Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has condemned the burning of a farm belonging to former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae.
Falae’s farm was attacked last Sunday by some suspected Fulani herdsmen who allegedly burnt over five hectares of the farm where oil palm tress and some cash crops were planted.
Atiku said in a statement by his media office yesterday that arson is a punishable offence under the law and that when the crime is aimed at destroying a private investment, it adds the additional penalty of economic sabotage.
“It is a reprehensible act of economic sabotage to wilfully set ablaze any person’s property and investments.
“As a statesman who has worked tirelessly for this country, Falae deserves a quiet and peaceful retirement and not this lot that has been characterised by kidnapping and other vices including this arson.”
Atiku urged the police and other relevant security agencies in the country to launch an investigation into the crime and ensure that the culprits are brought to book to serve as deterrent.
Meanwhile, elders of Akureland yesterday warned that another attack by herdsmen on farmers and residents in the entire land might lead to tribal crisis between the people of the community and the herders.
The warning was issued yesterday at the palace of the paramount ruler of the kingdom, Oba Aladelujsi Aladetoyinbo, was sequel but not limited to the incessant attacks on farmlands in the area.
The elders called on all security agencies in the state to protect the residents of the communities against the incessant attacks of the cattle herders on the farmers so that people would not be forced to resort to self help.
Reading the address of the elders to journalists in Akure, the Ondo State capital, the Asiwaju of Akureland and former Nigerian Ambassador to Australia, Prof. Olu Agbi, lamented the rate of attacks on the farms of many farmers in the state.
Agbi said there was a need for the government to be proactive about the activities of the cattle herders before it degenerated to a full-blown ethnic crisis.
“Since his (Falae) release and the conviction of the suspects, the farm of the senior citizen has been subject of attack by herdsmen. Apart from killing people in his farm, neighbouring farms have been subject of attack by these gun wielding herdsmen.
“The recent burning of Falae’s plantation by these same elements calls for worry. We call on the security agencies to protect the life and property of Falae.
“We are making this appeal not only because he is an Akure chief but to prevent tribal war as the Olu of Ilu Abo’s stature transcends Akure and Yorubaland.
“We warn the herdsmen not to create an opportunity for a civil war because any further attack on Falae or his farm would be deemed as casus-belly,” he said.
The elders also kicked against the proposal by the federal government for he creation of cattle colony in all states of the federation.
The elders declared that there was no land in the Akure kingdom for such colony.
“The word colony has political connotation not economic. A colony is a political entity which someone said he wants to create in the territory of another; that is a provocation; that is terrible thing for anybody to contemplate. I can tell you that Akure does not have land to be colonised.
“Akure kingdom welcome genuine farmers and agriculture entrepreneur who want to invest in any form of farming including animal husbandry. But we did not have land for colony.
“We did not find our father as slaves and let us say that we have the capacity to defend our lands against Fulani herdsmen invasion, the elders declared,” he said.