In this interview, National President of Arewa United Consultative Forum, AUCF, Alhaji Ado Shuaibu Dansudu, granted our editor, Gboyega Adeoye, he claims that the acclaimed Fulani insurgences, leading to killings and vandalisation of properties, may not be by the herdsmen as alleged after all.
According to him, circumstances surrounding the attacks suggest that the insurgents could be brigands, opposed to the present administration. Excerpts:
What is your view on the present state of the nation?
The country is currently on its way to redemption. This is indeed our trying period. We need to, at this time, cooperate with the government of the day so that the mission of government can be accomplished for the benefit of the generality of the populace..
But people are complaining of hardship and government seems not to understand as they keep rolling out killer policies without requisite palliatives?
The government is indeed trying. The problem is that Nigeria has been so much corrupted and basterdised in the past years to the extent that the nation, as we speak, is almost bleeding to death. We are in a situation whereby a few have cornered the commonwealth of the nation and have made the generality of the masses a pauper in the land of plenty. You can imagine a situation where crude oil which now sells for less than 40 dollars per barrel was selling for 140 dollars in the last dispensation. It is so sad that a government which was making so much is now left with peanut to cater for a myriad of problems. We really need to reason with the government and have fate in the leadership of General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd).
Now what do you say to a situation whereby people from the tribe of Mr. President are fermenting problem across the country. I mean the menace of the Fulani herdsmen across the country?
The tale about Fulani herdsmen insurgency is a knotty one. I am still left in the dark as to the root of the problem. I really want all of us to put on our thinking cap over this matter. How do you explain a situation where herdsmen would leave their herd of cows, enter a village in the South-East and sack it? Remember that these are cattle rearers who trade on these animals. They are illiterates and are easily identified. I quite agree that there are some cases where there are frictions between herdsmen and the farmers. These are situations where their cattle intrude into some farm land and the farmers decide to retaliate, either by confronting the herdsmen or kill their cattle.
So, what can you proffer as solution to all these?
Farmers, most of the time, are being instigated by politicians. I will advise that these farmers don’t allow themselves to be used by politicians and looters of the economy to carry out their selfish ambitions. If a Fulani damaged a farm, either intentionally or otherwise, what is right to do is to report them to relevant authorities and they should be made to pay for the damages done by their cattle. We will not be solving the problem by killing them and their cows which they inherited. This will not help. People should not take laws into their hands. And we should not be telling lies against one another.
What do you mean by people telling lies against one another?
This brings us back to what I had earlier said. I still ask: When it is not debatable that Fulani can be easily identified among the Igbo, then tell me how the so called herdsmen were able to penetrate Enugu State , carry out their operations and bolted without being arrested, neither their cattle, by any of the security apparatus? How did they enter and how did they get out? Where did they hide? Remember that they did not have any settlement in that place. Did they trek in, came with motor or used chopper? These are people that can be easily identified, as I have said earlier. So, let us know the person that identified them as Fulani herdsmen; I mean that person that understands their language. You should also remember that the arson took place in a village where people know themselves. To me, there is something hidden behind this. I think the security forces should dig deeper.
What are you insinuating?
Let me be frank with you; the Fulani are like deaf people. They are not educated. They cannot communicate in any other language other than their own. These are people that cannot use the media to state their own position. And to me, people are capitalizing on this to heap all sort of blames on them. I think this is unfair. In all of these, no one is currently speaking for them, either to deny or state their position on the issue. Why I say the issue is knotty is also because the village that was attacked was not sharing border with the north.
So, if they are not herdsmen, who could they be?
To me, these are gangsters. They are a gang of criminals wanting to crash this country. Their mission is to bring this administration into disrepute. They are those who are not happy with the achievements of the present government, so far. Don’t forget that these Fulani we speak about are traders. They work like slaves. I think we should take their deficiencies into consideration before heaping all these blames on them.
What are the ways forward?
I think all Nigerians should be given the right of fair hearing on issues like this. The press should play their role very well in this regard. They should put in more investigation on issues like this and come up with objective facts. They should not rely on information passed across unto them by someone who may be biased in his judgment. We should thank God for people like the president, Mohammadu Buhari, and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who safe us from the past administration which made so much money with nothing tangible to show for it.
How do we salvage the dwindling economy, the naira is losing its value by the day?
The major problem the country is facing is still left unattended to by the government. I think there is urgent need for government to focus on the pipeline vandals and deal with them ruthlessly. These people are killing people as well as killing the economy. This is one menace worse than kidnapping, Boko Haram and herdsmen insurgencies, put together. We need to efficiently mount surveillance on our pipelines. Let the government declare a state of emergency on the national economy. This present administration must be allowed to deliver. We should support the government and believe that all will be well at the end of it all.