He said the latest destruction in his farm indicated that the herdsmen was designed to provoke him but promised to resist any provocation from the herdsmen.
He disclosed that the herdsmen had made it a yearly ritual to attack and destroy his farm saying he was kidnapped by the herdsmen and the perpetrators of the latest destruction could kill him if they meet him on the farm.
He specifically said the attack was deliberate, noting that the herdsmen and their cattle have nothing to do with palm trees set on fire.
Falae said “What that tells me is not a question of cattle eating grass; it is a matter of people destroying other people’s means of livelihood consciously, maliciously and deliberately. Palm trees are planted nine meters apart, it is not combustible.
“But they packed dry leave at the bottom of the palm trees and set it on fire. They did it overnight and did it one after the other. They burnt them, why? That does not feed the cattle; they just want to destroy my assets.
“This is an attack on my livelihood, on what I possess. It is continuous, they do it every year. For the Agric people, this is an attack on our food production.People are afraid now to plant, they do not have a guarantee that they would not destroy it. They have destroyed my ten hectares of cassava. Whoever borrow money to plant now; the asset will be ruined.”
Speaking on the activities of the herdsmen on his farm, the former Minister of Finance said: “At first they will come in the night to fetch water and we were tolerant because they did not touch or destroy anything but later it took a different turn all over Nigeria.They will come in the night, eat our maize and in three years I’ve reported to the police over ten times.
“Element of the same people kidnapped me, I have been at the receiving end for so long even after I was kidnapped, they came back and killed one of my guards and the case remains an unsolved murder case.
“Every year they set fire to my farm and do you know why, there are two elements to their actions, first is economic, they burn this farm because the grass is already dry and cows don’t like that. So they burn the grass and in two weeks time fresh grass will grow and their cattle will have fresh grass to eat. In order word, they are already treating my farm as if it was their colony and they do this every year”
He said as if this was not enough “they burn Palm trees in my farm, this amounts to act of malice and hatred and I believe they have malice against me and they hate me, that is why they will burn my palm trees, uproot the Palm trees I planted and throw the seedlings away. That does not help the cattle in any way, I believe if they saw me in person, it is me they would hurt
“The intention is what worries me; that some Nigerians deliberately want to destroy properties of other Nigerians. I condemn this action but what is more important is that I will take some actions and government should take some steps too to make sure they don’t do it again and if they don’t take step to prevent it, it means that government supports what they are doing, they are not offended by what they are doing.”
Speaking on the continued silence of the President and the Federal government, he accused President of looking the other way despite the cries of Nigerians over the attacks and killings of Nigerians by the herdsmen across the country.
He said “It is only President Buhari who can answer the question why he is silent over these Fulani herdsmen atrocities. I have expected him for over two years to take an initiative and make a national broadcast to his people in Nigeria assuring us that he will handle the matter by announcing effective measures that could control the capacity of the herdsmen and assure that both the herdsmen and us can live together in peace without one side damaging the other.
“I am disappointed I’ve not heard this from him. If I were the President I would have taken the initiative because this is not a problem that cannot be solved. Many nations have gone through this, this mode of cattle rearing is universal but in the last hundred years most nations have solved the problem by adopting ranching
“Ranching is cattle farming and a legitimate and very profitable business run by private businessmen but they are trying to make my crops to feed their cattle to subsidise their own business because they are forcing me by invading my farm in the night to supply free food to their cattle and when they sell the cattle they don’t give me part of the money. This is a system that cannot survive and I expected the government to have stopped it.
“We are not saying cattle rearing should be stopped but the cattle rearers should be assisted to set up or do their business without hurting anybody. Hurting farmers is not acceptable”
Falae, while reacting to the cattle colony proposal of the Federal government, expressed optimism that none of the states in the south-west will provide land for cattle colonies as proposed by the Federal government.
“In Nigeria; to mention the word colony has a political connotation and not economic connotations. A colony is a political entity which someone said he wants to create in the territory of another; that is a provocation; that is a terrible thing for anybody to contemplate. I am sure it was a mistake; I hope my friend Audu Ogbeh will withdraw that obnoxious policy.
In any case with what is going on, I can tell you as a leader of our race, the Yoruba people will not concede one inch of its territory as a colony to another person. I did not find my father as a slave, he never told me he was farming for other people; I will join with other people and pay the price we have to pay; any price to maintain a freedom we have inherited. I am farming on my own land; I did not go elsewhere to farm. There shall be no colony, not in Yorubaland.
The proposal that colony should be established and rangers will accompany cattle, moving from one colony to another is a very provocative and repugnant proposal The word colony is a repugnant political word because it means one group people dominating another.
The British came to Nigeria and by force colonised us and made us their possession. A colonial arrangement regards other human beings as possession of others.
An adult educated Nigerian will use that word colony, to describe any part of this country that you want to bring back colonial status. It is almost treason .it is repugnant, provocative and should be withdrawn and the person who coined it should apologize to Nigerians
“Looking at the proposal itself, assuming other terms has been used, it is unsound and makes no sense.There’s no justification for this, except you want to perpetuate Fulani herdsmen burning around our territory, we want to know the reason.
“The idea that we will train rangers to accompany cows moving from. One colony to another is a huge continuing unnecessary financial burden on the Federal government because there is no need for cattle to march from colony to colony.
“If we train rangers it should be to maintain peace generally not listed to cows that are now being given special statuses like our governors or head of state. It makes no sense, it’s absolute nonsense. They have insulted the intelligence of Nigerians, it is nonsense”
Proffering solutions to end the frequent clashes, attacks, and killings by the herdsmen in the country, Falae said the herdsmen need special attention and government should not fold its hand but
“My suggestions was that there are states that are home to cows, so it is those relevant states government that should carry the burden and not the Federal government. I am not saying the Federal government should not assist them.
“Let them carve out areas for cattle farmers in those states that are home to cattle and assist them to set up ranches. Ranches are private things and not government responsibility but the government can help them to prepare water and make the ranch self-sufficient.”
He said further “Government can even give them subsidise loans to establish and become viable and profitable ranches, that is the solution and not this nonsense of cattle roaming from one colony to another colony.”
The Secretary-General of the Pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Sehinde Arogbofa, described the latest destruction of Falae’s farm as a very wicked action saying what is happening is not directed to Falae but to the entire Yoruba race.
Arogbofa said ” this is very provocative, this is not the first time, they once destroyed his farm and kidnapped him, I think enough is enough or do they want to kill him? he queried.
He wondered the reasons for the President and the Federal government silence on the herdsmen atrocities and said “this is sad. We are watching him and the steps he has been taking its embarrassing and not in the best interest of our people.
“The President’s strong silence on kidnapping, murder, and so much other crime is not a good omen. His attitude to all the plight of the people he governed is not the best and should rise up to do what is good and right to stabilize the country “
Meanwhile, the Ondo state government on Monday sent a delegation to Falae’s farm for on the spot assessment.
The team which was led by the state commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gboyega Adefarati expressed sadness over the development and reiterated government’s readiness to transmit a bill to the State House of Assembly to regulate the activities of herdsmen in the state.
The state commissioner of police, Mr Olugbenga Adeyanju who also led security personnel to the farm said the command could not ascertain the cause of the fire incident in the farm but said the command has commenced an investigation to unravel those behind the dastardly act.