A former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd), has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari to find a permanent solution to the recurring clashes between herdsmen and farmers, and killings in the country.
He said this when the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, visited Osun State to inaugurate projects at Kuta and Asamu.
Akinrinade warned that not putting an end to the killing of farmers in the country may lead to famine.
He said, “We are regaled every day with blood-chilling stories of killings and pillaging of villages, sometimes towns in the north and central parts of Nigeria, and of recent talks of impending massacres and intensification of kidnapping coming our way in the Southern States and the main protagonists of the disturbance is the Fulani herdsmen.
“Sometimes, we are told that they are Fulani mercenaries from outside Nigeria being sponsored by our Nigerian brothers. The situation is so daring, that in collaboration with unexpected bad weather this year, a famine is imminent. We hear we are already borrowing grains from the ECOWAS countries, the immediate result of farmers being forced to abandon their farms.
“I suggest to him to read the riot act to the Fulani herdsmen, that it is not acceptable for any foreigner by whatever name called to enter our country illegally and molest our people. They are not welcome. We should not, by mistake of omission or commission allow our people to degenerate to self-help. It is a sure road to anarchy and perdition, which will not go away.”
He also warned against nepotism and ethnicity in the fight against insurgency and kidnapping in the country.
Akinrinade added, “The first is this pervasive belief that he is an ethnic bigot, an irredeemable religious fundamentalist, that he firmly subscribes and promotes the possibility of his ethnic Fulani to take over the country, the reason he does not interfere in curbing the brigandage of the Fulani herdsmen, that he has performed woefully in the fight against the terrorist Boko Haram and that he cannot rise to the occasion when it comes to reflecting the heterogeneous composition of our country when it comes to appointments to sensitive positions in his government.
“These are difficult matters that cannot be addressed in the abstract. The whole buck stops on his table. Let me suggest to him that he needs to shape up, read the riot act to our people, enlist them in unswerving cooperation to participate fully in the redemption of their country. Arms and brutal force is not sufficient to defeat an insurgency.”
He also suggested the restructuring of the country, saying that “What we simply term as reorganization in the Armed Forces is what the bloody civilians call restructuring. It is long overdue and over flogged, as if it is such an impossibility, an attempt at which, will balkanise the country.
“As a matter of fact, it is what is required to move our country out of the doldrums into modernity. He cannot afford to pass it on. We may end up without a country, as no country has been known to survive two civil wars.”