Chief Olatunji Arosanyin is a veteran legal luminary with over 50 years experience in the bar. He, at a time ventured into politics with late Olusola Saraki during the reign of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in Kwara state. He however shares his thought with KAYODE ADEOTI on the recent herdsmen killings in Benue state and some part of the country among other germane issues. Excerpts:
The issue of renewed herdsmen killings in some part of Nigeria is fast become a nagging issue, what can you say of the development?
The problem of herdsmen in Nigeria is serious and I don’t know how we can solve it, I’m a lawyer and I’m a farmer. But, herdsmen drove me away from my farm so I don’t go to farm again. They killed one of my associates in Egbe, Kogi state, burnt down my hut and destroyed all my Cassava. This was why I stopped farming, because, as a lawyer, I don’t want to do anything that will contravene f the law of the country. One disturbing thing about the scenario is that, we don’t know the herdsmen because we don’t see them. We can’t stop farming because we must survive and there is no way we can survive in Nigeria without farming. These people are supposed to be Nigerians and if they are, they have right to stay anywhere in the country. But the issue is, how do we identify them? Some are saying they are Nigerian-Fulani, some argued that they are Niger while some posited that they are armed rubbers. To me, one of the first way to approach the issue is to first identify them. Government needs to be proactive on this issue, to identify the perpetrators of this dastards act and bring them to justice. The recent killings in Benue State is terrible, when I saw the pictures on television and newspapers, I wept because I’m human being too.
In order to curb and avert similar occurrence in our state, will you subscribe to the implementation of anti grazing law?
That’s what they do in civilised countries like America, Britain, Europe. They provide grazing areas for people. But those countries are different from Nigeria. If we decide to create grazing areas of about 100 hectares of land in a place like Moro Local Government of Kwara state, what about the customary occupants of the land, where will they go to, what land would they use for farming again knowing that members of the community are predominantly farmer, how would one now treat the natives.
Would you subscribes to the agitation that herdsmen should be declared terrorists?
No, that is wrong. They are not like some part of Biafra who want secession. They are not under the same reasoning. They weren’t agitating for break up unlike the IPOB.
Government claimed at a time that Nigeria is out of recession, but things seem to be getting worsen following the ongoing scarcity of fuel, do you think if government grant the agitation for restructuring, our economic problems will be over?
It depends on what you mean by restructuring, to some people it means, Yoruba speaking people should go to the West, to realign. To some people, it means restructuring our resources. To me, I’m novice about what we intend to achieve with the process. Until we draw a blue print on what we want to achieve with restructuring, we continue to ask question.