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This Day  Mar 14, 2021 Visit Site
Tinubu Speaks on Herders-Farmers Crisis, Says Theyre All Victims
 
 

Tobi Soniyi

One of the national leaders of the All Progressives Congress (AAPC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, spoke for the first time on the lingering herders/farmers crisis, saying the two classes of people were victims of circumstances and therefore needed help.

Tinubu, a presidential hopeful, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to convene a stakeholders security meeting of state governors, senior security officials, herder and farmer representatives, along with traditional rulers and religious leaders to resolve the seemingly intractable herder-farmer crisis.

In a statement personally signed, Tinubu, who had been accused of maintaining an undignified silence on the crisis, canvassed a holistic approach to resolving the crisis.

“The purpose of this meeting would be to hammer out a set of working principles to resolve the crisis”, he said, arguing that, both the farmers and the herders needed help and that to help the herders at the expense of the farmers would not augur well for the country.

“More to the point, those who cast this as exclusively a matter of ethnic confrontation are mistaken. This is no time for reckless chauvinism of any kind, on either side of this dispute. This matter is not ethnic in factual origin or actual causation although in the minds and hearts of too many, it has become ethnic in recrimination and impulsive action,” he said.

“Yet, as vital as security is to the resolution of this matter, we must realise security measures alone will not suffice. Enhanced security may be the necessary first step, but it cannot be the only step. Nor do we resolve this by hitching ourselves to emotional, one-dimensional answers.

More to the point, those who cast this as exclusively a matter of ethnic confrontation are mistaken. This is no time for reckless chauvinism of any kind, on either side of this dispute. This matter is not ethnic in factual origin or actual causation although in the minds and hearts of too many it has become ethnic in recrimination and impulsive action.

“There have been sporadic disputes in the past but this one is more severe. The reasons for the greater violence of this current dispute are myriad. Economic hardship and its resultant dislocation, proliferation of weapons, generalised increase in criminality, and weakening of social institutions all play a role.

Desertification, increased severity and length of the dry season, diminution of water resources, impairment of land fertility and population growth, also contribute in no small measure. Thus, any durable solution must get at most, if not all, of these issues,” he stated.

However, when conflict between these groups arises to such an extent, he said the government must set forth clear principles and policies to remove the tension, in order to allow both to proceed toward their stated goals and to live in harmony and according to their respective rights.

“Just as I cannot go into your house and take your shirt, because I do not have one of like colour, no one can destroy the crops of a farmer or seize the cattle of a herder simply, because such destruction sates their anger or their selfish, short-term interests.

“If such a condition were to hold, then, all would turn into chaos; all would be in jeopardy of being lost. To destroy the crops or seize the property of the innocent farmer or herder is nothing if not an act of criminality,” he pointed out.

To this end, he warned, “careless words cannot shield the herder from relentless reality. Such talk will only delude him into believing that he can somehow escape the inevitable. We do both herder and farmer grave injustice by allowing the herder to continue as he is “ fighting a losing battle against modernity and climate change.”

Tinubu said the country has a decision to make and consequently asked: “Do we attempt the hard things that decency requires of us to right the situation? Or do we allow ourselves to be slave to short term motives that appeal to base instinct that run afoul of the democratic principles upon which this republic is founded and for which so many have already sacrificed so much? In the question itself, lies the answer.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
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