Taming Fulani herdsmen: Read the riot act, Akinrinade tells Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria's president

▪︎Says the buck stops at Buhari’s table

President Muhammadu Buhari has been told by a former Chief of Army Staff, General Alani Akinrinade to call the rampaging Fulani herdsmen to order, otherwise Nigerians might be forced to resort to self help.

General Akinrinade made the call at the inauguration of projects at Kuta and Asamu in Osun State by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai.

He declared that Buhari, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, must read the riot act to the Fulani herdsmen to stop killing and kidnapping of innocent Nigerians.

The 80-year-old Akinrinade, who thanked the Army chief for the projects executed by the Nigerian Army, said to Buratai he had a message to send through him to Buhari.

The former Defence Minister who retired at the age of 42 in 1981 said: ”Please, grant me the indulgence to mention to him (Buhari) one or two matters that throw me into distress because of my association with him.

”The first is this pervasive belief that he is an ethnic bigot, an irredeemable religious fundamentalist that he firmly subscribes and promotes the possibility of his ethnic Fulani to take over the country, the reason he does not interfere in curbing the brigandage of the Fulani herdsmen, that he has performed woefully in the fight against the terrorist Boko Haram and that he cannot rise to the occasion when it comes to reflecting the heterogeneous composition of our country when it comes to appointments to sensitive positions in his government.

”These are difficult matters that cannot be addressed in abstract. The whole buck stops at his desk. I cannot claim to have adequate information outside what the media and the ubiquitous social media churn out every second.

“I know that you and your brothers, service chiefs, are doing your best within the resources our country can make available to you.

”Let me suggest to him that he needs to shape up, read the riot act to our people, enlist them in unswerving cooperation to participate fully in the redemption of their country.

“I am sure he is aware of the hue and cry from all corners and crannies of our country for secession as if we have not been there before.

”He needs to stand on his table against the motley crowd of advisers and take a firm stand on the reorganisation of our country, physically, politically, economically and socially.

“What we simply term as reorganisation in the Armed Forces is what bloody civilians call restructuring. It is long overdue and overflogged.

”As a matter of fact, it is what is required to move our country out of the doldrums into modernity. He cannot afford to pass it on. We may end up without a country, as no country has been known to survive two civil wars. He can take better counsel in appointments to sensitive parts of his government.

”There are capable and loyal men and women from every village in the country. We are regaled everyday with blood chilling stories of killings and pillaging of villages, sometimes towns in the North and Central Nigeria, and of recent, talks of impending massacres and intensification of kidnapping coming our way in Southern states and the main protagonists of the disturbance are the Fulani herdsmen.

”Sometimes, we are told that they are Fulani mercenaries from outside Nigeria being sponsored by our Nigerian brothers. The situation is so daring that in collaboration with unexpected bad weather this year, famine is imminent.

”Already, we hear we are borrowing grains from ECOWAS countries, the immediate result of farmers being forced to abandon their farms.

“I suggest to him to read the riot act to the Fulani herdsmen, that it is not acceptable for any foreigner by whatever name to enter our country illegally and kill our people.

”They are not welcome. We should not, by mistake of omission or commission, allow our people to degenerate to self-help. It is a sure road to anarchy and perdition, which will not go away.”

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