Amid raging insecurity across the country, Fulani leaders have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, listen to the advice of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on how to restore peace and stability.
They spoke under the aegis of the Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN). Their national chairman, Alhaji Sale Bayari, who spoke with newsmen in Jos, Plateau State yesterday said the Buhari administration ought to listen to other eminent Nigerians in solving the nation's problems, noting that things were not in order in the country.
Bayari said considering the tribal, ethnic, religious and sectional agitations from the south, east, north and west, things must be done urgently to address crucial issues and avert a national crisis . According to him, there is no part of the country where agitations are not currently going on.
The GAFDAN chairman stressed that the crises raging in the northern states like Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto, Taraba, Benue and Nassarawa as well as the agitations in the Niger-Delta by militants, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the south east and Afenifere in the south west constitute a major threat to the survival of the nation.
"In moving the nation forward, the government must listen to some elder statesmen, irrespective of what their political views or affiliation is. Obasanjo is one of them. I have found out that if any government in Africa is to tap one-third of what is in the brain of Obasanjo and use it, Africa will be better.
"Similarly, West Africa and Nigeria will be better for it. Obasanjo knows our problem. And then whenever he talks and explodes sometimes, I have found out that it is because he has made efforts to be listened to without success. He will then feel that posterity will judge him harshly if he does not come out to tell Nigerians and the world the truth of things.
"Undoubtedly, Obasanjo is an embodiment of knowledge, experience and he knows very well the problem of our country, Nigeria. There is nobody, dead or alive, today that thinks the way Obasanjo does or knows what Obasanjo knows. He knows Nigeria, Africa and the entire world like the back of his hand. That is why I am advising this government to tap the brains of people like Obasanjo. He is a person that can lead the government into looking critically at the problem bedeviling the nation and finding a way forward."
According to the GAGDAN boss, the government should also listen to other statesmen like Yakubu Gowon, Ango Abdullahi, Sultan of Sokoto, Oni of Ife and Obi of Onitsha. "These people have this nation at heart and would not want it to disintegrate. If they put their machinery in place, I bet you that peace and progress will be achieved. But unfortunately, nobody is mobilising them or seeking their input in solving the national crises. These people know what to do or the right people to call, among other things in solving the problems."
GAFDAN feared that if the crises across the country were allowed to degenerate, the government would not be able to tackle them."If the nation has been unable to tackle Boko Haram since 2009, then it is a greater danger if crises burst out in other states or regions in the nation.
"Recently, the Secretary of the Government, Boss Mustapha said if the armed banditry was not carefully handled, it would be worse than the Boko Haram insurgency. I totally agree with him because if you look at the way the thing is building up now, you will know what I am talking about.
"Very soon, some religious and insurgent groups may capitalise on it to recruit people for other nefarious acts. We should not allow this to happen, and we should do everything possible to halt it," Bayari cautioned.
Meanwhile, 30 persons have been confirmed killed and 42 others seriously injured when three bombers detonated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Mandarari community of Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State.The Director of Search, Rescue and Operations of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Usman Kachala, who confirmed the killings to newsmen when he visited the scene of the attack yesterday, said the incident occurred around 8:00p.m. on Sunday.
According to Kachala, the three suicide bombers, comprising two females and a male, detonated the IEDs in a local tea joint and a film cenre in the community, killing 17 persons instantly. The death toll increased to 30 on Monday as a result of lack of immediate medical attention.
The SEMA director said that his staff could not reach the spot of the incident as the military had closed the road to traffic and the hospital in Konduga did not have enough facilities to handle the situation."When my team and I arrived at Konduga early this morning, the military prevented us from gaining access to the community to assist the victims. They told us they were given order from above not to open the road until 9:00 a.m.," he lamented.
According to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report, newsmen who later visited the scene of the attacks along with SEMA team said dozens of the wounded victims were seen being conveyed in pick-up vans by their relations to hospitals in Maiduguri, the state capital, a distance of about 80 km from their town.
President Buhari has commiserated with families of the victims of the bomb blasts. In a condolence message sent to the government and people of the state, Buhari yesterday decried the heinous acts, stressing that perpetrators of evil have judgment awaiting them, not only from man, via the long arms of the law, but also from God Almighty.
Besides, in Taraba State, residents of Jauro Sabai, Kasuwan Bera, Jerbanbur and Kona communities, among other villages, in Ardo-Kola Local Government Area that adjoins Jalingo, the state capital, on Sunday night were terrified by indiscriminate shooting by gunmen suspected to be herders.
The Guardian learnt that the situation has forced the people, especially women, children and the elderly ones in the affected areas to flee their homes for safety. Some of the residents said they suddenly started hearing the gunshots all over their communities on Sunday night.
Though security operatives claimed there was no casualty, an eyewitness told The Guardian that some people, especially those who were unable to run away, were "burnt inside their houses." Even though it was observed that normalcy has been restored as angry looking soldiers were seen patrolling the areas, there was palpable tension in the Jalingo metropolis.
But for the timely intervention of the security operatives, especially the soldiers, the attackers would have overrun the communities as well as Jalingo, the eyewitness said.
Confirming the report, the state police command, through its Public Relations Officer (PPRO), David Misal, who could not ascertain if the suspects were herdsmen, said: "Heavily armed bandits on motorcycles invaded Tudiri village via Jauro Yinu ward of Ardo -Kola which is predominantly Fulani and Mumuye settlement and set some houses ablaze. On getting the information, we immediately mobilised patrol teams to the area, but before their arrival, the hoodlums have fled into the bush."
The command said the situation was being closely monitored by the security agencies in a bid to forestall any further breakdown of law and order. At the time of filing this report, some residents were seen moving out of the affected communities en masse.
One of them who spoke to The Guardian, said: "We heard that the herdsmen are regrouping to launch another attack on us tonight. So we are relocating our women and children to Jalingo town for safety.
"Though the police have assured us of adequate protection of our lives and our property, with what we experienced last night, we are fast losing confidence in them. So it is better for us to be proactive because heaven saves those who save themselves."
At the time of filing this report yesterday, the state chapter of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was holding a meeting over the safety of corps members posted to the state, as the orientation camp was said to be just about a kilometer away from the affected communities.
Commenting on the crisis in Taraba, the spokesperson of the scheme in Lagos State, Joyce Madaki, said that whatever concerned the corps members was a national issue and NYSC would give it utmost priority. "NYSC doesn't joke with the safety of corps members. The Taraba incident was unfortunate. Whatever be the situation, the scheme will put things in place for their safety. It will definitely receive well-deserved attention."
Since the posting has been done already and corps members are expected at the camp from today, Madaki explained: "We do not envisage some of these attacks, the postings have been done already, but wherever such is happening, we know security will be put in place for their safety."