If Nigerians living in the southern part of the country want truly want peace, they must be ready to take in Fulani herdsmen and settlers.
This is according to the former executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf.
Yusuf make the comments following the decision of South-West governors to ban open grazing. Ondo governor Rotimi Akeredolu also expelled herdsmen from the state’s forest reserves. In Oyo, Yoruba activist Sunday Igboho vowed to expel Fulani settlers from the region.
The herders and settlers are being blamed for a surge in kidnapping, vandalism, rape and killings.
But Yusuf issued warnings against the current climate.
“It is a security thing and I have been in the forefront talking about it long time ago before anyone else,” he told The Sun.
“What they are doing in Ondo State, they are doing one million of it in Katsina State and in the North. It is a security issue and we really need to sit down and talk seriously.
“No governor in this country has the power to evict any ethnic group or through ethnic cleansing or for people to be profiling other ethnic groups.
“No. I’m a Fulani man, I don’t want to be profiled when I go to Yoruba land or Igbo land. For the fact that I’m a Fulani, so I’m a bandit?
“I have never shied away from speaking the truth. We have had times in this country where all the kidnapping, robberies were mostly people from the South, you never heard anybody in the North said, it’s Yoruba armed robber or it’s Igbo armed robber.
“You don’t treat people that way, it is wrong.”
He blamed frequent herdsmen-farmers clashes on the failure of leadership all over the country.
Yusuf appealed to state governors all over the country to accept the Ruga scheme proposed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, describing it as the lasting solution to the clashes.
“We need to know that from the colonial time, there were routes that these Fulani and their cattle pass and they have now been taken over,” he said.
“The government is saying build RUGA for these people to settle, but the South and other places said no. We should not forget that there are Fulani that have lived in Igbo land for over 100 years. Igboho and his people want to send them away in Yoruba land.
“It is not only in Igbo land or Yoruba land that we have this problem. It is all over the place and that is why I say we have to sit down and talk to settle these guys and give them a kind of structure, and even send them to school.
“Ranching is eventually RUGA and RUGA is settling them in one place. States are saying get out of our forests because of insecurity, this and that.
“People have to be honest. These Fulani have been living with the people for over 100 years, we need to sit down and have real discussion.
“In the North, we have suffered from these bandits more than any other people and it is getting worse, unless we sit down and do the right thing and get them settled down at RUGA just like we have Sabon Gari all over the North to settle the Igbo.
“If we are not honest at saying the truth we will continue to have this problem. Everybody is blaming the Fulani for all the woes in this country just because the Fulani is occupying the Villa.”