President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday accused ‘powerful individuals ‘of orchestrating the lingering conflicts between farmers and herders in parts of northern Nigeria.
The president made this comment during a visit to Zamfara State in continuation of his tour of states affected by violence and bloodshed.
In his speech, he stressed the need to review the old arrangement that provided for both cattle ranches and grazing routes.
This is as he directed security agencies to improve their strategies of intelligence gathering, surveillance and accuracy in deployments, to ensure that criminal activities are brought to an end across the country.
Accompanied by Zamfara State governor, Abdul’aziz Yari, during an interactive meeting with political leaders, traditional rulers, elders and victims of criminal attacks in the state, President Buhari, in a statement by his special adviser on media, Femi Adesina, assured all security agencies of improved conditions that would facilitate the arrest of criminals that steal, maim and kill innocent Nigerians.
“As far as I am concerned, our security agencies have recorded some successes, but they need to do much more. They are not to oppress anyone, but they have to gather and send intelligence and warnings when something is about to happen,’’ he said.
The president commended the security agencies for eliminating a dreadful criminal, ‘Buhari General’, who had for many years initiated killings and destruction of properties.
“Before ‘Buharin-daji’ who calls himself a general, there was a criminal who killed many people and he was killed; ‘Buharin–daji’ has followed him and others like them should also follow,’’ he added.
President Buhari urged the security agencies and communities to always work in collaboration, noting that the threats to life and property of Nigerians would be significantly reduced with improved relations among community leaders, citizens and the security agencies.
“I have come here to commiserate with you over the loss of lives and properties. We will continue to do our best to improve the security situation. However, those committing atrocities live with you. Some of these people are not reported because you don’t trust the security outfits, instead you report back to the criminals. We should give priority to security,’’ he said.
The president warned that the ongoing war against corruption would be reinvigorated and sustained until public officers, who abuse their positions, face the wrath of the law.
Buhari told the elders and traditional rulers that properties confiscated by security outfits from some suspected corrupt public officials would be sold after the completion of court procedures.
He urged Nigerians to take advantage of the ongoing reforms in the agricultural sector, pointing that the era of depending on oil will one day come to an end.
On herdsmen attacks, the president said there was a need to revisit and review the old grazing area arrangement that guaranteed harmonious relationship between farmers and herdsmen, where differences were amicably resolved through the law.
On his part, Governor Yari, who is also the chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, said the state government had deployed resources that were initially designated for development into fighting criminal activities.
The governor, who commended the security outfits for working hard to safeguard the state, pleaded with the federal government to improve the funding of operations, increase the number of security men working in the state and reimburse the state for monies spent on some federal government projects, like roads, which he said was a major priority in fighting criminals.
The secretary to the Zamfara State government, Prof Abdullahi Shinkafi, identified the three major criminal challenges facing the state as cattle rustling, armed banditry and kidnap-for-ransom.
Listing eight major flashpoints, Prof Shinkafi disclosed that 1,321 persons had been killed and 1,881 people injured from various attacks since 2011, with about N14 billion spent on fighting the menace.
The traditional rulers, elders and leaders of the affected communities also pleaded with the government to ensure immediate security intervention in order to save lives.
PMB To Receive Released Dapchi Girls Today
…Says Leah Sharibu will not be abandoned
President Muhammadu Buhari will today receive the released girls of Government Science and Technical college Dapchi,Yobe, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that of the 110 Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents about a month ago, 104 of them were freed on Wednesday.
Minister of information, Lai Mohammed, had said the girls were unconditionally released around 3am through back-channel efforts with the help of some friends of the country.
‘’For the release to work, the government had a clear understanding that violence and confrontation would not be the way out as it could endanger the lives of the girls, hence a non-violent approach was the preferred option,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the president has restated his commitment to the release of the only Dapchi schoolgirl still in captivity, Leah Sharibu.
In a statement by his senior special assistant on media, Garba Shehu, President Buhari said his administration would not relent on efforts to bring Miss Sharibu safely back home to her parents as it had done for the other girls.
It was reported that Leah Sharibu was held back by the terrorists after she refused to convert from Christianity to Islam.
According to him , President Buhari is fully conscious of his duty under the constitution to protect all Nigerians, irrespective of faith, ethnic background or geopolitical location and would not shirk this responsibility.
“The president is equally mindful of the fact that true followers of Islam all over the world respect the injunction that there is no compulsion in religion. To this effect, no one or group can impose its religion on another.
“His heart goes out to the isolated parents who must watch others rejoice while their own daughter is still away. The lone Dapchi girl, Leah, will not be abandoned.
“President Buhari assures the Sharibu family that he will continue to do all he can to ensure that they also have cause to rejoice with their daughter soon,” he added.