The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has warned Federal Government to handle the raging herdsmen clashes and attacks on communities with utmost sensitivity and justice.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Kunle Famoriyo, the group’s publicity secretary, deplored the statement credited to Abdullahi Adamu, the chairman Senate committee on agriculture and rural development, and cautioned government officials and political officers to be sensitive to the plight of victims of herdsmen’s terror by guarding their utterances.
Adamu was quoted to have said: “Nobody can stop the government from acquiring land anywhere. Government is government. If anybody thinks he is violent, ?government has the monopoly of violence”.
Famoriyo said ARG has just concluded a report, based on a research into the herdsmen-farmers clashes, which will be forwarded to the Federal Government and National Assembly. He said hardly is there a state in Nigeria, particularly, the 17 southern states that has good tales about herdsmen’s activities.
“Sadly, parochial and irresponsible statements, like Adamu’s, is the latest in a series of media reports in which herdsmen were absolved of their crimes against host communities and their demands advanced as of absolute rights,” the statement said.
He said ARG was shocked by Federal Government’s claim that the herdsmen are foreigners and Boko Haram insurgents when there are verifiable data and reports showing that herdsmen terror predates Boko Haram insurgency. Some reports dated as far back as the early 90s in parts of Oke-Ogun in Oyo State, where many farmers, for inexplicable reasons, have spent months in police detention in Abuja just because they protested the invasion of their farmlands by cows, led there by herdsmen.
“Herdsmen have been labeled as militants in the Global Terrorism Index2015 – due to their violent acts on defenseless Nigerians in agrarian communities, without any commensurate response from the security agencies. If indeed they are foreigners, it is the duty of Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to ensure that non-Nigerians are denied the opportunity of making unlawful incursion into the country, irrespective of any affiliation, religious or political, that they may have with any part of Nigeria.”
“Nigerians are wary of the fact that the proliferation of herdsmen that are armed to the teeth indicates the potential of a people preparing to subjugate others. Rather than assuage this fear by crushing the armed herdsmen, it is shocking that government’s priority is to implement reforms that apparently favours them.”
“Herdsmen, like any people, entrepreneurs, and traders in Nigeria, should be free to live anywhere. However, if they need land for grazing, they should acquire it the same way other Nigerians [and foreigners] acquire land to live and operate their ventures – whilst they peacefully integrate into the host communities.”
ARG warns that Nigeria comprises of many ethnic nationalities and we will not allow ourselves to be subjugated under the guise of Nigeria’s unity. 
Segun Balogun
Programme Officer
Afenifere Renewal Group

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