By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, Monday asked the leadership of the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to help build the image of President Muhammadu Buhari by exposing the criminal Fulani herdsmen in the country.
Ayokunle gave the charge when he met the representatives of MACBAN led by its National Secretary, Baba Othman Ngadzarna, and Alhaji Sidia Metankari, who came to congratulate him on his re-election and seek for a date for dialogue with the leadership of CAN on the on-going security challenges in the country.
A statement issued by the Special Assistant to the CAN President, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, quoted him as saying that poor leadership is at the root of lingering security problem in the country.
“Our major problem is lack of leadership. We don’t have leadership that builds life but such that destroys life. Nigeria needs a detribalised leader who will pick the best across all divides that will help him to govern the entire nation well,” he said.
Ayokunle said the leadership of CAN was not attacking President Muhammadu Buhari on religious ground but that all it wanted was for the president to show leadership and respond to the yearnings of Nigerians irrespective of their faith, ethnic background and political leaning.
“All we are asking the government for is to be more responsible and responsive to the yearning of the people of Nigeria irrespective of their faith, ethnic background and political leaning. For example government should be able to provide basic amenities for the people as it is being done in other climes and security challenges must be addressed holistically.
“Good governance will surely change the current disturbing narrative. There is no reason why the criminals amidst us should not be brought to book. Now that you have said it is not all herdsmen that belong to MACBAN, then your association should stop justifying the atrocities being perpetrated by those criminals,” he said.
CAN President said that criminal herdsmen were giving the President bad name adding that the only way this can be stopped is by exposing those criminals that are carrying gun around, maiming and killing the innocent people.
“President Buhari is Fulani like you people and the best thing you can do for him is by exposing those criminals. This will make Nigerians not to reject another Fulani man who may want to rule,” he said.
Ayokunle cited few instances where the criminal herdsmen attacked and killed innocent people saying that, “most of those who are angry with the Fulani herdsmen do not just hate them but they have been victims of attacks by suspected criminal herders.”
The CAN President who commended MACBAN for the initiative promised to work with the leadership of the association in the quest for peace and stability of Nigeria.
Other CAN officials present at the occasion include Chairman, North-central, Rev Dr Israel Akanji; the National Treasurer, Bishop Anthony Anyiador; the Co-ordinating Chaplain, National Christian Centre, Bishop Peter Ogunmuyiwa and a few others.
Earlier in his remark, the National Secretary of MACBAN said the delegation came to congratulate Ayokunle on his victory for second term and to seek for a date when leadership of MACBAN can come to hold dialogue with CAN leadership
He told Ayokunle that all the criminals pretending to be herdsmen were not their members. He emphasised the fact that, “Those carrying AK-47 around are cattle rustlers who came from outside the country, capitalising on the porosity of our borders.”
He also disclosed that there was another group of herdsmen who share same name with them adding that they are also registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Ngadzarna further disclosed that the feud between the pastoralists and farmers were as a result of climate change, increase in population, illiteracy, cattle rustling and failure of government to address their needs.
He however noted that until recently, the government did not deem it fit to look into the root cause of the feud, adding that, most of the negative stories making the rounds about MACBAN were fake news.