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Terrorists Posing As Herdsmen Are Threat To National Stability – President Jonathan

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President Goodluck Jonathan has warned that terrorists are introducing a new dimension to their attacks by masquerading as pastoralists in order to inflict maximum damage to the peace, stability and security of the country.

Jonathan, who was represented by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, raised this alarm yesterday in Kaduna at the International Conference on Security and Development Challenges of Pastoralism in West and Central Africa under the theme: “The Role of Pastoralist for Sustainable Peace and National Security,” organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

He said the insurgents are hiding under the umbrella of the Fulani herdsmen to exploit the conflict between the pastoralists and farmers in Nigeria to propagate their terrorist activities.

According to him, the intensity and dimension of the conflict over the last few years had reached an alarming proportion with the attendant and unfortunate loss of lives and properties.

He said: “This conflict unfortunately has been predominant in Plateau, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue and some other states in Northern Nigeria are also exposed to these challenges. Some challenges has also been reported in some Southern part of the country.

“The state of conflict continue to pose serious threat to nation’s security, stability and economic development. We are all aware of the threats posed to nation by the activities of insurgents.

“Terrorists capitalises on the lingering pastoralists- farmers conflict to form a hybrid type of insurgency whereby they masquerade as pastoralist to wage war against the state”.

Fortunately, he noted, this objective is yet to be fully realised owing to the resilience of the pastoralist.

The president further warned that “such a development should it be materialised will be at a great cost to our country.”

In order to avoid such ugly reality in the country, he called “all stakeholders, community leaders, religious leaders, youth groups must continue to promote the course of peace rather than resort to conflict and violence, which serves no useful purpose.

“It is therefore pertinent to state that issues affecting pastoralists, especially pertaining to the current clashes with farmers is holistically reversed.”

In the same vein, the Governor of Niger State and Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, has branded people with extremist ethno-religious views as members of the Boko Haram group, saying that Islam as a religion emphasis moderation.

Aliyu clarified that Boko Haram was un-Islamic and must be condemned, adding that the right Jihad in this 21st century was the one that improves the standard of living rather than those that seek to destroy lives.

He stated: “Boko Haram is un-Islamic. It is not Muslim and you must fight Boko Haram even in your houses. In fact, I consider anybody who is an extremist as Boko Haram.

“Islam is about moderation and not extremism. Jihad is about how to make peace and life better, not on how to kill people.”

Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, lamented that pastoralism, which had  over the years been a seasonal and mutually beneficial to traditional livestock management and production system that worked well between Fulani herdsmen and local farmers had become a conduit to security threat.
According to Adesina, pastoralism was today a worrisome practice characterised by incessant clashes of unimaginable proportions usually resulting in huge losses of lives and property.

He said previous interventions to curb pastoralists-farmers clash had been largely unsuccessful, because of growing foreign dimension to the conflict.

The minister noted that there had been reports of some of these foreign migrant pastoralists carrying dangerous weapons and assault rifles.

He said: “This is not the usual pastoralists that we know in Nigeria, who for decades have lived in harmony with their communities. criminality has increased especially with the menace of cattle rustling.

“The issue is no longer an agriculture problem. It is a national security problem and we need an integrated set of solutions that includes agriculture and security.

“We must face these challenges squarely, be frank and realistic in our solutions. One thing is clear: the status quo of unbounded pastoralism can no longer continue. These solutions can no longer be just national,” he added.

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