- President orders investigation
From Juliana Taiwo- Obalonye, Abuja and Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
EKITI State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has de- scribed as worrisome, Presi- dent Muhammadu Buhari’s silence on the alleged killing of harmless Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen. “Wanton murder of over 300 Agatu people of Benue State and the silence of the Federal Gov- ernment on this genocide is a clear invitation to chaos,” Fayose said.
The governor, who de- scribed activities of the herdsmen as inimical to the revival of agriculture in the country said: “Farmlands costing billions of naira have been destroyed in states in the South-West, South-East and North-Central zones of the country. One wonders how Nigerians can go back to farming when those already in the farms are losing bil- lions of naira worth of crops to destruction of their farm- lands by the Fulani herdsmen and the federal government is not doing anything about it.”
Perhaps, in response to Fayose, the president has ordered an investigation into the clashes between herds- men and indigenes of com- munities in Benue State.
In a release on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose, who expressed his sympathy to the victims and their families, added that the federal government must stop playing ostrich to the herds- men menace.
“If, in the last one week, over 300 Nigerians were al- legedly killed, several vil- lages razed, with farmlands destroyed by Fulani herds- men and President Buhari is comfortable, junketing from one country to the oth- er, something is definitely wrong somewhere.
“This is because, in saner climes, no country will have over 300 of its citizens re- portedly killed with thou- sands others displaced and the leader of such country will not rush home from wherever he is to take charge of the situation by himself,” the governor said.
He said President Buhari must be reminded how he led a delegation of Arewa leaders to Ibadan on October 13, 2000, to confront the then Governor of Oyo State, late Alhaji Lam Adesina over al- leged killing of Fulani herds- men in Saki, Oke Ogun Area of the state.
“If 16 years ago, President Buhari could be so concerned
about the killing of Fulani herdsmen in Oyo State such that he, as a private citizen led Arewa leaders to Ibadan to show their anger, why is the president silent now that Fulani herdsmen are the ones allegedly killing people, rap- ing women and destroying farmlands in Benue State in particular and other states in the country?
“Is the president unmind- ful of the possibility of Nigerians seeing his silence as conspiracy?
“Most importantly, what has Boko Haram caused Ni- geria that the Fulani herds- men are not also causing now?”
Challenging the umbrella body of cattle breeders, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in particular and northern leaders in general to wade into the persistent involvement of herdsmen in attack on communities, kill- ing and raping of Nigerians, Fayose said: “Nigeria is still battling Boko Haram and the country cannot afford another regime of anarchy which this persistence killing of Nigerians by the Fulani Herds- men can cause.”
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari described as
“shocking,” last week’s incident, which led to hundreds of deaths in four communities in Agatu and has ordered the security agencies to get to the root causes of the problem.
“We will conduct an investigation to know exactly what happened; the only way to bring an end to the violence once and for all is to look beyond one incident and ascertain exactly what factors are behind the conflicts,” he said.
The president added that all Nigerians must learn to live together as one, in peace and unity.
“We are all one nation and one people. There should not be any reason why Nigerians of any group or tongue cannot now reside with one another wherever they find themselves after decades of living together.”
The president further expressed condolences to the government and people of Benue State, particularly the people of the Agatu communities, assuring them that the government would do everything possible to ensure that no such incident ever occurred in their midst again.
“Once the investigations are concluded, we will act immediately to address the root of the problem.”