Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, had said the Fulani herdsmen have been empowered to cause chaos in various parts of the country due to the lack of leadership by President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the issue of cattle rearing, noting that he should have lost the 2019 presidential election.
Soyinka had stated this in a viral video at the time the Federal Government under President Buhari had attempted introducing the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) programme as a way of resolving the constant clash between herders and farmers in 2019.
The video has resurfaced following the rising incidents of kidnappings and killings in the South-West region attributed to herdsmen, as well as the recent agitation by Sunday Adeyemo, a Yoruba nationalist popularly known as Sunday Igboho, for all Fulanis to leave the region.
According to the professor, there is nothing mysterious about cattle rearing but insisted that the movement and feeding of cattle does not have to lead to the loss of lives and destruction of farms just because Nigerians want to eat beef.
He stated that ranching, rather than grazing, is the solution to the problem between herders and farmers, but noted that it should be done in an environment that is habitable for it.
“I travel everywhere, there’s nothing so strange, nothing mysterious with cattle rearing. Why should cattle become a problem because we like to eat beef? I don’t understand it.
“There are solutions which are very simple. People have talked about ranching, but the ranching has got to be done in places which are environmentally congenial to that particular husbandry and that at the same time do not afflict humanity,” he said.
The playwright insisted that it is not unexpected for persons who have been afflicted by the activities of cattle and cattle herders to rise up and protect their area, stating that the lack of a substantial policy direction by President Buhari has escalated the problem.
He described the action of the president towards the farmer-herder issue as “lackadaisical”, saying he (Buhari) should have lost the 2019 presidential election.
“When you have a situation where cattle walk up to my own door in Abeokuta, which is supposed to be a residential area, there is a problem.
“And you expect people to sit down and be quiet?”
“And then, Buhari took such a long time and, I have written this down, he deserves to have lost the last election if only on account of the lackadaisical attitude he took to the issue of cattle rearers.
“People have been killed in hundreds till today and it is only because of the failure of leadership at the critical time.,” the Nobel Laureate said.
See below the link to the video in which Soyinka articulated his views on herders in 2019″