The Coalition of Pastoralists Association in Nigeria, (COPAN) has frowned at the recent attacks of its communities by armed men and bandits across the country, accusing the outgoing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari of failing them on all fronts. This is coming after the recent attacks on pastoralists communities in Oyo, Benue, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Gombe and Niger States in the space of One month.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, the herders claimed that Buhari as a cattle breeder himself ought to have brought cattle breeders and farmers together with a view to finding amicable solution to the persistent conflicts that had led to loss of several lives in virtually all states of the federation. Besides, COPAN lamented that the president could not secure their lives and properties throughout his tenure, adding that they are being killed daily and their cows rustled but the security agencies hardly come to their rescue.
“You see, whether we are happy he’s going or not, one thing is clear. It is on record that after eight years of his (Buhari) administration, over N500 billion was spent on agronomy nothing was spent on livestock farmsteads. “And we have never had it so bad like when Buhari is in government. “This is the worst era for the Nigerian Pastoralists – we’ve never had it so bad like this time”, Spokesperson of the coalition, Baba Ngelzarma stated.
According to the coalition, over 400 people including women and children have been killed since October last year till date, by murderous gang of illegal militia disguised as vigilante group. COPAN, in addition, called on the federal government to set a mechanism of resettling the victims of the attacks urgently to ameliorate their suffering. The spokesperson further advice elected officials at all levels of government to be responsive to anything that will escalate insecurity in the country.
The Vice President, Tabital Pulaaku International Nigeria Chapter, Dr. Salim Musa who also spoke at the forum demanded that the incoming President should look into activities of security agents in charge of volatile areas and mandate them to do more in protecting innocent people, who are continuously harassed by the activities of those described as criminal vigilante and bandits. Besides, they called on the security agencies to identify, arrest and prosecute all those involved to serve as a deterrent to other criminally minded individuals.
Responding to questions, Alh. Auwal Gonga urged the incoming President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to establish the Federal Ministry of Pastoralist Affairs to manage issues around this aspect of the economy in line with global best practice as obtainable in most neighbouring countries and other ECOWAS member countries. The ministry he said will be charged with the responsibility of harmonizing and managing the affairs of both farmers and Pastoralists, instead of leaving it in the hands of security agencies who he said have shown themselves to be biased.