Abuja – The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) from the 19 Northern states on Thursday gave subtle conditions to the presidency to restore peace and normalcy in the troubled region.
Rev. Yakubu Pam, Chairman, CAN, Northern states, who led a delegation to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to revisit the security architecture of the country with a view to giving it a new lease of life and responsiveness to earn the required trust, confidence, and support of the general populace.
Pam also noted that all communities ravaged by the herdsmen violence in the North should be rebuilt and adequate security put in place to enable displaced persons to return to their homes and means of livelihood.
He advised the Federal Government to roll out a robust advocacy programme to enlighten the nomadic herders on modern cattle rearing against open grazing and roaming across states and national boundaries.
He said the Federal Government should encourage herders to acquire land for cattle ranching across the country as a means of private business investment.
“While the Federal Government under the current administration is celebrating an agricultural revolution, most farmers, especially in the north, can no longer go to their farms due to the sustained attacks by armed herdsmen. We, therefore, urge the government to reconcile its priority by providing the necessary safety for the farmers to go on with their farming activities.
“We observe that the continuous abduction of underage Christian girls who are forcefully converted to Islamic religion and given out for marriage without the consent of their parents breeds religious disharmony.
“We, therefore, wish to state that the situation does not only violate the fundamental human rights of the girls but is also a call to anarchy if such actions were to get an even score by the Christian population. The appeal, therefore, is for your quick intervention to ensure that the numerous girls held under such circumstances are released to their parents.
“In the spirit of the above observation, we wish to demand that intensive and speedy actions should be taken for the release of girls in captivity, especially Leah Sharibu.
“That all perpetrators including the so-call foreigners as alleged of these heinous crimes against humanity in parts of northern states should be arrested and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.
“The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency make adequate provisions for farmers who have been adversely affected by this undesirable herdsmen attacks.
“We are appealing to Mr. President to call on his colleagues in politics irrespective of the political parties to work together and make 2019 election to be free and fair and a model for all other African countries.
“In conclusion, we want to appreciate Mr. President once more for granting us an audience and for your attention. It is our sincere prayers that all will be well with Nigeria under your leadership, Amen!”
Those Linking Me To Herdsmen Killings Are Evil— Buhari
Responding, President Muhammadu Buhari told CAN that he remains baffled that discerning minds for political reasons would link herdsmen killings in the country to him owing to his Fulani ethnic extraction.
Buhari said such allegation was unfair and depicts the extent people would go to malign him. He said it was regretting that killings have continued in the country despite interventions by his administration since 2015.
Making reference to the herdsmen killings in Benue, Plateau and Taraba, Buhari said these killings date back to previous administrations, to an extent that a state of emergency was declared and an administrator appointed to quell the crisis.
“When some, for clearly political purposes, attempt to suggest that this government is doing nothing about the killings, and that I, being Fulani, must be encouraging these satanic acts, it seems to me that there is no limit to the evil in the minds of men.
“Otherwise, how can anyone in their right minds suggest that I, as an elected president even with substantial votes in the affected areas, will for any reason do harm by an act of omission to those same people?
“Secondly, the problems in all these areas, as you all know, are historical. There is no administration that has not had to contend with killings in these same areas over the years.
“Indeed, in 2001, you may recall that after thousands were killed in Plateau State, a state of emergency was declared and a governor was replaced by an administrator.
“To suggest that our administration is doing nothing is terribly unfair.
“We must not forget that the same Plateau State which has been crisis-ridden for years has in the past three years been celebrated for its peacefulness. The governor’s hard work for peace and the presence of the military’s Operation Safe Haven must have had some impacts,” Buhari told the delegation.
Lalong To Sign Amended Bill To Bar Herdsmen Invasion
Meanwhile, Simon Lalong, Plateau State governor, on Thursday, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, where he briefed him of the unfortunate incident that befell the state recently.
He, however, disclosed that a good number of suspects have been arrested in relation to the killings, while the prosecution of such suspects was underway, with a view to bringing them to justice.
Recall that over 200 persons were killed by rampaging herdsmen and villagers who took the law into their hands to avenge infractions on their cattle and farmlands, respectively.
The governor, who condemned the act of occupying sacked villages by invading herders, traumatising the real inhabitants of such communities and making it difficult for them to return to their abodes, revealed that plans were on to sign an amended criminal law to discourage such tendencies.
He made the observations when he fielded questions from State House reporters. He noted that the amended law will be signed next week.
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