Former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso has rejected the call by some leaders from the South West for the exit of Fulani herdsmen from the zone following attacks by the men, saying the call was not in tandem with the spirit of unity that binds the nation together.
Speaking in Ibadan at the official handing over of two newly-completed buildings to Government College, Ibadan, as part of activities marking the reunion of the Old Boys Association and jubilee celebration of the 1965 set of the school which held at the weekend, Kwankwaso said the call was not well thought out and will be counter-productive.
Kwakwanso noted that lack of education was the main reason why the herdsmen chose the option of cattle rearing. “We just have to have a lot of understanding of the situation.
“Some of the issues being raised by the people, especially politicians, will 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, so far I am not there, they won’t see me,” he said.
He further stated that the problem of Fulani herdsmen was not peculiar to the South West and even Nigeria.
“The issue of conflict between farmers and Fulanis is not peculiar to the South West, or Nigeria but all over the regions. Education is very important here. If all Fulanis are given the opportunity to go to school, I don’t think they will waste their lives on their cattle going into the bush fighting themselves and even animals in so many places. I think the key thing is education.
“If these Fulanis can be educated, things won’t be the same again. I am one of them, I am a Fulani and I hope you know that my parents settled over the years. My parents sent me to school and my children are going to school, I don’t think if I get some cattle, I will go into forest to rear them. That is education for you.
“The key thing here is that whether in the South or the North or Africa in general, we are all over, it is only that we call them Fulanis in this part of the world but in other places they call them different names, but we are all over the continent. These Fulanis should be educated and be settled, by that they will develop the modern way of keeping livestock.
“If you go to Britain, America and other developed countries, you don’t see animals roaming the streets. They have developed modern ways of doing this. But if you go to Niger, Cameroun, Nigeria, you will see Fulanis roaming about, endangering their lives. It is not good for anybody, the economy, not even security. That is for the future,” he stated.
“It is important for government to provide reasonable facilities like grazing areas and other facilities so that we’ll be able to manage the situation.
“In the North, we used to have lots of grazing areas, cattle parks, where they used to go without going into farms, but probably because of the population now and other issues, all these places are being taken over by farmers.
“Therefore, it becomes very difficult for anybody to go to those places without entering farms.
“This problem is not, however, peculiar to the South West, but let me say that we just have to have a lot of understanding of the situation,” Kwankwaso said.