By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-The Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU), has condemned the incessant farmers-pastoralists conflicts, calling for an urgent national solution to the communal and violent conflicts.
The Union also alleged that the federal government’s inaction was responsible for the lingering crises arising from disagreements between pastoralists and farmers in the country.
Addressing Newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday,the National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said that the ‘farmers-pastoralist conflict’ is an outcome of a combination of environmental ecological crisis, and socio-historically derived problems which the ruling class of Nigeria, in its different wings, has been manipulating to suit its economic and political goals.
Ogunyemi who read a prepared text, tagged, “State of the Nation:Time to end the drift”, said that the Government has failed in enforcing Section 17 (2b) of the Nigerian Constitution which states that: “the sanctity of the human person shall be recognized and human dignity shall be maintained and enhanced”.
He emphasized that, “ASUU condemns unreservedly and unequivocally the unjustified and unjustifiable loss of lives and property arising from the unwarranted conflicts.
“Our hearts and thoughts go to families and victims of the senseless acts. We condemn, in strong terms, those hiding behind the farmers and the pastoralists to incite the poor to mutual destruction”.
The Union further stressed that the Federal Government must take responsibility for failure to anticipate, manage and control the crisis, and must deal, in accordance with the law, with all those who are established to have sponsored or committed such heinous crimes against fellow citizens.
The text read, “On all sides, the chief beneficiaries are not the cattle workers (called “pastoralists”), not the farmers, not the millions of Nigerians who are fed with stories of ethnic hostility and hatred arising from a manipulated faulty interpretation of the conflicts.
”The result is, everywhere, a creation of conflicts and antipathies among people who have coexisted in peace, mutual respect and integration for long periods in their history.
“The recent antipathy and violence evolved in conditions of land hunger and environmental hardships, which themselves, are not produced by farmers or cattle workers (‘pastoralists’). Severe changes in natural, climatic conditions which triggered a large hunger for land and, consequently, hardship in the availability of feed for cattle was a significant causal factor.
“As a result, the ‘small’ land owners gradually lost their access to land, handing the business mainly to rich farmers, for whom they have now become workers. The Nigerians described as ‘’herdsmen’’ are employed cattle attendants working for large cattle owners.
“They are an equivalent of poor peasants working for rich farmers. What is called the farmers-pastoralist conflict, is really a classic case of poor hired (pastoral) workers inevitably being forced into a ‘war’ against poor peasants for, ultimately, the main benefit of rich farmers. This is the class nature of the crisis.
“ASUU asserts that the chief beneficiaries of the crisis are the rich cattle farmers. The victims are the poor peasant farmers and the hired cattle ‘farmers’ who have been forced by their function of servitude to master employers to kill one another, in the interest of their masters.
“This is not new. It is a classic case of ruling class logic: divide and rule! As usual, Nigeria’s rulers from all ethnic wings are making maximum political use of the crisis for which their class is responsible.
“The ruling class is busy calculating political gains to be made from the crisis. The Nigerian people – workers, farmers, students, the unemployed, all victims of the crisis, are now being fed with crude religious and ethnic interpretations of the conflict” it read.
On the fight against corruption, Ogunyemi noted that corruption in Nigeria is more serious than any anti-corruption agency however resolute.
“Rulers needs corruption to maintain their loot.The parties are contesting on which party is more corrupt, all the parties are all corrupt.
“The solution to the problem of corruption lies in the power of the people of Nigeria, to promote a popular democratic government.Nigerians must quit from looking for salvation in the political parties and class that has failed them.
“ASUU will not support any ruling class either to acquire or to sustain power. It is time for Nigerians to take their fate into their own hands. Enough of ruling class deception. They should create a country where the solidarity of Nigeria movement will live” Ogunyemi stated.
Speaking further on the 2019 elections, he noted that structures must be put in place and urged Nigerians to monitor the promises the Politicians are making.
In his words, “No political parties have said that they will address chapter 2 of the constitution. We should collectively work together and put our support in a party that can implement the fundamentals of chapter 2 of the constitution. Unless we have a new dispensation that puts the people first, nothing can be done”.