Former Lagos state Governor, Bola Tinubu, has finally spoken on herdsmen killings nationwide.
Tinubu, in a paper he delivered at the Daily Trust dialogue, urged government to establish a relief and rehabilitation program for families and communities that have been so grievously harmed.
Represented by a former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State, Olawale Edun, Tinubu specifically lamented the “terrible killings” that have occurred in Benue and Taraba states.
He said “It is important that we place the current crisis in proper context. No one should pretend that this evil just suddenly appeared from nowhere. We have been living and dying with this lethal situation for many years.
In years past, there have been herdsmen attacks smaller than this. There also have been attacks larger than this.
The current hue and cry against these killings is hopefully a sign that we are maturing as a nation. That we shall no longer countenance the wanton destruction of human lives no matter the religion, ethnicity or origin of the victims or the villains. If so, maybe this nation is coming of age and none too soon.
As such, this outcry is as welcome as it is overdue. We should have been agitating in this manner 5, 10, 15 years ago. Lives would have been saved. For reasons I cannot completely fathom we have come late to the point of strong, collective outrage at this bloodletting. Yet, all in all, late is better than never in this regard.
This spirit of compassion and care must be enshrined in our political culture because it is integral to national greatness and democratic progress. True patriotism requires that you love more than the concept of Nigeria. You must love the people who comprise this nation, whether they worship in a church, mosque, and shrine or not at all.
Over the course of history, nations have faced crises more crimson than this. Through wise policy, many nations emerged from the thicket better situated to realize their better destiny.
These nations and their people are no better than us. We can and we must do the same thing.
Against this backdrop we must take prudent action. It is incumbent on the federal government to do what past governments neglected to do. We must forget our age-old prejudices in order to resolve this problem. What we need is serious committed action.
At its essence, this crisis was not born of religious or ethnic hatred. It is about a shrinking amount of grass and water.
In recent years the desert has expanded, consuming land once used to graze livestock. This pushed cattle herders farther and farther south to collide with the farmers who were there.
Ecological peril spawned economic conflict which descended into violence.
This violence has taken on religious, ethnic and regional consequences because of the identities of the parties involved. This tragic episode tolls a caution to us all.
Left to fester, this problem expanded to assume dimensions that now tremors the body politic.
This is what too often happens when dire problems are left unattended. Now, the current administration is moving to arrest the lethal situation.
I welcome the deployment of more law enforcement and military into the troubled areasThese security measures will stem the immediate violence and loss of life.
As we commend these security measures, we must not lose sight of the fact that the problem bears an economic origin. Thus, agro-economic policy initiatives must help shape the lasting solution.
The crux of the matter is that the nomadic way of life is fast becoming obsolete. Large scale nomadic practice does not belong in this day and age. This is reality and it is inescapable.
Thus, herders have no right to cling to this way of life by killing others. Government must stop their violence but also offer them a viable new way of life by moving them toward more modern, non-nomadic cattle rearing.
To resolve this lethal problem, government must implement a multi-dimensional policy that encompasses security, agro-economic, educational and emergency relief elements. This is the art and mastery of governance that our nation and its complex problems require.
In addition to mending this rupture of peace, I believe those who seek to enshrine good governance must boldly act to improve the quality of life of the people.”