By Dapo Akinrefon
Lagos—A second republic Senator, Professor Banji Akintoye and former chairman, Task Force on Illegal Importation and Smuggling of Goods, Small Arms, Ammunition and Light Weapons (NATFORCE), Maj-Gen Collins Ihekire (retd) have raised the alarm over proliferation of herdsmen in the South West and South East states saying they pose a security risk.
They said this in Lagos weekend at the 1st National Colloquium tagged: ‘Herdsmen, threat to national security’ organised by The Ife 12.
Akintoye, in his presentation, said there are 175 herdsmen settlements in the South West, including Kwara and Kogi speaking areas, warning that no Yoruba land will be overrun by herdsmen.
The Professor of History, expressed worry over the growing number of armed herdsmen in the South West region.
He said the discovery was made when an investigative committee, headed by him was set by Afenifere to look into complaints raised by people in the South west.
He said: “The leadership of Afenifere has been receiving complaints from our people in the farmlands of how the Fulani have been setting up camps around their farmlands. Afenifere now set up a committee, which I headed, to investigate. The outcome of the research revealed that there are 175 Fulani settlements including Kwara and Kogi areas of Yorubaland and every one of those settlements portends danger to Yorubaland.
Don’t be surprised that each time these Fulani settlers have any complaint with their host; it will lead to confrontations and eventually crisis. Our land is not going to be overrun by the Fulani.”
While he called on the youths to support the Southern and Middle belt Leaders Forum, he said this will prevent the invasion of the southern regions.
Another speaker at the colloquium, Maj Gen Ihekire alleged that there is an orchestrated plan to fulanise Nigeria, saying there are 250 herdsmen settlements in the South East.
While he faulted the excuse given by the herdsmen for migrating, he said there is an attempt to conquer some regions.
Ihekire said: “Today, people do not know that there is an orchestrated plan to Fulanise Nigeria. What we are dealing with is neither herdsmen nor religion but I want to tell you that both cows and herdsmen have become facilitators to an agenda. What we are facing now is a Fulani conquest; today, there is an attempt by the Fulani and Kanuri to reclaim this country.”
“We are back to ancient times where people take land by conquest. We talk of grazing but the Fulani herdsman does not to want hear that cattle grazing are a private business, they have refused to change their way of cattle rearing. The professor said there are 175 Fulani settlements in Yorubaland but in the South East, there 250 Fulani settlements there. For me, we have to be sure that what we are dealing with is cows grazing and not herdsmen.”