The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole
Soyinka, have jointly called on Nigerians to defend their ancestral home
lands against the Federal Government proposed RUGA cattle settlements.
This
was made known in a communiqué issued yesterday to highlight details of
a meeting between the monarch and Novel Laureate at his (Soyinka’s)
home in Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The meeting was centred on the state of the nation.

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Oba
Ogunwusi and Soyinka, in the communiqué, said their call on Nigerians
to defend themselves became crucial as the Coalition of Northern Groups
gave a 30-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to pass the Ruga
project for Fulani herders despite being suspended after many Nigerians
went against it.

The report read: “In this regard, the recent
ultimatum delivered by a sectarian order to the President of this nation
to set up the so-called Ruga cattle settlements across the entire
nation within a stipulated time, despite the national outcry, should be
acknowledged as an entitlement under the bounty of freedom of
expression.

“In return, we exercise ours and call upon Nigerian
nationals across state demarcations to defend the sanctity of their
ancestral lands. This birthright has never been annulled, not even under
colonial occupation.

“Among such issues of urgent import are the
ongoing insurrectional movements that derive from religious fanaticism
and intolerance, exemplified by Boko Haram and allied tendencies, as
well as aspects of commercial enterprise.
“In which some groups
consider themselves especially privileged, singular, and above the laws
and entitlements that are binding on other sectors of commercial and
industrial undertaking. We have in mind destructive forms of social
transactions that characterise groups such as nomadic cattle herdsmen,
and their umbrella groupings in the nature of Myetti Allah.

“We
confess ourselves increasingly distressed and appalled, that the
hitherto harmonious cohabitation, even routine collaboration, among the
productive arms of society that Nigerians have taken for granted even
from pre-colonial times, have deteriorated to unprecedented levels of
barbarity, contempt for human lives and a defiant trampling on the civic
entitlements of other productive sectors such as farmers, the providers
of both food and cash crops.

“This abhorrent, yet consistent
pattern of sectarian, and homicidal arrogance is obviously not merely
counter-productive but inhuman, criminal and divisive.

“We
consider it a primary imperative of national existence that the
constitutive parts of the nation take steps to preserve and enhance
their distinct cultural identities, including tested and relevant
pre-colonial values, their spiritual apprehension of phenomena and
worship, all without detriment to the principles and ideals of mutual
co-existence.
“To this end, we undertake to create state-of-the-art
ethnic museums for our people both at home and in the Diaspora, where
present and future generations can access their histories and cultures
vividly, as living expressions of their very humanity, not simply as
relics of eras vanished forever or irrelevant to the present,” the
communiqué added.

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