The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, and other eminent Nigerians have warned of the consequences of the lingering farmers/herders clashes in various parts of the country, noting that the development if not checked was capable of causing food crisis in the country.
In a related development, the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has rejected plans by the federal government to establish “cattle colonies” for Fulani Herdsmen and their cows in Abia State. A release signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Enyinnaya Appolos, the Governor stated that Abia state would not cede any part of her territory to Fulani herdsman as colony for cattle.
This is as the National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Labaran Maku, yesterday said for being one of the leaders in the northern part of Nigeria, he was ashamed of the ongoing killings in many northern states of the country, describing it as politically motivated.
Chambers who spoke alongside other Nigerians stated this at the presentation of three books by Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations Security Council, Amb. Joy Ogwu in Abuja.
Chambers, who was represented at the occasion by former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, observed that those behind the crisis were targeting the food system of the nation by creating an agrarian crisis capable of destroying the survival of the nation.
Delivering a lecture on the theme “The Crisis of Leadership and World Order”, Mailafia however, tasked the leadership of the country on the need to ensure peace and harmony in order to accelerate the country’s development.
He said, “Without peace and harmony, nothing good will come. But without justice, there can be no peace to speak of.
“We are encouraged by the enormous efforts our military, through the leadership of the current administration to break the back of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“However, there are still many more rivers to cross. We need to finish the job and build a framework for a just and lasting peace in the northeast and the rest of the country.”
He added that, if Nigeria must attain her potential as a great nation and leader of Africa and the black race, there was need for a coalition of Nigerians who believe in the nation’s manifest destiny as the leader of the continent.
“We are meant to be a city set on a hill, a light unto nations. But we can only fulfill that destiny if we reinvent our nation as country anchored on positive science, peace, the rule of law, social justice and humane values.
“In so doing, we must remain open to the world, to Europe, Asia and the Americas – building partnerships that promote trade, investments and a rules-based international system that guarantees the security of all nations”, he said.
In his remark, Chairman of the occasion, and a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana said that there was need to pay adequate attention to leadership development, adding that nothing could happen without good leadership
He stressed the need for Nigerians to see themselves as one and stop all wanton killings and destructions in the country.
“Instead of being our brother’s keeper we have become our brother’s killers, which are very disturbing’”, he said.
Author of the books Prof Joy Ogwu, in her remarks appealed to all Nigerians to be good citizens wherever they found themselves.
She stressed on the need for everyone to be loyal to the country, adding that it was the only way the nation could move forward.
According to Governor Ikpeazu; “we reject any plan to establish cattle colonies for herdsmen in Abia State. We don’t have enough land for our agricultural activities and our people want more land.
“Giving away any part of Abia land as a colony to herdsmen, wherever they may be from, will be most unjust and unfair treatment to Abia State and her people who are largely farmers.
“Such alien land occupation will also cause unrest and crisis that may grow beyond what we can handle when it happens, so the best thing I think we should do is to reject such plans so that those behind it will know that Abia State is not party to it.”
According to Maku who spoke yesterday while distributing relief materials in Awe, headquarters of Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, to farmers who have been displaced by attacks allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen on the border communities of Nasarawa and Benue States said, “If it is not politically motivated, why is it that it is only the poor masses that are always the people being killed and their properties destroyed?”.
The former information minister lamented that “these kinds of killings did not happen during the time of late Sir Ahmadu Bello, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.) and even the time of Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
“During that period, fathers of the North, both Fulani herdsmen and farmers were protected to do their economic activities without any fear.”