What Nigeria must do to stop farmers-herders clashes – Aregbesola

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola

The Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has linked the wanton killings by armed herdsmen across the country in recent times to poor leadership and lack of innovative governance.

He said Nigeria must embrace modernity and innovation in the rearing of cattle, as obtained in other developed countries of the world.

He added that the killings would continue unless a change of the nomadic practice was embraced by the herdsmen.

The governor made the assertions at Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, ABUAD, during an interactive session with students and staff of the institution.

Amnesty International recorded that a total of 168 persons were killed by suspected herdsmen in January 2018 alone.

Continued attacks in Benue and Kaduna have reportedly claimed more lives, even after the New Year’s Day attack in Benue which claimed 73 lives.

Mr. Aregbesola, however, noted that it was sad that Nigerian herders were still adopting primitive ways in animal husbandry.

According to him, the practice gave room for unfettered itinerant movement by nomadic herdsmen, rather than adopting the modern innovation that could restrict them for proper monitoring.

Mr. Aregbesola opined that it was an error to assume that the killings were associated with the plot by a certain ethnic group to take over Nigeria, as it was more of a general menace caused by the inability of herdsmen leadership to embrace modernity.

Mr. Aregbesola said Nigeria would continue to witness unending farmers-herdsmen rows if the primitive ways of cattle rearing in Nigeria was not addressed.

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“I am not trying to justify killings or trying to say that the Fulanis should dominate Nigeria, but what I am saying is that Nigeria has failed to be technologically and innovatively advanced due to bad leadership,” he said.

“As we speak now, there are no green grasses in any part of Europe and they produced cattle Africa cannot even boast of. They prepared their pasture, foliage and fodders during the six months of rainy season and kept to feed their cattle during the dry season.

“The cattle are restricted within the ranches and I believe that if some nations could be thinking like this, Nigeria has no reason not to toe the same line. We must turn this situation into a huge economic opportunities for our people.

“In the southwest, some of the farmers are still using the old and primitive hoes and cutlasses for farming. This is the more reason why many of these peasant farmers can’t stand straight as 60. Even many of them must have looked aged at that age and had their hands deformed and body diseased.

“For Nigeria to get out of the herdsmen killings, we must adopt modern system of cattle rearing and we must stop reading ethnic sentiment to it.”

Mr. Aregbesola added that God had destined Nigeria to be the leader of the African race, advising that the country shouldn’t just be great in name and population, but must exhibit such in economic advancement and leadership.

He lauded ABUAD’s founder, Afe Babalola, for establishing a university with a vision and mission to churn out great future leaders and innovators.

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