Bunu Yam Festival, Fulani Invasion As a Threat to Food Security: An Open Letter to Gov Yahaya Bello

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According to Norman Borlaug’s famous declaration, “Man’s survival, from the time of Adam and Eve until the invention of agriculture, must have been precarious because of his inability to ensure his food supply.”

Your Excellency Sir, it is with the above declaration in mind that I am writing this open letter to you in regards to the above subject matter at this perilous time. It has become imperative and pertinent to write to inform you about the plight, agony, and precarious situation farmers are going through in the hands of Fulani herdsmen in Okun land.

For clarity, Bunu land is in Kabba/Bunu Local Government.

In some parts of Bunu Land, the yam festival usually celebrated on the seventh day of every July. This carnival-like festival is beyond the eating of new yam, or pounded yam with different kind of soups, as a witness to this year’s low key celebration due to the pandemic, coupled with the fact that their farmland has been destroyed by the Fulani Invaders which also affected their harvest, thereby impoverished and sunk many persons deeper into poverty. 

Oba Samuel Olore, the Obalutere of Ayede Bunu, personally told me about the plight of his people, particularly the farmers whose crops have been eaten up by cows thereby making it impossible for the people to be able to eat the usual pounded yam or yam on this year celebration.

This is why most people had to buy yam or cook rice as an alternative, no thanks to the Fulani herdsmen invaders. It is very pathetic and worrisome that a point like this when the world is focusing on reducing hunger and poverty. With the fertile land God has given to Okun People, we should be talking about the exportation of our good yams to the world, but it is sad to note that the people do not even have the ones to eat,  talk less of selling.

This is indeed a call for the action of Mr. Governor to urgently look into this matter with a view and commitment to address the situation before things fall apart. A Hungry man is an Angry man they say.

Almost 69 million people around the globe went hungry in the 2019 Index report. With COVID-19 era, about 120 million people may go hungry, in which I quickly add that with the ongoing situation and the high level of hunger and rising poverty level In Kabba/Bunu Constituency as a microcosmic of the Macro Society in Nigeria. The statistics may be more devastating and can not be depended upon as a yardstick, indices, and parameters reliable for the Zero Hunger and Sustainable Development Goals targeted for the year 2030.

Way Forward and Recommendations: 

– A convocation of meeting with all Traditional Rulers in Okun Land, with leaders of Miyeti Allah and Fulani leaders to jointly review the situation, deliberate on issues raised and take actions on resolution reached.

– Profiling every herder in Okun; a badge, or an emblem can be issued either by the State Government or the Local Government for easy identification.

– Repairs of rural and farm road for easy transportation of farm produce, to avoid post-harvest damages and losses incurred on bad roads.

– An addendum to the present situation, the security architecture should be added with a focus to farmlands to guarantee the safety and security of farmers.

– Foster behavioural change through qualitative Education and effective communication between the farmers and herders.

– Provision of palliatives and high breed seedlings to farmers in Okun land to plant the seedlings during this window period.

I do hope the Governor, as the Chief Security officer of the confluence state, will as a matter of urgency and expediency rise without further delay to salvage the situation before its too late because farmers effort at providing food for their family and community has been shattered by the Fulani invasion which is a threat to food security and national security by extension.

There is no better time than now to build Okun land, Kogi State, for the overall national development.

I remain yours faithfully,

Hon. Sheyi Babaeko
2019 U.P.N Candidate for Kogi State House of Assembly.

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