Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Elder statesman, Emmanuel Iwuayanwu, has advised the Federal government to listen to the voice of the people who are vehemently opposed to its proposed RUGA settlement for herdsmen.
Speaking to our correspondent, Iwuayanwu who holds one of the highest titles “Aha eji aga mba” in Igbo land, pointed out that there is no way majority of the voices of the people rejecting the proposal would be wrong; moreover, he re-echoed that “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
Iwuayanwu, while also reacting to the numerous killings and atrocities of herdsmen across the country, said he was not sure that the perpetrators were Nigerians.
According to him “we have Fulani’s in this country likewise other tribes; we have never had any problem; I don’t believe these people who are involved in the killings are from Nigeria; they might be from outside Nigeria but if government would allow this, that means they are allowing foreigners to come and kill our people. Look at what is happening in Benue, Nasarawa ,Taraba and Zamfara; no country can accept that. I believed that the government has reached a point where it should listen to the voice of the people.
“The whole of the South West cannot be stupid; South-South cannot be stupid; South East cannot be stupid; the Middle Belt cannot be stupid even the Hausas are in trouble because they’re being killed too. I don’t believe all these people are stupid. Of course, I’m very happy that the governors of South East have stated it clearly that they don’t want the RUGA settlement and if you come to South East on whose lands would they settle them?
“We don’t have the land mass; the land here is owned by people; there is nothing wrong with the cattle rearer negotiating with the landowners to buy land; we are not used to a situation where the Federal government would take over land and give to the herdsmen; I can’t understand that. Why can’t they give it to other farmers? Why are the Fulani always being treated differently like a special tribe? Why is the Federal government insisting on having people’s land even when the people are saying no to that?
“We are not stopping anybody from anywhere from acquiring property; any Nigerian who can afford to acquire property anywhere has to do that with their money but not the Federal government acquiring it for them. Fulani are free to acquire property anywhere but they must negotiate with owners of the land.
Iwuyanwu further said “yes it is true that government is vested with power, but that does not mean that the owner of the land should be dispossessed of his land; the law also allows them to negotiate with the landowners.
“Igbo are everywhere, yet the government has not made laws to giving them lands free; Igbo buy their own land, so why are these people special? The era of migration has long stopped; everybody has settled at a place they can geographically call their own.
“So the Federal government should condemn the activities of herdsmen; some of them maim and kill innocent people while claiming that their cattle were rustled; if that is so, they should not resort to anarchy; there are laws to take care of that instead of them taking the laws into their hands.
“As a cattle rearer, your business is your business, not that of a state. So, the government should not bother itself about RUGA,” Iwuanyanwu said.