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Quelling the rage of mobile terrorists

Published by The Nation on Wed, 24 Feb 2021

By Femi OluwasanmiSIR: Events across the country in the recent times especially, the increase in the numbers of terrorists masquerading as herders in dispensing their nefarious operation have shown clearly that open grazing in cattle business is no longer fashionable. Unfortunately, those entrusted with the responsibility to protect lives and property seems not to have recognized this fact with their continuous polarization of the issue along ethnic and religious divides.While excoriating the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, for banning open grazing, and some governors in the Southwest for speaking out against the killer herdsmen, Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed on February 11, said: The West doesnt want to accommodate other tribes (sic) but we are accommodating your tribe in Bauchi. We have Yorubas who have stayed in Bauchi for over 150 years. Some of them have been made permanent secretaries in Gombe, Bauchi and Borno but because the Fulani man is practicing the tradition of pastoralism, he has been exposed to cattle rustlers who carry a gun, kill him and take away his cows: he has no option but to carry AK 47 because the government and the society are not protecting him.This is not the first time the governor will openly voice such sentiments. He did the same thing in 2019 when he described the Fulani as global citizen that can leave the neighbouring countries and partake in Nigerias livestock reform. However, the level at which it has degenerated is what is of concern to most lovers of peace and prosperity in Nigeria because without objectivity and justice, finding lasting solution to the issue will be difficult.One of the reasons the country is moving from one crisis to another is the lack of objectivity in addressing the issue.Lately, Sheik Ahmed Gumi, the popular Islamic cleric has been reported as advocating for blanket amnesty for the bandits. He tried to justify the call for amnesty by saying that the bandits carry arms because their members were killed by vigilante groups, something that further buttresses the fact that they are criminals. After all, it is only a criminal that will confront a vigilante groups with arms.They started by confronting the vigilantes; they have since graduated to fighting the Police, and now the soldiers, abducting children in order to collect more money to buy arms and increase their membership and networks.The agenda of most of the terrorists in the world is to kill, destroy and create an empire where outlawry reigns. That is why the federal government, National Assembly, state Houses of Assembly and other stakeholders need to lay down their ego and ambition on the altar of collective security and support the struggle to prohibit open grazing to give room for ranching system so that those mobile terrorists masquerading as herders will not create an atmosphere that will lead everyone to the journey of no return.Femi Oluwasanmi, Ibafo, Ogun State.
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