The Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has said that Fulani herdsmen are more knowledgeable than most Nigerians.
The governor stated this when he mentioned that some of the grazing routes where the herdsmen tend their flocks could be a grazing route from the colonial era.
“What you also forget is where he is passing may be a grazing route from the colonial era.
“They maintained that route. We don’t know it, they know it. It is like a federal highway. It’s been there. The British Colonial administrators created those routes; they put veterinary officers and tax collectors at certain strategic points” the governor said.
Naija News reports that Governor Abdulrazaq stated this when lamenting that the insecurity in the North-West region has brought a migration of Fulani herdsmen to Kwara state.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen in the state capital today, the Governor noted that herdsmen trooping into the state have outnumbered natives in some local Government Areas.
He reiterated the South and Kwara North communities were the most affected victims.
According to the North Central state governor, the ban on open grazing by Southwest governors had not tackled the problem of farmers-herdsmen crisis in the country.
His statement reads: “Security challenges are huge, especially with insecurity in the North-West, and the declaration by Southern Governors to ban open grazing. Once they pronounced it and set a date, we saw a migration of herdsmen coming to the extent that if you go to Kwara South, Kwara North now, in some villages, the Fulani have moved in. They are more in population than the indigenes.
“Many times, I have engaged with the traditional rulers, especially to say, let’s be accommodating, it will soon pass. The ban on open grazing is a law that cannot be enforced. It’s about fundamental human rights; the right to free movement. It is enshrined in our Constitution. You can try to minimize it.
“But now you’re saying you have to buy your food and water from next month. It’s not going to happen.
Governor Abdulrazaq pointed out that the Fulani-speaking people are at the bottom compared to other ethnic groups across Nigeria.
He said: “When you see the herdsmen, they are children, herding the cattle to the bush. Those children don’t understand. They are illiterate. You’ve gone to the bank to collect money to plant maize. He sees food for his cattle.
“You see maize that you want to cultivate, sell and pay back your loan but he sees food for his cattle and he passes through your farm. What you also forget is where he is passing may be a grazing route from the colonial era.
“They maintained that route. We don’t know it, they know it. It is like a federal highway. It’s been there. The British Colonial administrators created those routes; they put veterinary officers and tax collectors at certain strategic points.”
“They were collecting tax and vaccinating the cattle and all sorts of things. The routes were there as the federal highways. In Kwara, we have about four or five grazing reserves we inherited from the colonial era. They are there. We are going to take and develop those reserves.
“With localization, global warming and urbanization, things have changed. Global warming means less water, less vegetation, desertification and therefore, smaller space, they have to come further South to graze.
“Urbanization means that you have built on their grazing routes, where else has a C of O on it now. He is doing his plantation for maize.
“We’re not offering these Fulani anything other than the bullets. That’s the truth of it. What are the options? We say we ban open grazing, so what option did we give them other than move out of our state, we have banned open grazing?
“They are Nigerians who have rights to freedom of movement. If you ban open grazing, you have to give them an option,” the Governor reiterated.