Former President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed worry about the growing herdsmen-farmers’ crisis and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the growing unrest when asked about the issue sometime ago.
In an interview Obasanjo granted to the Wilson Centre Africa Programme in October 2019, the former president said the herdsmen, being of the same Fulani stock with the President, required that he should take the matter seriously.
Obasanjo was speaking at the interview titled, “Managing Nigeria’s Diversity Amidst Rising Ethno-Religious Tensions: A conversation with Former President Obasanjo”, where he noted that the President needed to take an urgent step.
In an excerpt of the interview which is now trending due to the unrest in Oyo and Ondo states following notices to quit given to Fulani herdsmen, Obasanjo said, “When you have a situation where your own tribe is being accused of something, you must be able to look into it and make it transparently clear that the accusation is unfounded or if it is founded, you deal with it.
“There have been herdsmen and farmers’ clashes. Now, herdsmen are mainly Fulani. Nothing had been done. Rather than doing something about it, what we are having is that we will create colonies – cattle colonies.
“Where will you create colonies in Nigeria? Is it in my own part of the country that you will now make a colony? Who will give you land to create a colony within his state? So, these are specifics and I can go on and on.
“There are many things that should have been done and that are not being done and there are many things that should not have been done but that are being done; that would have helped in the area of management.”
Following a long period of incessant kidnappings and killings in the South-West, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, last week ordered herdsmen to vacate within seven days forest reserves in the state, banning night and underage grazing as well.
He said many people masquerading as herders were using the forests to commit crimes.
Similarly, an agitator for the Oduduwa Republic, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, otherwise known as Sunday Igboho, issued a seven-day ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen to leave the Ibarapa area of Oyo State.