Professor Banji Akintoye says the Yoruba people are living like slaves in Nigeria, arguing that the Yoruba nation deserves more.
Speaking while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s News Night, Professor Akintoye said it is sad that the Yoruba nation with all its greatness should be suffering as it is in Nigeria.
Professor Akintoye said:
“We are more-or-less like an enslaved people in this country, most of the people of the middle belt and the south are like enslaved people in this country, we are being ruled by impunity.
“There is no respect for the constitution or the law, the people who control the power of government in Abuja are doing what they like.
“There is no sense of responsibility in terms of security of the people, people are being killed and the government in Abuja is not really doing much, in fact for a long time they were not doing anything to protect us and they are using their power more to compel the authorities of our state to make it possible for the people who say they are coming to kill and maim and destroy to enter into our land and to take territory and settle under whatever name you may call it.”
As far as the academic is concerned, it is irresponsible for the government to say to a people who are being brutalised by a particular set of people to accept their oppressors.
This he said in reaction to the farmers-herders clashes and the solutions proffered by the government of the day.
Professor Akintoye further noted that he is suspicious about the intentions of the Federal Government with regard to the RUGA concept.
According to him, it is not a question of presentation, it is a question of the agenda behind all that is happening.
He was of the opinion that the Federal Government seems these days to be doing nothing more than to think of ways to get the Fulanis to be admitted into lands within the Southern and Middlebelt regions.
Still speaking on the clashes between herders and farmers, Professor Akintoye stated that the Yorubas are not opposed to Fulanis.
He argued that it is in the culture of the Yorubas to welcome people, adding that the Yorubas do not attack strangers on their lands.
“It is a traumatic experience for a Yoruba to raise his hand against visitors on his land,” Akintoye stressed.
Narrating what the relationship used to be in the past, the historian said; “Cattle herders were coming to our farms when I was a child; a peasant farmer’s child.
“We would go to the farm and we see the herder with the cow and we would play with the cattle and he would protect us and tell us not to go too near to them because they could kick you. He was a very nice person. He was not a hostile person who did his work.
“But now, there is an agenda. Not all cattle herders, but some herders come in to deliberately provoke conflicts because behind them are well-trained militias.”
Regarding the issues of restructuring in Nigeria, the revered writer held that Nigeria is a country of nations and not a nation in itself.
He added that each nation within Nigeria deserves to be respected.
For him, the issue of restructuring is a question of responding to the demands of the moment.