…Warns Political Office Holders Against Politicizing Conflict
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Former Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairmam, Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation (SABMF), Justice Mamman Nasir, has said the herdsmen/farmers conflict is a serious problem bedeviling the nation and needed urgent attention
He therefore warned political office holders to desist from politicizing same.
He stated this in his opening address at a 2-day roundtable on peace and security in the north with emphasis on sustainable solution to herders/farmers clashes and rural banditry held in Kaduna on Monday.
According to him, the insincerity of political office holders to address the issue has led to its escalation. He expressed dismay that some of the politicians are taking advantage of the situation to score cheap political points.
Justice Nasir said the north for long has been an agrarian society where farmers and herdsmen lived in peaceful coexistence, so he wondered why the recent rancor which has resulted to loss of lives and property.
In his remarks, the former Governor of Kano state who is the Secretary Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Dr. Ibrahim Shekarau, said the herdsmen/farmers conflict is as a result of suspicion among the groups who hitherto lived as neighbours.
He said the task of the roundtable discussion is to identify factors responsible for the suspicions; noting that the conflict is being used as political tool while some are trying to turn it to a religious conflict.
He warned that if not check the herdsmen/farmers conflict will have a devastating effect on economic and security of the country.
“You can see in some communities it has degenerated into tribal, and very soon some people will make it look like religion, sectional. and therefore it is a problem of the country.
“So the earlier we address this issue the better for us. Part of the guidelines of this roundtable is non-political and nonpartisan. We will not allow anybody to politicize this matter. It is a matter of life and death. People are losing lives and property are being lost, so which politics are you playing?.
“Even if you want to come and govern, if the people are dying and their property are burnt, who are you coming to govern? So this issue is very important to us. It can affect the economy. If there is no peace there can’t be peaceful buying and selling; and then poverty will increase,” he emphasized.
Speaking on the need for the roundtable, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, SABMF, Dr. Shettima Aji Ali, said it is clear that no social or economic development will consolidate under the persisting insecurity in the region.
“Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation considers it timely to deepen the search for sustainable peace and security by continuing the dialogue through a stakeholders’ roundtable to discuss all the issues, perceived and experienced, real and imagined.
“Participants in the roundtable are drawn from a cross-sectiom of the concerned parties, the farmers and herders, traditional and religious institutions, the youth and the security and state governments.
“The Foundation’s objectives among other things are to foster unity and peace in Nigeria, particularly in the Northerly States where the level of diversity in tribe and religion require tact and understanding for tranquillity to prevail and development to take root.
“The Foundation has used different forms of intervention programmes aimed at tackling some of the underlying issues affecting the development of the region including education, poverty, and agriculture,” he said.