Repatriate killer herdsmen, Jang tells government


• Insists attackers not Nigerians, opposes cattle colonies
• Catholic Church seeks immediate halt of terror, others

The senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, Jonah David Jang, has challenged the Federal Government to be courageous in repatriating the killer nomads, saying “every country must be ready to accommodate its herdsmen without using ECOWAS free movement to start throwing their own problems to our country. That is unacceptable!”

Jang, who was a two-term governor of the state, spoke yesterday in Jos in the wake of killings in parts of the federation.

He said: “Government has to take some drastic actions. These people are not Nigerians. They are coming from somewhere. I am now over 70 years, and I didn’t see this kind of Fulani herdsmen when I was growing up. The Nigerian herdsmen I used to know carried sticks to control their cows, not sophisticated guns to kill people at will.

“So, I believe that these people are not really herdsmen. They are coming to accomplish a purpose, which is to occupy lands. And unfortunately, the present administration doesn’t seem to be up and doing about it, and it gives me a lot of suspicion.

“We used to have a way of settling our differences with the Fulani men that lived among us in the past without even going to court. But these ones that are carrying guns and killing people should never be allowed to be part of Nigeria. They should be sent back to where they came from.”

Suspecting conspiracy in the entire process, Jang said somebody must have directed them to certain target states. “You will agree with me that the geopolitical areas that they are now operating are not even border areas. Somebody must have been giving them access from the border into the hinterlands. And when they are even arrested, these same people ensure that they disappear into thin air,” added.

On cattle colonies, the senator stated: “We were colonised by the British in the past. We cannot be colonised by herdsmen again. Cattle rearing is a type of farming and must not be given such priority over other farmers. The herders should be made to buy lands to ranch their cattle, and not government providing same for them.”

Meanwhile, relief and development organs of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Caritas Nigeria and Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), have appealed to the Federal Government to immediate halt the reign of terror in the country.

In a statement yesterday in Calabar by their National Director, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, after a “Conference Call with Diocesan Directors”, both organs said they were “shocked that human life is gradually becoming statistics of deaths in Nigeria. The nation is fast becoming a violent desert with cesspools of blood as oases scattered in the North East, North Central, South East, South South and South West.

“In the name of our common humanity and the God we all serve, this must stop.  Life is a precious gift of God and we must be careful not to raise a generation that gets used to devaluing human life and sees violent death as a regular feature of life.”

They went on: “Whatever the root causes of this violence, a more fundamental cause is the security architecture which is susceptible to defeat by groups and individuals who have now become shareholders of the instruments of violence, as the state has virtually lost its monopoly and weakened its capacity.

“Nigeria must stop playing politics with security of lives and property and adopt strategies that would facilitate the well-being of all and not just a few powerful individuals or groups with the immunity to kill and immunity from arrest and prosecution whether as kidnappers, herdsmen, terrorists or militants.”

The church further said: “States that have accepted to establish multiple ranches or colonies should therefore accelerate the implementation so that nomadic herdsmen could have places where they would breed their herds. We advise government to grant loans to private enterprises or state governments who want to establish these multiple ranches and put measures in place where it is transparent to everyone that these monies would be recovered from taxes and charges.”

The groups also advocated for the devolution of more powers to the states as it “will ensure that internal migrants who are welcome to local communities do not usurp local chieftaincies, even if they turn out to be in the majority. The National Assembly could promote legislation that guarantees the chieftaincies of local populations against the usurpation of migrants. However, political representation could be open to all.”

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