Wole Soyinka, a Nobel laureate, has faulted plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to go ahead with the reopening of grazing routes across Nigeria despite opposition to the plans.
President Buhari had recently approved recommendations of a committee to review 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, and to determine the levels of encroachment.
But speaking at a press conference, Friday in Lagos State, Soyinka noted that such idea was not in the best interest of Nigeria.
He added that many experts have recently identified ranching as the solution to the perennial farmer-herder conflict across Nigeria.
According to him, “Virtually the whole nation is screaming that we do not want any open cattle grazing. Whether they go by the name of cattle routes or grazing reserves.”
“Round the entire nation, we’ve had opinions surmounting the antiquated mode of cattle rearing. Even the all-powerful, untouchable Miyetti Allah, even they have gone on record to say that ranching is what we want.
“And when we think all that debate is settled in rational terms, along comes a new version, rather like Decree 4, of Ruga, with the President insisting on sending his agents out to map out and recover the old grazing reserves when governments and people and experts, agronomists, business people are saying that this is a business and it should be conducted in this particular way.
“So why is this President obsessed about something which is being rejected right, left and centre?” he said.
Speaking further, the scholar faulted the recent query the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission issued to Channels Television after interviewing some key personality on the state of the nation.
Read also: Explainer: What are grazing reserves?
He likened it to Decree 4, an instrument designed to gag the press during the military era in Nigeria.
Soyinka, while also condemning the Department of State Services (DSS) raid on Sunday Igboho’s residence, called for the immediate release by the Benin Republic authorities.
“Igboho peacefully demonstrated, I don’t consider someone calling for secession as committing a criminal act. As long as it is done peacefully, it is acceptable,” he added.