The Paramount ruler of Iwoland, Osun State, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors to educate herdsmen to embrace city life, in an open letter to them.
His appeal comes amidst the recent worsening state of insecurity across the country.
The traditional ruler stated that educating herdsmen about city life would change their orientation on how to go about their trade legally.
In the letter issued on Wednesday, the Oluwo said, “…Formal education or vocational skills should be made compulsory for herders… The herders should be educated to embrace city life and not bush. They should be empowered with education. The life is richer in the cities than the bush. Doing such will shape their aspiration to legal means of making huge income.”
He said some of the herders who have become kidnappers and rapists have lived all their lives in the forest, adding that their desire to enjoy life’s luxuries with no formal education have made them a disaster.
He faulted the Nigerian government for neglecting Fulani people over the years and refusing to address their nomadic lifestyle.
He said, “The root cause of today’s predicament associated with insecurity and credited to the Fulani/Bororo was invited by past corrupt and visionless leaders who could not foretell it that, leaving people to stay in the forest without amenities, luxury of life and modern technology will unavoidably promote insecurity at a slight exposure to those accessories.
“Today, some Fulanis/Bororos in the forest have been exposed to luxurious benefits such as cars, magnificent houses and amenities. We have them as house maids, house assistants, gatemen while we kept our cows with some as business.
“At a taste of such luxuries and in comparison with life in the forest – of no wife, no electricity, no road, no spices, no car, no modern structure, they took to arms, kidnapping, raping, torturing and demanding ransom to enjoy life accessories.
“The end justifies the means, some Fulanis are neglected. The government knows they are Nigerians but refuses to address their solitary lifestyle. Many of them refused to be educated. We have such in major ethnic divisions in Nigeria. These people in the core grassroots feel little or no taste of government. And they feel the pleasure of having houses, cars from all of us. They device means, illegal or not, they care less.
“At an attempt to belong, they resorted to means of raising their standard, not minding the consequence. In the unrepentant move, many became victims, innocently maimed and killed. The Fulanis are everywhere. They have domesticated their lifestyles. They know the nooks and crannies of everywhere.
“Unfortunately, many of them are not attracted to formal education. That complicates the problem. To make the matter worse, the bandits who find joy in disturbing human peace infiltrated. They operate together and develop technicalities in kidnapping and ransom collections.”
He also described effective data management in Nigeria as a necessity at this critical time to efficiently monitor and detect infiltration.
He commended the Nigerian government for enforcing the compulsory registration of National Identity Number. “The value is priceless. The enlightened will appreciate this better, soon. Creating data bank for Nigerians will enable security agents and agencies to easily monitor criminals and crimes,” he said.
According to the traditional ruler, ranching should be promoted by the government. He said developing countries like Nigeria should be attracted to modern means of raising animals, most especially cattle.
He opined that open grazing may continue to lead to breach of peace, thus, the government has to give orientation to everyone, not only Fulani people, on effective means of raising animals.
The statement partly read, “I begin to read about Nigeria and Nigerians at my early days in primary school. Nigeria is a complex nation with numerous ethnic attachments. I grew to note that Nigeria was born with many challenges, competing with human to discredit official leaders. All leadership positions are not without challenges as managing human and resources is the most difficult task.
“A nation built on ethnic rivalry as Nigeria requires painstaking management. Some families and peers’ failures have invited countless hardship on the leaders, presumably government and traditional rulers while failures of past occupants of various leadership positions have given people zero trust in leadership.
“I must condole with Nigerians and families of those who have lost their relatives to banditry and all forms of insecurity. I pray for the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss. As a natural paramount ruler and one of the fathers to the nation, I’m bereaved. No father is happy when his children are killed. To you all, may God forgive your shortcomings.”
Oba Akanbi advised that the affairs of people at the core grassroots without social amenities and basic infrastructures should be properly monitored and catered for urgently.
He also said any parents of children between the ages of 5 and 25 seen with cows should be prosecuted.
He urged traditional rulers across Nigeria to see themselves as fathers of the nation irrespective of their ethnic background.
Oba Akanbi also said it was high time leaders across Nigeria started organising special intervention programmes for people at the grassroots, whether Fulanis or not.
“There was a time I visited the Fulanis and I called myself their Emir. I understand the phenomenon and move along. Leadership requires giving your people the desired attention and catering for them. Irrespective of your ethnicity, you are my subjects on my land. Our monarchs, being the closest to every tribe in their domain, should embrace them such that at a fragile point as this, they can be easily controlled.”
He added: “For those who know me and have read about me, I’ve experienced war. At war, there is no children, no parents, no family and no friends. At war, you will see human eating human flesh. Is that what we are drumming? No, I can’t be part. I appeal to Nigerians to embrace peace. What war can do, peace can do better.
“Once again, I mourn the victims of insecurity, condole with their families and pray for a peaceful nation. And to all of us in leadership positions, this is the most critical time to domesticate special intervention programmes to the grassroots dwellers. It does not have to be Fulanis alone. Banditry knows no tribe. Nigeria will rise. Let’s promote her greatness.”