Nigeria: President's Body Language Encouraging Killer Herdsmen, Says Group

19 June 2021

Asaba — The League of Professionals for Strategic Advocacy has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of fueling the persistent attacks and killing being penetrated by Fulani cattle herders in parts of the country through the president's utterances and body language.

The group said that Buhari's directive to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to restore so-called grazing routes in a 1960s gazette was a deliberate attempt to encourage the herders disobey the ban on open grazing in the 17 announced by Southern governors forum last month.

The group said in a media statement, made available to THISDAY in Asaba on Thursday, that President Buhari, by his recent action and public statements, was determined to continue to encourage the widespread attacks, killing and destruction by the herdsmen.

"After reviewing the interview President Muhammadu Buhari granted Arise TV and broadcast on June 10, 2021, the League of Professionals for Strategic Advocacy has come to the conclusion that the president is unequivocally committed to enabling the streak of attacks on peaceful farmers and farming communities by Fulani cattle herders.", the group stated in a press release issued in Asaba.

The statement, signed by Pince Obaro Unuafe (Convener), Pius Mordi (Chairman) and Fred Akpewe, (Secretary), said, "At a time that all stakeholders in the Nigerian project, especially Northern Governors and the Arewa Consultative Forum, had welcomed the decision by Southern Governors to ban open grazing of cattle, the President chose to torpedo what was supposed to be an enduring resolution of the herders' attacks.

"In the said interview, President Buhari vainly sought to describe the killer herders as foreigners, while their local counterparts wield only sticks and machetes. With no action taken by him to arrest the so-called foreign killer-herders despite the hundreds of lives lost in the attacks with many communities displaced, President Buhari 'assured that we are trying to resuscitate these cattle routes, grazing areas and make them accountable.'

"Apparently taking a cue from their mentor and Nigeria's president, elements of the killer Fulani cattle herders a few days ago threatened to unleash their killers on Delta State with Asaba and Agbor as their start-off points if Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of the state, does not withdraw his support for the ban on open grazing within 72 hours.

"Their targeting Dr. Okowa and Delta State is a direct reference to the fact that the governor hosted his 16 southern colleagues at the May 11, 2021 meeting in Asaba where crucial decisions were taken to stabilise the country."

The group lamented that the payment, who had earlier derided the 17 southern governors through his Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Malami, "for proposing measures to protect their people", told the world that he had also directed Malami to dig up the so-called gazette that reserved grazing routes across Nigeria.

"We urge all Nigerians, especially those in the southern part of the country, to be mindful of the fact that we are contending with a leadership that is largely suspect in its claim to fight the attacks by Fulani militants. It is imperative that all the southern states that are yet to give legal teeth to the ban on open grazing should expedite the process of getting their state Houses of Assembly to pass the bill", the group further said.

They equally accused Abubakar Malami of shirking his duty of guiding Buhari on the path of respecting the constitution.

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