Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
Senior Elders Forum in the Yoruba Council of Elders have expressed concerns over the adoption of Ruga settlement for Fulani herders by some states in the northern parts of the country saying it may eventually spread to the South-West zone.
The elders expressed the fear through Col S. Ade Dansaaki at a meeting they held at the Bodija residence of Prof Toun Ogunseye in Ibadan on Monday.
The senior elders said, “we are worried about the Ruga settlement which is taking root in some Northern states. We are worried that it may be surreptitiously moved to some states in the Southern parts of the country.”
“Farmers are complaining about the antics of the herdsmen. We appeal to the government to revert to the old farm settlements across the zone. If animal husbandry is established, it should be manned by our people and not the Fulani. Any cattle trade must be undertaken by our people”, they insisted.
On security within the zone, the elders commended the six governors of Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Ogun States for their courageous move to check the menace of kidnapping, banditry and other atrocities perpetrated by the herders.
But, they said it is not yet over because of pockets of incidents that still happen from time to time.
While backing the collaboration of local hunters, Agbekoya, OPC with conventional security agencies, they said the arrangement would work if the local security groups worked with community police and not the Federal police force.
They called on governors in the zone to improve on infrastructural development especially highways within the zone which they described as death traps for motorists.
The only antidote to marginalisation allegations flying around, they reasoned, is for the Federal government to revisit the issue of restructuring which majority of Nigerians are clamouring for.