Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has described the nomadic lift style of Fulani herdsmen as obsolete, saying the herders do not have the right to cling to such way of life by killing others.
The former governor of Lagos state made this known in Abuja while giving a keynote address at the Daily Trust 2018 dialogue, where he noted that the current hue and cry against these killings is a sign that we are maturing as a nation.
Tinubu said the public outcry is as welcome as it is overdue, adding that Nigerians should have been agitating in this manner 5, 10, 15 years ago, saying lives would have been saved.
“For reasons I cannot completely fathom, we have come late to the point of strong, collective outrage at this bloodletting. Yet, all in all, late is better than never in this regard.
“This spirit of compassion and care must be enshrined in our political culture because it is integral to national greatness and democratic progress. True patriotism requires that you love more than the concept of Nigeria. You must love the people who comprise this nation, whether they worship in a church, mosque, and shrine or not at all.” He said
Tinubu stressed that over the course of history, nations have faced crises more crimson than this, pointing out that many nations emerged from the thicket better situated to realize their better destiny through wise policy.
His words: “These nations and their people are no better than us. We can and we must do the same thing.Against this backdrop, we must take prudent action. It is incumbent on the federal government to do what past governments neglected to do.
“We must forget our age-old prejudices in order to resolve this problem. What we need is serious committed action. At its essence, this crisis was not born of religious or ethnic hatred. It is about a shrinking amount of grass and water.
“In recent years the desert has expanded, consuming land once used to graze livestock. This pushed cattle herders farther and farther south to collide with the farmers who were there. Ecological peril spawned economic conflict which descended into violence.
“This violence has taken on religious, ethnic and regional consequences because of the identities of the parties involved. This tragic episode tolls a caution to us all.
“Left to fester, this problem expanded to assume dimensions that now tremors the body politic.
This is what too often happens when dire problems are left unattended. Now, the current administration is moving to arrest the lethal situation.
“I welcome the deployment of more law enforcement and military into the troubled areas. These security measures will stem the immediate violence and loss of life.
“As we commend these security measures, we must not lose sight of the fact that the problem bears an economic origin. Thus, agro-economic policy initiatives must help shape the lasting solution.
“The crux of the matter is that the nomadic way of life is fast becoming obsolete. Large scale nomadic practice does not belong in this day and age. This is reality and it is inescapable.
Thus, herders have no right to cling to this way of life by killing others. Government must stop their violence but also offer them a viable new way of life by moving them toward more modern, non-nomadic cattle rearing.
“Additionally, government should establish a relief and rehabilitation program for those families and communities that have been so grievously harmed.
In short, to resolve this lethal problem, government must implement a multi-dimensional policy that encompasses security, agro-economic, educational and emergency relief elements. This is the art and mastery of governance that our nation and its complex problems require,” Tinubu said.r