to farm and produce food.”
The convener, Adewale Adeoye, lamented that the country was faced with the challenges of arms proliferation, noting that this makes the possibility of violent clashes even scarier.
Representing the Southsouth, the leader of the Supreme Egbesu Assembly, Werinipre Digifa, lamented that President Muhammadu Buhari had been quiet on the atrocities of the Fulani in the country.
“This is not a joke, but a serious life and death issue. The Fulani are prepared to wipe out a whole community and replace them with cows. The irony is that they don’t eat cow meat,” he added.