Controversy Rages Over The N100 Billion Offered To Fulani Herdsmen To Stop Their Armed Attacks For A Period Of Two Years By The Federal Government

The Federal Government of Nigeria has shown a new way to curb terrorism and armed militia in Nigeria, and that is by negotiating and even offering them Billions of Naira, in exchange for peace.

This happened last week, when a delegation led by the Minister of Interior, Abdul-Rahman Dambazau, met with MACBAN leaders. The sole aim of the closed-door meeting, which lasted for over five hours, was to negotiate peace and a stop to herdsmen/Fulani banditry. According to NAN, the negotiation dragged and finally ended with a monetary compensation of N100 Billion to the herdsmen.

According to information available to WakeUpAfrica360, the Federal Government has been taking steps to tackle insecurity and clashes between herdsmen and farmers, to no avail. To the extent that the ECOWAS Commission hosted a conference on the clashes, where issues were discussed and a national action plan on security challenges and solutions were presented to the commission for consideration.

The Minister of Interior, who addressed newsmen after the meeting said “MACBAN had initially said it would take nothing less than N160 Billion for a stop to the clashes. That is the main reason we have come to Kebbi State, to dialogue with leaders of herdsmen as part of the process,’’ Danbazzau said.

The Acting Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Muhammad Adamu, who gave a grim picture of the havoc being wrecked on Nigerans by the herdsmen few days ago was also present at the negotiations. Adamu had stated that over one thousand people had been killed and a lot more kidnapped, “The criminals have infiltrated the crisis, and we should cooperate and deal decisively with the culprits, hence we called for this interaction. Those criminals that are beyond redemption, will be dealt with and brought to book,”.

While the Zamfara State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, said that hosting the meeting in his state “shows the seriousness of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in tackling the security challenges in the country. This is the first of its kind in the history of this country, for the President to direct his security aides to interact with an aggrieved party to air its views.

This meeting will serve as a foundation for peace between the Fulani herdsmen and farmers; and among the Fulanis themselves,” Kiruwa said.

Other members of the Federal Government delegation at the meeting include: Alh. Yusuf Bichi, Director-General (D-G) Department of State Security Services, Alh Ahmed Rufa’I, D-G, National Intelligence Agency; among others.

However, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has described the meeting cum negotiation as a constitutional crime and an unmitigated evil tantamount to an impeachable offence. According to them the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari administration to go into dialogue in Zamfara State with armed Fulani militia and bandits, is an alleged plan to appease ‘these mass murders’ with the whooping sum of N100 Billion from tax payers, under the guise of setting up cattle ranches for their totally privately-owned businesses.

The group also carpeted the Acting Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Adamu Mohammed, for happily announcing the ‘truce’ reached in Zamfara between the Federal Government’s delegation, which was largely made up of Hausa/Fulani Muslim dominated internal security team of the current administration, and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association- a group that supports the activities of armed Fulani Herdsmen. They expressed their disappointment that a chief law enforcement officer of the country can descend so low and beg persons suspected of carrying out armed banditry and attacks across Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, Katsina, to stop attacking Nigerians, when it is the constitutional obligation of the Nigeria Police Force to enforce law and order, and bring all criminal suspects to face the legal consequences of their crimes against humanity and against the Nigerian State.

HURIWA in their statement said that the only reason why the current administration could enter into dialogue with armed bandits is because the offenders share the same Ethno-religious affiliations with the holders of the top security portfolios, who make up the exclusive Hausa/Fulani dominated Internal security architecture. “The members of the current national security team are made up of mostly one ethnicity and persons of one religious affiliations, same with the armed Fulani herdsmen and bandits, have always made decisions that reflects their biasness and inclination to pamper and protect these armed bandits, who ought to be dealt a heavy blow in line with the constitutional provisions”.

“The other time the Minister of Defense, who is from Zamfara State neither condemned nor ordered the arrest and prosecution of armed Fulani herdsmen unleashing mayhem and violence in Benue state, instead he tried to provide some kind of justification for these dare devil, blood cuddling attacks on Benue communities, by blaming the properly passed state legislation banning open grazing of cattle, which was the core of the bloodshed.

“The Minister of Interior, who is a Fulani Muslim has on many occasions belittled the gravity of the armed Fulani violent attacks and dismissed it not as a terror campaign, but as a mere law and order issue which the police can handle. These members of the internal security team including Mr. President, have openly made statements that are obviously ambiguous and have failed to decisively treat these attacks by armed bandits and armed Fulani as a major national security challenge”.

“This is why there is the urgency of the now for President Buhari to obey the constitution and appoint persons of diverse ethno-religious affiliations, to make up the national security team and professionally and clinically tackle the rising waves of insecurity and national paralysis. As a group of committed patriots, we are shocked to read that this government has entered a communion of the devil with the armed bandits and armed Fulani herdsmen, who have wreaked havoc and unleashed devastation across many communities in Nigeria. Why do we have laws and why do we have institutions of law enforcement? This shameful piece of bad news of seeking to bribe outlaws and terrorists by this government must be seen for what it is. It is treason that must be seen as an immediate impeachable offence. All those who communicated with bandits and outlaws must be arrested and prosecuted for high treason, because the laws must not be a respecter of any person.”

Herdsmen have been on rampage since 2015 at the ascension of Mr Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s President, pillaging, sacking, raping and kidnapping for ransom, and killing. These activities have made major national roads especially in the North West impassable. The herdsmen have also attacked and killed people in villages and farms in Benue, Zamfara, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kaduna, Enugu, Imo, Cross River, Edo, Delta, Abia, Kwara, Taraba, Osun, Ondo, Sokoto and others. The killings has led to the group being described as the fourth most dangerous and deadly terrorist group in the world by the World Terrorist Index.

OUR POSITION

What we don’t understand is why financial compensation has to be made to the herdsmen. They are not the only ones who lost their properties, the villages they rampaged lost properties and lives as well. Will the federal government also visit those states and communities and reward them? If the government fails to do this, and only compensates the herdsmen, then we would believe this is a further encouragement of terrorism in disguise.

Secondly, we wait also see if the Federal Government will offer such huge amounts to the aggrieved Niger-Delta militia in the South.

Nigeria, we hail thee!

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