A Yoruba Youth socio-cultural group called Igbimo Odo Yoruba has rejected plans by the Federal Government to establish cattle colonies across the country for herdsmen.
The leader of the group, Comrade Olufemi Lawson, in a statement on Monday, emphasised that the position of the Yoruba youth was in reaction to a statement credited to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Audu Ogbeh, that the cattle colonies were to curb increasing cases of clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.
Mr. Lawson said the youths will vehemently resist any attempt by the Federal Government to introduce the cattle colonies in any part of the Southwest, and other Yoruba speaking parts of the country.
According to him, every legitimate means within its reach would be used to fight the government, stressing that creation of the colonies was another attempt to re-colonise Nigerians, particularly the people of the Southern part of the country.
“It is absolutely sad that at this age and time in our history as a people, certain persons will resort to arbitrary use of state power to grab the ancestral lands of our people in order to reward a minute but violent group of herdsmen, who have continually assaulted, molest and violate the right to life of innocent Nigerians across the country without any concrete action to checkmate their excesses by the Federal Government,” Mr. Lawson said in the statement made available to Business Post.
The group further said it was alarmed by the ‘insensitive’ position of the Federal Government, coming at the very moment when several states are counting their losses, particularly of human life, as a result of attacks on innocent farmers, women and young children allegedly by Fulani herdsmen.
“We cannot continue to overlook the humongous disasters that these herdsmen have continued to wreck on our communities, leading to loss of means of livelihood, assault on our women and loss of lives.
“Sadly, all these atrocities have not been enough to attract any concrete action from the federal government, neither have they resulted in the arrest or prosecution of the perpetrators of these crimes and their sponsors.
“What we have witnessed instead is the audacity of these elements to claim responsibility for their crimes and even make media appearances to justify their actions against armless people, who are being maimed endlessly by these gang of herdsmen,” the statement read.
“While we want to specially commend Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State for the radical approach of his government towards tackling the menace of these (alleged) Fulani herdsmen in Ekiti State, we wish to seriously warn other Governors of the Southwest that any attempt by them to conspire with the proponents of the ‘Cattle Colonies’ whose main agenda is to unjustly grab our lands out of our possession, shall be resisted by our generation and generations to come,” the statement stressed.
The group also advised the Federal Government that rather than proposing the establishment of cattle colonies, which is seen as a colonial anti-people land grabbing strategy, the government should first take decisive actions by bringing to justice all perpetrators of violence hiding under farmers/herdsmen clashes without further delay.
It also urged the Federal government to stop looking too far in finding a lasting solution to issues of grazing in the country as practicable solutions have already been proffered through various recommendations of the past. Most recent, as contained in the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.