According to the federal government, the responsibility for the recent murderous onslaught by Fulani herdsmen should go to the anti-grazing law passed by some states, and not the murderers themselves.
This position was enunciated to reporters today by the minister of defence, Mansur Dan-Ali after a briefing to Pres. Muhammadu Buhari by the nation’s security chiefs.
“What are the remote causes of this farmers/herders crisis? Since Independence, we know there used to be a route whereby these cattle rearers use. Cattle rearers are all over the nation, you go to Bayelsa, you see them, you go to Ogun, you see them. If those routes are blocked, what happens? These people are Nigerians, it’s just like you going to block river or shoreline, does that make sense to you?
“These are the remote causes. But what are the immediate causes? It is the grazing law. These people are Nigerians, we must learn to live together with each other, that is basic. Communities and other people must learn how to accept foreigners within their enclave, finish!” he said.
Why this matters
Over 100 people have been killed by herdsmen this year alone. The murders by the herdsmen did not begin with the passage of the anti-grazing laws, and continues to take place even in areas where such a law has not been passed.
Unfortunately the federal government has been unable to secure the lives and properties of those attacked. Nigerians have also criticized the government for failing to show empathy to those who have lost loved ones to the attack by herdsmen. At the mass burial for over 70 people killed by herdsmen in Benue this month, no single federal government official was present. And now, excuses are being made by the government for the actions of the murderers.
The unrestrained acts of the herdsmen formed part of former Pres. Obasanjo’s grouse against Pres. Buhari in his statement this week. “It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it,” Obasanjo wrote.
Minister of Defence, Dan-Ali further said today that it is illegal for state governments to set up and arm forest guards.
To check the crisis, the minister said the quarterly security meeting with President Buhari decided to set up a commission on small arms proliferation in the country.