Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos, has said cattle herding is undefendable in modern times and federal government need to convene a stakeholders meeting in resolving the farmer-herder crisis in the country.
There has been tension in recent weeks over the allegation that herders are responsible for killings and abductions in the south-west.
In January, Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo, ordered herders to leave the state’s forest reserves, while Sunday “Igboho” Adeyemo, a youth leader, had asked herders to exit Ibarapa local government area of Oyo, where attacks also occurred.
In a bid to resolve the crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered security operatives to “go harder” on criminals and shoot anyone who possesses an AK-47 rifle illegally.
In a statement on Saturday titled, ‘Tinubu’s Statement On The Herder Crisis,’ the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said farmers and herders need to be supported by improving their method of operations to modern templates.
He said law enforcement agents are required in rural communities, adding that both federal and state governments “need to employ new technology and equipment to enhance the information gathering/surveillance and response capabilities of law enforcement”.
The former governor called for a stakeholders meeting to address the security challenges and to develop solutions in ending the farmer-herder crisis.
“Both innocent and law-abiding farmer and herder need to be recompensed for the losses they have suffered. Both need further assistance to break the current cycle of violence and poverty. In short, the continued progressive reform of many of our rural socio-economic relationships is called for,” he said.
“Based on these strategic observations, I recommend the federal government convene a meeting of state governors, senior security officials, herder and farmer representatives, along with traditional rulers and religious leaders. The purpose of this meeting would be to hammer out a set of working principles to resolve the crisis.
“After this meeting, governors of each state should convene follow-up meetings in their states to refine and add flesh to the universal principles by adjusting them to the particular circumstances of their states.
“In addition to religious and traditional leaders and local farmer and herder representatives, these meetings shall include the state’s best security minds along with experts in agriculture (livestock and farming), land use and water management to draw specific plans for their states.”
Tinubu said the measures alone will not provide the needed solution, adding that everyone “must get hold of our better selves to treat this matter with the sobriety it requires”.
He said Nigerians must unite against religious affiliations and ethnic sentiment by shunning violence and embracing peace.
“Until the violence is rolled back, we cannot resolve the deep problems that underlie this conflict. We will neither be able to uplift the farmer from his impoverished toil nor move the herder toward the historic transformation which he must make,” he said.
“Yet, as vital as security is to the resolution of this matter, we must realize security measures alone will not suffice. Enhanced security may be the necessary first step, but it cannot be the only step. Nor do we resolve this by hitching ourselves to emotional, one-dimensional answers.”
Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has denied saying he spent N35 billion on the elections of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and 2019.
A report had quoted Tinubu as expressing regrets that he spent heavily on the president.
The report said while having a discussion with Bisi Akande, former interim chairman of the APC, on the dissolution of the national working committee of the ruling party, Tinubu accused the president of betraying him.
But in a statement Tunde Rahman, his spokesman, issued on his behalf, the APC national leader dismissed the claims.
“The authors of the libelous report claimed Asiwaju made the allegation in a discussion with former APC Interim Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande,” the statement read.
“Firstly, no one person elected President Buhari. He was elected by the generality of Nigerian electorate. Asiwaju Tinubu would not arrogate you himself the commendable decision taken by the people. Also, that outlandish claim only existed in the imagination of the authors of the story.
“Asiwaju rooted for President Buhari’s election and in 2015 and re-election in 2019 along with other right-thinking political leaders and teeming members of APC and Nigerians across the country.
“He has no reason to regret the rightful decision or describe President Buhari as ‘ungrateful’. He remains steadfast in his support for the president and the programmes and policies of his administration as he has always been.
“Nothing has occurred to warrant any change of heart.”
The statement said since reference was made to how Akinwunmi Ambode, a former governor of Lagos, could not secure another term, it is possible that those behind the report “betrayed where they came from”.
“The report linked recent developments in APC to the fate suffered by former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in the 2019 governorship race in Lagos State, perhaps betraying where the authors were coming from,” the statement read.
“Asiwaju has put the events of 2019 behind him. He has moved on. Indeed, Lagos has moved on. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is providing good, purposeful and responsible leadership. Lagosian are enjoying the fruits of good governance under the able and dynamic governor Sanwo-Olu.
“Asiwaju and governor Sanwo-Olu have the best of relationships, contrary to the impression the report sought to create.”