- The rampant killings by herdsmen across the country continues to generate reactions
- A group of professionals from the Southwest region of the country have voiced their concerns over the killings
- The group berated the federal government for failing to prevent the killings of innocent Nigerians by the marauding herdsmen
The South West Think Tank (SWETT), a group of professionals of diverse background from the six southwest states, Kogi and Kwara states, has knocked the federal government for failing to curb killings by herdsmen across the country.
The group, in a statement sent to NAIJ.com on Thursday, February 1 by its spokesman, Chief Femi Davies, said it was saddening that despite the havoc being wreaked by the herdsmen almost on daily basis, nothing had been done to check their destructive activities.
"Since the beginning of the year, the herdsmen have killed over 100 persons across the country, with Benue state suffering the biggest loss.
“The herdsmen have also destroyed several farmlands, including those of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, in Ondo state; and a former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Samuel Afolayan, in Kwara state.
“In the same vein, about 10 hectares of farmland belonging to Chief Bisi Rodipe was also set ablaze by these herdsmen in Ijebu land, while 10 people were also killed by these rampaging killer herders in Yewa North and Imeko Afon local government area of Ogun state," Davies said.
He added that the failure of the federal government to bring to justice the herdsmen leaves the rest of the country with the impression that the lives of cows are more important than those of human beings.
“This government leaves us with no other option other than to believe that because they are Fulanis and their own man, President Muhammadu Buhari, is in power, they are untouchable.
“Apart from the human losses, farmine could be looming in the country with the burning of farmlands and the refusal of farmers to plant again owing to the fear that the criminal elements operating under the guise of being herdsmen could strike at any time.
“Between Chief Falae, Admiral Afolayan, and Chief Bisi Rodipe, 57 hectares of farmlands were lost. In Benue, Taraba and Adamawa states, several hectares of farmlands have also been destroyed.
“This can only portend farmine if urgent action is not taken and the perpetrators of this heinous crime brought to justice,” he added.
SWETT equally said the influx of arms and ammunition into the country, part of which is being used by the herdsmen, should also be a source of concern to the government.
He stated that with the proliferation of arms and ammunition, it is becoming obvious that next year’s elections could be in danger.
His words: “The security agencies in the country must do their due diligence to find out how these so-called herdsmen come about the sophisticated guns they are using.
“In the same vein,the South-west states should exercise its right using the Land Use Act of 1978,in order to protect the farmers.
“This should include compensation for those whose farmlands have been destroyed, with many of them having taken loans from banks.”
The group also expressed its opposition to the proposed cattle colonies across the country, saying: “Our position on this is very clear: no cattle colony will be accepted in the South-west and the Yoruba speaking states of Kogi and Kwara.
“Any attempt to forcefully implement this will be forcefully resisted. The practice all over the world in animal rearing is ranching. And on that we stand.”
Meanwhile, Right Without Violence, an NGO, has called on the federal government to adopt urgent measures to end the lingering herdsmen/farmers crisis in order to prevent a national disaster.
Addressing a news conference in Zaria, Kaduna state, on Wednesday, January 31, the coordinator of the NGO, Dr Ahmed Suleiman, said the appeal was a wake up call on the government to act immediately on the crisis.
“Our survival as a nation is at stake. Nigeria is known to play the brink only to draw back to our senses at the last point. This has been the usual game; we cannot sit down helplessly and watch ourselves over the precipice into self-destruction,” he said.
Victims of Herdsmen killing buried in Benue state on NAIJ.com TV