By Eseoghene Emuke
The apex socio-cultural umbrella of Urhobo people in the Niger Delta region, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) has appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to jettison the proposed establishment of Fulani Radio for marauding herdsmen in the country.
UPU stressed that the establishment of the radio station for Fulani herdsmen would further heightened ethnic tension and worsen growing insecurity in the country.
This was contained in a statement signed by the President-General of UPU, Olorogun (Dr.) Moses Oghenerume Taiga, lamenting that the living condition of Nigerians in the last few years had deteriorated.
The statement, while congratulating President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on their second term inauguration, called on the APC-led government and governors of the 36 states of the country to double efforts to work for the economic upliftment of Nigerians.
Taiga condemned the growing security threat by Fulani herdsmen particularly in Urhobo Land, lamenting that many parts of Urhobo Nation were under the siege of herdsmen.
According to him, “There is worsening insecurity in Nigeria, including Urhobo land. The conditions in Urhobo land is worsened by the activities of herdsmen by the massive destruction of our farms, which is our mainstay of existence.
“Urhobo towns and villages, such as Abraka, Eku, Uwheru, Ethiope West, Ethiope East, Ughelli North, Ughelli South and many more communities, continue to be under siege by Fulani herdsmen.
“The UPU is no longer prepared to stand by and watch this desecration of our lands continue unabated. We reiterate our earlier call for these herdsmen to be brought to book.
“The Urhobo Nation is appalled by the setting up of a Fulani Radio. Whatever the argument the government might put forward, this radio station is ill-timed and insensitive to the feelings of the Urhobo people and other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, whose portions of land, towns and villages that the Fulani herdsmen have forcefully taken over.
“The UPU appreciates the need to promote the speaking of indigenous languages, but any government effort should be holistic or each ethnic nationality should be left on its own to preserve its culture and language. The selective promotion of the Fulani language has heightened tension among ethnic nationalities in the country and the project should be jettisoned at once.”
The statement, however, called for true federalism, saying that the current federal system will continue to keep Nigeria backward and ineffective.
“We reiterate our call for true federalism. While we believe in one Nigeria, the Nigerian federal system, as currently constituted, is not effective. The Urhobo Nation demands a true federalism where the component units will be in control of their resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government.
“The UPU reassures the Urhobo Nation that the UPU is working hard to ensure that there is peace and security in Urhobo land. We are a peace-loving people and the UPU will continue towards ensuring that peace reigns in Urhoboland.
“The living condition of our people has deteriorated over the last few years. We hope the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, and all State Governors will spend the next four years to work for the economic upliftment of Nigerians”, it further added.