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Herdsmen carry arms for self-defence – Fulani group to Obasanjo

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Nigeria’s National Association of Development Gan Allah Fulani, Sali Bayari, explained that herdsmen carry weapons to “have a balance of terror”.

Bayari complained that security chiefs and the government did not pay attention to clashes between pastors and farmers before the situation got worse.

Bayari stated this on Saturday meeting former president Olusegun Obasanjo at his residence at the Olusegun Obasanjo presidential library, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

GAFDAN stressed the need for the government and Nigerians to come together to find a solution to the clashes between pastors and farmers.

He said, “The issue has gone beyond herdsmen/farmers crisis; it has led to kidnapping and banditry and if we are not careful, it may lead to a kind of jihadist/ militant group and that is what we fear.

“We wrote several letters to the authorities even to the security chiefs, but we don’t get any response.

“There are times we begin to wonder whether the security chiefs are more interested in the crisis than in peace.

“We also discovered that there are some people who don’t want peace in this country. We think they have various reasons or a particular interest that is making them not to want peace to reign in the country.

“If all your efforts toward achieving peace would be destroyed by those who are supposed to give you peace, then you begin to look for another means and that is what led to people (herdsmen) arming themselves to have balance of terror.”

The Fulani leader, however, commended the former president for facilitating the meeting to deliberate on how to tackle the security challenges.

He added, “If we had another father like Obsanjo in all the regions, maybe we will not be in this mess. What has brought us into this sorry state is the fact that when a problem starts, the leaders are not always concerned until it gets to the level of self-help.

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“The problem we have in this country is that our leaders do not read and therefore not informed and that is why Obasanjo is different. He has made efforts more than those in government.”

In his response, Obasanjo urged everybody to be involved in the fight against insecurity.

Obasanjo also advised Nigerians to stop the blame game and come together to fight the menace of kidnapping, banditry, among other social vices currently threatening the country’s unity.

Speaking about the meeting, Obasanjo said it became imperative to meet with the Fulani leaders in the South-West.

The former president explained that the meeting was to deliberate and come up with resolutions that could strengthen the unity of the country.

Obasanjo added, “How to move Nigeria forward irrespective of our religion, ethnicity, training, profession, among others is all came here to discuss.

“There is nobody here who could do all these for us, it is the responsibility of you and me.

“It is not a one man’s job; it is the job for all Nigerians and it is until we see it that way that we can now move forward.

“We should stop passing blame, everybody is involved and everybody should all take the responsibility to correct what is wrong and make it right.”

Also present at the meeting was the spokesperson of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin and representatives of the Fulani groups across the 36 states.