The Oluwole of Iwo land, Abdulrasheed Akanbi, has clarified that his comments on the herdsmen/farmers crisis in the country did not in any way contradict Afenifere’s rejection of federal government’s ranches in the South West.
A statement by the monarch’s chief press secretary, Alli Ibrahim, on Monday, noted that the Oluwo stressed the unity of the different groupings in the country, rather than engage in divisive efforts.
The traditional ruler was quoted as faulting Afenifere, when the Yoruba socio-political group announced its rejection of the proposed federal government ranches in states of the federation.
Afenifere had also warned governors of the South-west states not to allow the federal government create cattle ranches in the region as cattle ranching should be left as a private business instead of a government funded enterprise.
Mr Akanbi said his comments on the matter were misconstrued and misrepresented.
“There was no time in history where the Oluwo condemned any anti-grazing agitators. His argument was on the need to see that Nigeria and her soil should eliminate the frequent Fulani herdsmen clashes with farmers,” the statement read.
The monarch said the position of Afenifere was expected, given huge losses incurred by the continued clashes and killings and the “failure of government to do the needful.”
He appealed to Nigerians and the relevant authorities, as well as stakeholders to allow the breath of fresh air of unity to prevail across the country.
“Oluwo only called the attention of Nigerians to embrace unity, and to see all Nigerians as one,” said the statement.
“Nigeria belongs to every Nigerian. The word Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba and Ibo are discriminatory. We should all be seen as Nigerians for peace and unity to survive.
“If we claim a land belong to a section, are we saying Aliko Dangote should relocate his businesses to the North? Are we saying the westerners in the north should relocate their business because Kano is not their land? No. We need a change of direction. If not now, when will it be?”
While proffering solutions to the incessant herders-farmers clashes, the monarch said the federal government would need to prepare well before embarking on ranching, noting that most of the herdsmen do not understand the new methods of cattle ranching.
He said the government should launch an aggressive training on ranching before making any law or pronouncement on the system.
“Ranching is a modern practice of cattle rearing as applicable in advanced nations. Nigeria is also developing. We need meat and food from our farms. It is a symbiotic relationship,” the statement further noted.
“To avert this menace, Nigerians should be one irrespective of their location or state of origin.”