The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, has cautioned first class traditional rulers in the country against making inflammatory statements that could fuel the attacks by Fulani herdsmen on communities in the country.
Apparently referring to claims made by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, Alaafin said it was laughable and ridiculous that as many as 800 Fulanis with an “imaginary one million cows” would have been killed in one single attack without any documentations or report, stressing that the level of mass communication in the country had gone beyond that dark age in sophistication and modernity.
In a statement he issued yesterday the Alaafin said it was unfortunate that some highly placed traditional rulers could quote fictitious and imaginary figures of similar incident that had happened at another neighbouring state to see the recent Benue State incident as a justified reprisal.
He acknowledged that there had been co-habitation between the Fulanis and indigenes in various communities in the country, adding that this, however, is with the Fulani herdsmen not wearing political colouration.
“For instance, the use of firearms, including AK 47 gun, to protect cattle is a complete novelty to what hitherto used to be a business endeavour. In those days, stick was the only weapon with which the breeders directed their cattle. When was it the practice that Fulani breeders would arm themselves to teeth just to protect their cattle. In the past, part of the guidance which breeders gave to their cattle was to ensure that they did not destroy farm crops along their ways. But today with the arm at their disposal, some Fulani breeders choose to target green leaves of farmers’ crops as good protein for their cattle and therefore lead their cattle aggressively to that direction. The big question therefore is that how do those cattle breeders come across the sophisticated weapons with which they arm themselves as if they are going to war. This is the task before the various security agencies to unravel in the interest of peace and unity of the country,” Alaafin explained.
He said as the longest-serving first class traditional ruler on throne so far, he had acquired experience more than any other traditional ruler across the country in relation to traditional rulership and political development of the country, especially with regard to crisis resolution within the polity whether ethnic or religious.
The Alaafin appealed to all traditional rulers in the country especially those who are relatively new on the exalted throne, to be cautious and indeed circumspect in their public utterances especially in the trying period of the country’s sovereignty and national unity.
He noted that the greatest challenge facing the country at the moment is the herdsmen otherwise known as Miyetti Allah Cattle breeders.
“It is unfortunate that some highly placed traditional rulers should see the recent Benue State incident as a justified reprisal quoting fictitious and imaginary figures of similar incident that had happened at another neighbouring state. It is not only laughable but indeed ridiculous that as many as 800 Fulanis with an imaginary one million cows would have been killed in one single attack without any documentations or report. The level of mass communication in the country had gone beyond that dark age in sophistication and modernity,” he added.
The royal father stated that the institution of traditional rulers should use both individuals and collective efforts to quell the crisis from further escalation.
“Africa and Diaspora are watching Nigeria; the United Nation is watching us; President Muhammad Buhari has been boxed into a cul-de-sac by his kith and kin, the Fulani herdsmen. Let us help him to get of the quagmire. If the home of the Fulani is as far West as North of Sierra Leone, i.e Futa Jalon Hills; and their kith and kin live in the cities and they make a substantial population in the Northern Nigeria townships, equity demands that the government at all levels and the people as citizens; should proffer a solution that makes peace on that platform and goodwill, its anchor,” he said.