A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Olu Falae, has said he will work hard with other leaders of the South-west region to ensure no cattle colonies are created in the region.
Mr. Falae said the recent attack on his farm by suspected herdsmen was an attempt to kill him.
He spoke on Monday after the government delegation inspected his farm which was destroyed by fire allegedly set by Fulani herdsmen.
He also berated President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to take effective measures at curbing the menace of the herdsmen.
He said there was need to embrace modern methods of cattle rearing instead of the idea of grazing colonies, adding: “there is no colony in Yoruba land.”
Mr. Falae also recalled his ordeal at the hands of the herdsmen, saying that after he was kidnapped in 2015, the herdsmen returned and killed one of his guards, and the murder case is yet be solved.
He noted that if the arsonists had met him in the farm he would have been killed.
“To burn Palm trees, amounts to act of malice and hatred and I believe they have malice against me and they hate me, that is why they will burn my palm trees, uproot the palm trees I planted and throw the seedlings away. That does not help the cattle in anyway,” he said.
“I have expected him (Buhari) for over two years to take an initiative and make a national broadcast to his people in Nigeria assuring us that he will handle the matter by announcing effective measures that could control the capacity of the herdsmen and assure that both the herdsmen and us can live together in peace without one side damaging the other. I am disappointed I’ve not heard this from him.
“If I were President I would have taken the initiative because this is not a problem that cannot be solved. Many nations have gone through this, this mode of cattle rearing is universal but in the last 100 years most nations have solved the problem by adopting ranching.
“Government at all levels, especially the Federal government should be a government for all of us regardless of how many votes we cast at the election time, we are all entitled to the protection of the federal government.
“Ranching is cattle farming and a legitimate and very profitable business run by private business men but they are trying to make my crops to feed their cattle to subsidise their own business because they are forcing me by invading my farm in the night to supply free food to their cattle and when they sell the cattle they don’t give me part of the money.
“This is a system that cannot survive and I expected the government to have stopped it, we are not saying cattle rearing should be stopped but the cattle rearers should be assisted to set up or do their business without hurting anybody. Hurting farmers is not acceptable.”
He also gave an insight into his ordeal in the hands of the armed herdsmen.
“At first they will come in the night to fetch water and we were tolerant because they did not touch or destroy anything but we did not allow them to stay here but later it took a different turn all over Nigeria.
“They will come in the night, eat out maize and I’ve reported to the police over 10 times.
“Elements of the same people kidnapped me, when people said they were not Fulani herdsmen, you could say they are Fulanis. Everybody knows a Fulani man in Nigeria.
“Every year they set fire to my farm and do you know why, there are two elements to their actions, first is economic, they burn this farm because the grass is already dry and cows don’t like that.
”So they burn the grass and in two weeks time fresh grass will grow and their cattle will have fresh grass to eat. In order word they are already treating my farm as if it was their colony.”
“If the government fails to take steps to prevent it, it means that government supports what they are doing, they are not offended by what they are doing.”