From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has sounded a note of warning to Fulani herdsmen over incessant clashes with various communities across the country, saying his administration will not tolerate acts of banditry and criminality, under any guise.
He warned that if the clashes continue, his administration would not hesitate to deploy its security apparatus against them.
He gave the warning as guest of honour at the graduation ceremony of Course 24 participants of the National Defence College, Abuja.
“On the matter of herdsmen/farmers clashes, I wish to state that this administration will not tolerate or condone acts of banditry and criminality, under any guise. As such, our security agencies have been mandated to deal with such acts decisively”, he stated.
States like Adamawa, Benue, Ekiti, Enugu, Plateau have in recent times witnessed frequent clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers leading to several persons being killed, communities razed and farms destroyed.
This destruction of lives and properties had led to calls for the establishment of grazing reserves to coordinate herdsmen’s activities, but many states have also kicked against the suggestion, saying it would only embolden the herdsmen.
The President said his administration was committed to tackling the issues of underdevelopment and neglect in the Niger Delta area. “This is a priority we have set before us and we intend to make appreciable gains in correcting the ills of the past in the Niger Delta by assuaging inherent grievances”.
President Buhari added that this administration has been working assiduously in conjunction with local and international partners, to rebuild damaged communities in North East part of the country.
He also used the occasion to laud the graduating military officers for successfully undergoing the 11 months rigorous course, and reminded them to maintain the tenets of professionalism and discipline the military was renowned for.
He said his administration remains undaunted in tackling the twin issues of corruption and poverty, a development he noted explains why previous political office holders were under probe.
“You will all recall that on being sworn into office on 29 May 2015, I outlined certain core areas of our national life that require immediate intervention, some of which I would like to reiterate here today. First, we should seek to secure the country, improve the economy and fight corruption.
“As it is, this is our unfinished business from the past and dates back to the creation of our republic, yet to this day, corruption and poverty remain our main national problems.
“As part of efforts to address the problem of corruption, we have set in motion legal processes to recover whatever we can and bring to justice those who betrayed their trust. Thus far, we have been able to recover billions of naira from indicted companies and individuals.
“In addition, through the implementation and enforcement of the Treasury Single Account, we have been able to save more for our nation. Furthermore, in our fight to end poverty in Nigeria, we have set up social interventions and reliefs for the poor, and already, data is being collated by the Economic Planning Office of the Vice President in conjunction with the World Bank”.
The Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, said the institution has lived up to the dreams of its founding fathers, and currently 13 countries including Germany, Brazil, India have indicated interest to participate in the forth coming course 25 scheduled to start in September.
A total of 130 participants, seven foreign nationals from Ghana, Niger Republic, Zambia and Sierra Leone graduated from the Course 24.