Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday assured that his administration is determined to find a lasting solution to the incessant herders-farmers clashes across the country.
Buhari gave the assurance during an audience with a special delegation from Nasarawa State, led by the governor, Abdullahi Sule, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.
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Buhari who commended the Nasarawa elders and leaders for maintaining peace within the state said: “In the last four years, you collectively put aside your political, religious and ethnic differences for the interest of stability and prosperity. We must continue to preach peace and understanding in our various communities.
“The incessant conflicts between herders and farmers is an age-long problem this administration is determined to find lasting solutions to. I employ all leaders of opinion to help maintain peace while we are putting in place policies and permanent solutions.”
The president while noting that the responsibility on government is enormous, said that “in the last four years, we have focused on enhancing security, inclusive of economic empowerment and fighting corruption. In all these areas, we have made progress despite the significant challenges we faced.
“I am pleased to hear that there is a Federal government’s project in Nasarawa State that is impacting on your citizens. I will like to congratulate the governor, deputy governor and all the newly-elected officials from Nasarawa State on your victory at the polls including of course, Senator Al Makura.
“I must commend the steadfastness, commitment and the enormous hard work of the former governor of Nasarawa State Senator Tanko Al Makura, who identified with our project from the word go. I wish him well in his new assignment.
“In the next four years, I want to assure you that we will remain committed to the change agenda. Our goal of building an inclusive, secure and prosperous Nigeria is achievable. However, the Federal government cannot do it alone. We need the full cooperation and support of states, local governments as well as traditional and religious leaders.
“Just last week, I inaugurated the National Economic Council; during that meeting, I emphasised the need to invest in education, primary health care, agriculture and security as foundations for sustainable progress.
“I want to use this forum to again solicite the support of all states to align with those four pillars. We must all have a collective vision for sustainable development.”
Buhari, however, asked the delegation to put on hold its plans to name an academic institution in his name, saying: “I will make consultations and revert to you in due course.”
The president noted that Nasarawa State and its citizens have always been dear to him. According to him, “our political journey started a long time ago; in good times and in difficult times I could always count on your support.
“You are the first and only state to elect a governor on the platform of CPC and resisted all the riggings by the power that be at the time. I can never forget your commitment and your love for me from the moment I entered partisan politics.
“Today, our political movement is now in government at the centre. We have won majority states; we have majority in National Assembly; we must therefore show gratitude to almighty God for all the blessings.”
The governor in his remarks said the delegation came to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing their sons, Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu and the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, Brig Gen Shuaibu Ibrahim to head positions of responsibility.
He said the delegation made up of the immediate past governor, Tanko Al Makura, traditional rulers, former ambassadors, ministers and permanent secretaries from the state, came to thank President Buhari for dualising some of their roads, building some of the institutions and appointing some many sons and daughters of state into Federal agencies.
The governor who said they were going to fight insecurity through agriculture said: ”Nasarawa State is taking the issue of security very seriously; we know that the president is after the security of this country; we are looking at tackling security through agriculture. First and foremost, there is what is called Ruga project by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture; so Nasarawa State is one of few states that will start that programme; we are going to deploy a lot of people and we will separate the herders from farmers so that they can be in separate areas.
“There are some many intervention funds, mainly for agriculture to employ the youths and promote agriculture; so we are embracing each one of them ; but we are coming up with a bill in which we are going to involve our traditional rulers to part and parcel of security of their various domains.”