…keeps mum on Twitter ban
…says fighting corruption difficult; IPOB going nowhere
…asks Malami to recover land for open grazing
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday flayed governors for being idle and abdicating their responsibilities in protecting the lives and property of citizens in their states. This is as the President said majority of those killing and wreaking havoc across the country are foreigners and not local cattle rearers who move around with only sticks and their cattle.
The President stated this in an interview on Arise TV, monitored by New Telegraph. The Commander-in- Chief also disclosed that he has given the military and police a marching order to be ruthless on bandits in the North-west and North-central zones of the country. Urging governors to sit up and handle the worsening insecurity in their respective states and not just sit back after winning elections and expect people to do their jobs for them, he further advised that they revert to the traditional ways of tackling insecurity.
He said: “Those of us who are old enough to know the Native Authority Police and so on, at that time, the traditional institutions’ leaders were very effective in each community. I will give you one example, of recent; two governors from the South-West came to tell me that the cattle rearers in some of the forests are killing the farmers while the cattle were eating their crops. So, I told them, ‘you campaigned to be elected and you were elected’, they said ‘yes’. “And I said, go back and sort out yourselves because there has been a system all of us here could recall even in the local government when there was a security system that consists of traditional leaders who have been there for generations. “So, they know all the crooks in their locality.
Then the police, then those who come whether they are cattle rearers, influential traders, are part of it. They meet either monthly or quarterly and discuss the security within the community. If it is above them, they will pass it on. “So, I told those governors to go back and go to the old system so that they will help intelligence and what is happening in their constituencies. They just can’t go round and win elections and sit tight and think that somebody would do their job for them. So I just sent them back.
“You know these people more than I do, and you are democratically elected to protect your people. Don’t sit idly expecting me to do everything, take action,” he asserted. Fielding questions on the decision by Southern governors to ban open grazing, President Buhari said he has given approval to the return of the open grazing practised during the First Republic where herdsmen used designated grazing routes to move their cattle to several parts of the country. He noted that he had requested that the Attorney- General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, begin the process of recovering land from persons who have converted cattle grazing routes for their personal use.
“What I did was ask him (Malami) to go and dig the gazette of the 1st Republic when people were obeying laws. There were cattle routes and grazing areas. Cattle routes were for when they (herdsmen) are moving up country, north to south or east to west, they had to go through there.
“But I am telling you, this is rushing to the centre (sic) so I asked for the gazette to make sure that those who encroached on these cattle routes and grazing areas will be dispossessed in law and try to bring some order back into the cattle grazing.” In the interview, the President described the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) clamouring for secession as a “dot in a circle” that has nowhere to go. “IPOB is just like a dot in a circle and they have nowhere to turn to. They are spread everywhere and they have businesses and property everywhere and in other areas.”
He added that the militant arm of IPOB called Eastern Security Network (ESN) “don’t know what they are doing. How we will handle them is to mobilise the police and the military to pursue them. “And the way they are spread all over the country, having businesses and properties, I don’t think IPOB knows what they are talking about. “In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them.
“I was encouraged by what I heard, nobody told me. Two statements from the South-south. One by the elderly people, they said this time around there would be no (secession). And again the youth made the same statement; such encouragement,” Buhari said. When asked how he could improve foreign direct investment in Nigeria amid the high employment rate, he said: “This question was answered last year when there was the #End- SARS protest. You remember the young people that wanted to march here and remove me? “Tell the young people to behave themselves and make the country safe, and then we can attract real investors to the country.” The President also lamented the utterances of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom for saying that he (Buhari) failed to take actions against herdsmen because he is also a member of the Fulani herders.
Buhari said: “The governor of Benue said I cannot discipline the cattle rearers because I am one of them. I cannot refuse to say that I am one of them, but he is being unfair to me. “However, what is clear is that the cattle rearers do not carry anything apart from their sticks and cattle. But the people killing and wreaking havoc across the country carry arms and the majority of them are foreigners.”
On the ban of microblogging platform Twitter in Nigeria, President Buhari turned down a question posed to him on Nigeria’s ban but insisted on an armed response to the troubles in the South-East. “I will keep that to myself,” he responded. On restructuring, he said: “You have to define devolution of power. Virtually, the local government has been killed. The three tiers of government, federal, state and local governments; if they are being followed properly we wouldn’t have all these social problems. But the problem is that the local government has been virtually killed and that is not good for this country.”