The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has expressed outrage over the attacks on several communities in Plateau State, which led to the death of over 200 people.
CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, while reacting to the incident, lamented that over 4,000 people had been killed since late 2001, when the ﬁrst major ethno-religious riot broke out in Jos.
In a statement made available to newsmen on Monday, Adeniran called for immediate arrest and prosecution of the killer-herdsmen and their sponsors, no matter how highly placed.
This, he said, would douse tension and provide justice to the affected communities and serve as a deterrence, while security should be beefed up to end the killings
He stressed that ethno-religious rivalry rooted in the allocation of scarce resources and electoral competition had fused into an explosive mix that had persistently disrupted the peace and harmony among the people in the North Central geo-political zone of the country.
Adeniran stated: “It baffles every right thinking Nigerian how nomadic herdsmen were able to acquire so much firepower to send as many as 200 people to their early graves and leave over 250 in critical condition in one single attack.
“While this attack against natives occupying the Middle Belt area by the herdsmen predates the President Muhammadu Buhari government, it would not be out of place to state that the herdsmen seem to have become emboldened under this current dispensation, considering the intensity, ferocity and regularity of their attacks.
Adeniran noted that almost immediately after the latest attacks on Garshish District, Razat, Ruku, Gana Ropp, Gindin Akwati and other affected communities in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas, Danladi Ciroma, the Chairman, North Central Zone of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), issued a statement attributing the incident to the retaliation for the killing of over 300 cows in the last few weeks by the villagers.
“While CACOL frowns very seriously at the killing of human beings as retaliation for cow rustling by herdsmen, we also want to remind President Buhari’s government that the primary duty of any government is the security of lives and property of every community within Nigeria.
“We note that since this genocide has become a recurrent feature for some time now, efforts ought to have been made to holistically address the root causes of this bloodletting and necessary machinery put in place to nip them in the bud.”
Adeniran expressed support for the anti-grazing laws of the respective state governments, while throwing CACOL’s weight behind the plan to set up ranches for cow rearing in consonance with modern and international best practices.
He stressed: “This should be done in states that are clearly natural for setting up such venture in collaboration with both the respective state and local government authorities.
“The setting up must be such that it is devoid of any ethnic or religious colouration as those interested and are available should be trained in the techniques involved in all areas of cattle ranching for profitability and needed employment opportunities as obtained in other leading countries where cattle ranching provide hundredth of thousands of jobs and millions of US Dollars in revenue generated.
“In the same vein, individuals and states that are interested in ranching should be encouraged and mandated to adhere to relevant laws that govern the setting up of any business enterprise with settlement of necessary dues and observance of due diligence thereto.
“No state or local government in Nigeria should be coerced or arm-twisted into parting with its lands for grazing purposes as ranching is normally a business initiative and should be strictly handled as such.”