•Senator seeks education for Fulani herdsmen
Kwankwaso, who is a senator, said at the weekend that the call was misguided and politically motivated.
He stressed that no zone could be an island, adding that what the Fulani herdsmen that were being asked to leave Yoruba land needed was education on how to go about their cattle-rearing business.
He spoke in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital at the weekend as a special guest at the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the set of 1965-1971 of Government College, Ibadan. The event witnessed the inauguration of two sets of pre-fabricated staff buildings donated by Vitafoam Nigeria Plc to the institution.The former governor said: “The issue of conflict between the farmers and Fulani herdsmen is not common to the Southwest alone. It is not even common to Nigeria. It is all over the sub-region.
“On the issue that we are talking about, education is very important. If all Fulani are given opportunity to go to school, I don’t think they will risk their lives and their animals going into the bush, where there are reptiles. I think the key thing is education. The Fulani should be educated.
“I am a Fulani. My parents settled down many years ago. My father went to school and I have been to school. My children have gone to school. Now, I don’t think I will get cattle and go into a forest; that is education for you.
“The key thing is, whether in the North or Africa, Fulani are all over. They call themselves Fulani in this part of the world. But in other places, they call them different names. So, education is key. They should be educated. They should be settled. Of course, by that, they will develop the modern way of keeping livestock.”
He added: “If you go to developed countries, you don’t see animals running about. It has to do with underdevelopment. If you go to Niger, Chad, Cameroon and all these places, they get Fulani roaming about, endangering their lives, endangering their own animals and it is not good for anybody, the economy and the security. But that is for the future.
“But for today, I think it is important for government to provide facilities because we require their services. Facilities like grazing areas for the cattle and other facilities to make sure that we manage the situation.
“In the North, we used to have all these grazing areas. We used to have cattle ranch, where they go from place to place without going into the farm. Probably because of the population now and other issues, all these places are being taking by farmers. Therefore, it becomes very difficult for any cattle to roam or go to places without going into farms.
“So, it is not only peculiar to the Southwest. We just have to have a lot of understanding of the situation. Some of the issues being raised by the people, especially politicians, do not help anybody. If you sack the Fulani from here or you fight them, maybe it is because you are here. If you are a Yoruba man based in Kano, I don’t think you can contemplate sacking the Fulani.
“I am from Kano, but right now I am in Ibadan. Where you are is your home. Today, Ibadan is my home. God forbids; if something bad happens here, it will affect me. If it happens in my village, I am not there. They won’t see me. But for today, I think it is important for government to provide ranching facilities such as grazing sites, because we require their services.
“It now calls for understanding among Nigerians. To that extent, therefore, politicians should stop over-blowing the issue.
“All Fulani should be given opportunity to go to school. These Fulani should be educated. I am one of them. I am Fulani. Had I not been educated, imagine what I would have been today; I probably would have been in the forest.”
He canvassed a quick return of boarding facilities to all public schools in the country as well as compulsory education for the Fulani.
“This will go a long way in reawakening confidence in the national polity,” he said.
Dignitaries at the event included Oyo state Governor Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi, represented by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Mrs. O. A. Makanjuola; Group Managing Director of Vitafoam Nigeria Plc. Mr. Taiwo Adeniyi; National President of GCI Old Boys Association Chief Abiodun Jolaoso; Principal of GCI, Rev. Oladele Olusola; Chairman, Sunshine Oil and Chemical Industries Limited Basorun Rotimi Obeisun; Chief Executive of Jogor Centre Femi Babalola, among others.
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