OBINNA EZUGWU

Elder statesman, veteran columnist and former MD of the Daily Times of Nigeria, Akogun Tola Adeniyi, has noted that the insistence of President Muhammadu Buhari on creating grazing reserves for Fulani herdsmen across the country is enough evidence that there is a plan to “Afghanistanize” Nigeria.

Terrorist group, the Taliban recently took over the Asian country of Afghanistan after a successful military campaign 20 years after NATO forces drove them out of power.

Reflecting on the events in the Asian country, Chief Adeniyi suggested that they are similar to what is happening in Nigeria where Boko Haram terrorists and sundry bandits are sacking communities while the government seem not to be doing enough to contain the carnage.

Last week, Buhari, through his spokesperson, announced that his government had approved review of 368 grazing sites across 25 states of the federation “to determine the levels of encroachment” with a view to recovering them for the herdsmen, a development that has since triggered outrage, with many suggesting that it’s an attempt to “Fulanize” Nigeria.

Reacting to the development in a chat with Business Hallmark, Chief Adeniyi said the idea of grazing reserves is unacceptable and must be rejected by all Nigerians.

Adeniyi said the attempt is an unmitigated provocation, and called on relevant stakeholders in Nigeria to call Buhari to order before he plunges the country into deep crisis.

“Apparently, Buhari cannot be alone in all of these. It’s either that he is not in charge or some people are hellbent to set the restive country ablaz,” he said.

“This is an ugly act of unmitigated provocation. The whole world has moved on beyond open grazing. There is hardly any country in the world where under age children are deliberately deprived basic education and instead sent on bare feet following cows in bushes and forests for distances stretching to hundreds of kilometers in inclement weather.

“These over exploited children and even their equally deprived fathers and mothers don’t own a single cow and yet those who sentence them to this Stone Age lifestyle live in luxury and enjoy all attributes of conveniences of modern living. It is just not fair.”

According to Adeniyi, cattle rearing is a private business and should never be the business of the government.

“Cattle business, like fishing, pig farming, poultry farming is a private business. Governments don’t own these cows, why should Federal Government under President Buhari insist on raising the temperature of the polity all the time.

“And this has nothing to do with being Fulani. Not all Fulanis are cattle herders. All the cows roaming the forests and destroying other people’s livelihood on their farms do not belong to only Fulanis.

“And in any case, Gentleman Shehu Shagari and Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua were Fulanis who ruled this same country before. They did not put the country or the people or state governors through all these agonies and antagonisms.

“Elders in the four corners of the country should as a matter of urgency come together and call Mr President to order. They should have the courage to tell the multitudes of unelected power mongers and influence peddlers who have hijacked Buhari’s government to back off.

“Members of the Council of State and the National Assembly should be alive to their responsibilities and be mindful of the judgement of history.

“Nobody can predict the end of anarchy, so no one should provoke one.

“Nigerians have suffered enough untold hardship. Deliberate provocation and open invitation to ‘Afghanistanisation’ and ‘Somalianisation’ should not be allowed to compound their woes.”