The Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque in Benin City, Alhaji Abdulfatai Enabulele has alleged that ‘killer herdsmen’ in Nigeria have become ruthless and embolden in handling herders-farmers conflicts due to the tacit support for members of the group enjoy from President Muhammadu Buhari who is the Grand Patron of Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria also known as Miyyeti Allah.
Herders-farmers clashes in Nigeria have claimed the lives of over 19,000 people arising from disputes over land resources between mostly Muslim Fulani herders and mostly Christian farmers across Nigeria but more devastating in the Middle Belt (North Central) since the return of democracy in 1999, according to Wikipedia.
Enabuele made the assertion at Edo State Stakeholders Town Hall meeting on the proposed Anti-Open Grazing Law held in Benin City.
He appealed to President not to discriminate against any Nigerian irrespective of his geographical location, ethnic or religious affinity in order to promote unity and national cohesion in the Country.
According to the Muslim Cleric, “The federal government is the problem that we have. Buhari is the cause of the problem that we have. What are we taking about?. The primary responsibility of government is to protect the lives and properties of every Citizens.
“And when you become a Governor or a President, you are supposed to take care of everybody by ensuring that no section of Nigeria is marginalised. Don’t be a sectional leader. Do not say this is not Christian or a Muslim. Think of everybody. When you think of everybody, people will be happy and love you.
“People have being complaining. Right from 2015, these criminals who parade themselves as Cattle herdsmen are ruthless and very embolden because Buhari is the grand Patron of Miyetti Allah, the body that controls Cattle in Nigeria.
“You will recall in 2003, He (Buhari) visited Oyo State when there was crisis between farmers and herders. While he was in Oyo State, he met Oyo State governor, Lam Adesina. Now that you are the president now, you are the father of everybody. If anybody is killed in this Country, the president is responsible because he is the Chief security officer in Nigeria”,
Continuing, Enabulele said, “A lot of people including men and women have been killed by herdsmen. I know of a particular woman at Aviele before Auchi in Etsako West Local Government Area who disappeared on her way to farm. Up till this moment, the family has not seen her again. So many of them like that were killed as if we do not have a government.
“So, what is then the primary purpose of government? So, Buhari should be held responsible for killings by herdsmen”, he advised.
The Cleric who advised leaders in Nigeria to steps in securing the nation, adding that relevant authorities in Edo State should carryout registration of nomadic herdsmen and Cattle breeders in the State.
He further called on the traditional rulers, security agencies in the State to be alive to their responsibilities and charged Livestock owners not to only be concerned about profiteering, but be committed to due diligence in the event of destruction of economic crops by herders.