Lawmaker urges UN, AU, others to intervene in Adamawa crisis
Shola Oyeyipo in Lagos with agency report
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday visited several villages and towns in Adamawa State affected by recent communal violence which led to the killing of several persons and destruction of property.
Among the places the VP visited were Numan and Dong, but Osinbajo and his team were surprised to find that Kikan, another affected community, had been deserted by its residents.
Since the visit was designed to condole the victims of the clashes and offer government’s assurances of safeguarding them against future violence, the delegation, therefore, asked for a follow-up meeting with the community’s leadership at the earliest opportunity.
Osinbajo, at every place visited, urged those in leadership positions in the country to lead the people out of the cycle of violence into prosperity and development.
The clashes claimed scores of lives and injured many others, as the attackers destroyed houses in the affected villages.
The vice president, who visited the affected communities in the state on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, emphasised that it was the responsibility of all categories of leadership to solve problems and offer prosperity to the people.
“Our country is at a point in its history where we all need to join hands to make sure that all we are concerned with is to provide food, shelter, good livelihood for our people; that is our primary aim now. This is the time to come together to make progress as a people.
“There is no reason why we should allow so much poverty, and what we are doing is fighting, killing each other. Our role should be to provide security, to provide resources for people so that everyone can enjoy their lives as citizens of this country.
“Nobody can benefit from killing or the loss of lives. Everyone who is a leader, if all that we are thinking about is, ‘something has gone wrong, let us just wait until another thing happens’, then we are not true leaders; that’s not leadership. Anybody can fight, anybody can kill; only true leaders can bring people together and make progress. Anybody who says, ‘I am a leader’, but is just encouraging continuous fighting, and cannot find a solution, has lost the right to leadership.
“As leaders, our duty is to lead the people towards prosperity and development. That is the kind of leadership we must provide. If we don’t provide that, then we have lost our rights to be leaders.”
The vice president condoled with victims of the attacks and assured them of the federal government’s resolve to ensure that perpetrators of violence are dealt with according to the law. He further said the federal government would find a lasting solution to the crisis, and called on all parties to embrace peace and dialogue.
“It is a very sad occasion, and I’m here at the behest of Mr. President first to commiserate with the people of Adamawa State and to express sincere condolences to the families who have lost their lives, and to those who have lost their homes, their property and means of livelihood.
“We are here to seek definite and permanent solution to the problems that have arisen here,” Osinbajo said.
The Vice President was received on arrival at the Yola airport by Adamawa State Governor, Jubrilla Bindow.
While in Adamawa, Osinbajo also met with the Lamido Adamawa, Dr. Barkindo Aliyu Musdafa, and other community chiefs, including the Hamma Bachama, Honest Irmiya Stephen; and Hamma Bata, Chief Alhamdu Teneke, in Numan LGA.
The vice president was accompanied by the FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, the Adamawa South Senator, Ahmad Abubakar, and the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu.
Meanwhile, International organisations, including the United Nations, Amnesty International (AI), Greenpeace, African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have been urged to wade into the humanitarian and food crisis rocking communities recently attacked by herdsmen in Adamawa State.
Making the call yesterday during an interview with journalists in Lagos, former Speaker of the state House of Assembly and member of the House of Representatives, Hon Kwamoti Laori, said international observers need first hand assessment of the situation in the affected areas.
Particularly disturbed by bomb attacks on the affected communities by the Nigerian Air Force, Laori said: “Following the killings and destruction of houses and farms, there is humanitarian and food crisis which without credible international bodies, we are not confident that the federal government will ensure that food is delivered to the people.
“The solution to what has happened is nothing less than justice, and you cannot rely only on the Nigerian government to bring the justice on the people. So, we implore Amnesty International, Greenpeace-because our environment is being destroyed-UN, AU and ECOWAS to send observers to come and see the level of devastation. We want the place to be declared as an emergency areas.”
Narrating the ordeals of his people in the hands of the killer herdsmen, Laori said:
“Unfortunately, I lost two of my uncles in this incident that happened. We have very arable land and the grazers used to come here. We have been co-existing peacefully, but the problem is with these people crisscrossing the area. They move with impunity and get away with it.
“There is no week that passes without them violating the women. In some cases, they go to people’s farm and tell the people to leave and when you report the matter, nothing will be done. There have been many reports without arrest.
“The people who were angered by the acts went after the killers and retaliated, an action we condemned, but there were so many unguided statements indicating that these people will come back and take revenge and the government still did nothing.
“The people eventually came last Monday, destroying houses and killing people. The people ran away and returned to counter their attackers numbering over 200, but before we knew it, Air Force aircraft came and dropped bomb on our people.”