■ Says Kalu’s peace tour patriotic
Enyeribe Ejiogu ([email protected])
In the face of the rampage by marauding killer herdsmen, who attack and burn whole villages, Pastor Bassey James has expressed optimism that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government would successfully end the tidal flow of the blood of the innocent.
Pastor James, who is the founder of Southern Atlantic Polytechnic, Uyo, and President, Southern Youths Development Forum and managing director of Bascom Limited, a security consulting firm, also urged the people criticizing the ongoing peace and unity tour of the former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who is now set to visit states in the North Central geopolitical zone, to look through the prism of national peace and stability in evaluating the tour.
James said that the time had come for all Nigerians to close ranks and pull together to fight the menace of the marauding killer herdsmen, who he characterized as a new virulent virus that needs to be combated with the same vigour and forthrightness deployed by the country, when there was an outbreak of Ebola in 2014.
His words: “The issue of herdsmen is something that can be dealt with in a matter of months. The solution is to create ranches for the cattle. The country has millions of acres of land that have not been put to use. For instance, I am from Akwa Ibom. If I have the money and want to go into cattle rearing business, I will acquire land to establish a ranch and then seek a certificate of occupancy from the governor.”
In Nigeria, cattle rearing has been associated with the Fulani. And in the recent past people had never witnessed the kind of situation now being seen in the relationship between the cattle herders and farmers. This has led people to believe that most of the so-called herdsmen, who now move around with sophisticated automatic weapons, had undergone training outside the country – a fact that President Buhari alluded to recently.
Agreeing with this view, James said: “I don’t think that the herdsmen that we have known in the past are the ones doing the killings we are witnessing. The herdsmen we have always known usually move around with sticks, which they use to guide their cattle. Those ones always try to avoid destroying the farms in the communities where they graze their cattle. These days, the herdsmen involved in the horrendous killings going on do not have any cattle. I can say that the people doing the killings have infiltrated the ranks of the real herdsmen. That is why I believe that the security agencies have a big job on their hands to find out what is really happening. I believe strongly that the government can solve this problem if it is determined to do so. The government must engage everybody in the task of solving this problem. It will require vigour and patriotism, in the same way that everybody was mobilized in the battle against Ebola. The Federal Government led then by former President Goodluck Jonathan collaborated with the Lagos State Government, when Babatunde Fashola was the governor, in the fight against Ebola. I think we should see the killer herdsmen as Ebola virus and all citizens should close ranks against these dangerous killers masquerading as herdsmen. I am convinced that President Buhari can solve the problem and that is why we must continue to pray for him and ask God to give him wisdom to tackle this dangerous problem with vigour and patriotism. I know that President Muhammadu Buhari will be able to solve this problem.”