From many quarters yesterday came kudos for the federal government over its latest initiative to stem the spate of killings by herdsmen across the country.
But it was also told to be more pro-active in dealing with threats ,real and otherwise,to the lives and property of Nigerians.
Government,on Thursday,adopted the recommendation of the committee set up by the National Economic Council (NEC) to stop movements by nomadic herdsmen starting with Adamawa,Benue,Kaduna,Plateau and Taraba –states worst hit by herdsmen-farmers clashes.
It said focus will now be on the creation of ranches where cows and their owners can have access to all they require.
An Igbo leader and entrepreneur,Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr. Anthony N. Z Sani,Senior Advocate of Nigeria Niyi Akintola, chairman of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILoT), Chief Edward Ekpoko, and an Urhobo opinion leader, Chief Victor Otomiewo,all agreed that Nigeria has had enough of the recent bloodletting.
They spoke on a day the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) accused President Muhammadu Buhari of playing the ostrich by the way his government is handling the herdsmen issue.
But Buhari for the umpteenth time declared that unity has always been his objective and pledged to “ continue to do everything within my powers to unite Nigeria.’’
Chief Iwuanyanwu speaking to The Nation said: “”It is a very strange experience. Nigeria is at war considering the number of people we are losing every day.
“I think the security agencies need to tell Nigerians the truth about what is happening, starting from the Boko Haram menace to the issue of herdsmen.
“Up till now, we don’t know who they are and where they come from. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that the problem has internal collusion .
“I am not even sure that the people who are arrested are the perpetrators of the crime. It looks to me like a well planned operation. Many people believe there is internal collusion and Gen. T.Y. Danjuma was bold enough to say this.
“This is a war situation and we need to do something to help those who are suffering.
“If we continue this way, we are going to destroy this country. The country is on the brink of collapse.
The case of Benue is very serious and it has suffered more than Bornu. We have the North East Development Commission that is taking care of Bornu. The same should be done to Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa and Plateau.”
In a separate interview ,the Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr. Anthony N. Z Sani advised the federal government to meet with all the state governors , chairmen of local governments and all stake holders “with a view to coming out with how best the mindless killings could be stopped and give way for the economic activities to thrive.
“Because of the overwhelming challenges posed by these clashes, any plans and programs of stopping the killings should include short, medium and long terms.
“Surely, ranches are the best practices in the world, but because of the limited resources and capacity on the part of not only the pastoralists but also on the part of governments at all level, it may be necessary to approach the introduction of the ranches gradually as resources and capacity permit.
“That is why I commend the decision by the National Economic Council to start the process of introduction of ranches in some five states now with clear understanding by governors and all the stake holders that they need to work together ensure the plans and the programs succeed for the good of all concerned.
“This is very important because peaceful coexistence is sine qua non for any meaningful socioeconomic development.
“All Nigerians need peace to be able to sublimate their time and energy in order for both the country and the individuals to thrive.”
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Niyi Akintola warned: “This problem is speeding gradually and we don’t know where it will spread to tomorrow.I foresee a situation where people will confront the security agencies weapon for weapon. We need to increase the strength of the security agencies and build the confidence in the people.
“What is happening in Benue is a confirmation of the postulation of TY Danjuma. The old man was right.
“I am worried about the loss of confidence of the people in our security agencies. Tthe mantra now is self defence. The self defence as propagated by Gen TY Danjuma is now getting a wider acceptance and approval across the country. The country will need to do more on enlightenment than appealing to the people. The government has to be proactive.”
The youth wing of the Igbo apex socio cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo called for “security screening, registration, and regulation of herdsmen’s activities.”
It also asked to herdsmen to “always allow the rule of law to prevail since we are in a democracy and the military, Police, SSS et al; should be given enough logistics and equipment to eradicate the herdsmen menace.”
The chairman of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILoT), Chief Edward Ekpoko, and an Urhobo opinion leader, Chief Victor Otomiewo, said government should tighten internal security.
“I think the whole herdsmen problem goes beyond dispute over grazing areas, it’s beyond that. The killings in Benue in the last three days, in which they had to go into churches, shooting people, what has that got to do with grazing? I think the thing is just pure insecurity; our borders are too porous, especially in the north,” Otomiewo told The Nation.
“It is unfortunate that rather than face the real issues, people are playing politics with the lives of Nigerians. You want Buhari to solve every security problem in every corner of Nigeria, but in the meantime you have governors who are pocketing security vote every month. You have council chairmen who are pocketing security vote, nobody is asking questions about that one.