Convener of the Eminent Elders Forum (EEF), Prof Echefuna Onyebeadi has advised the Federal Government to desist from its tacit support for open grazing of cattle as such a posture has continued to promote anarchy and chaos across the country.
Onyebeadi who spoke to newsmen in Abuja, said it was baffling that after the Southern Governors Forum had placed a ban on open grazing in the entire Southern Nigeria, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) and the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore have speculaopenly defied the laws duly enacted against the archaic practice in many states.
The Miyetti Allah trade and cultural groups, made up essentially of people of the Fulani extraction, have continuously laid claims to grazing rights for their cattle in any part of Nigeria. Their leaders have appeared on national television countless times to denounce the anti- open grazing laws made by the states.
These groups are widely believed to draw inspiration and support from the highest levels of the Federal Government and security agencies. Onyebeadi, a Fellow of the United Nations, expressed disappointment at the violent activities of the cattle herders and accused the Federal Government of condoning their provocative activities for inexplicable reasons.
He said that under the current circumstances, the herders have become a law unto themselves in Nigeria. “The Federal Government is aware of Miyetti Allah and their activities but does nothing about it. Is Miyetti Allah a government of its own? Is it reasonable to have a government inside a government?
Why would Miyetti Allah be allowed to continue to compromise the security of this country?
“We appeal to the government, particularly President Muhamnadu Buhari, to be father to all. His first promise to this country while being sworn in 2015 was: I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody. Six years down the lane, we are yet to see this promise kept.
“We appeal to this government in the interest of generations unborn, to do everything possible to preserve the integrity of this country. It does not speak well of the government that our security is compromised,” he said.
Onyebeadi also expressed dismay at the activities of the bandits who have, in recent weeks, invaded some military formations, killed military officers and took over their armaments.
According to him, it was unbelievable that these things were happening to the same military that had performed excellently in Congo in the 1960s and led ECOMOG to restore peace in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1990s.