The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum have berated the Presidency over a statement credited to the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina that Nigerians should choose between their lands and their lives.
The forum described Adesina’s comment which he made during an interview on AIT as scandalous, reckless, insensitive and vexatious.
In a statement signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-West); Bassey Henshaw (South-South); Chigozie Ogbu (South-East) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle-Belt), the forum said the declaration amounts to a death sentence on those opposed to ranching.
The statement reads, “We take this ludicrous declaration as a death sentence on all those who oppose the imperialist agenda of the Federal Government to grab lands from communities in Nigeria and hand over to herdsmen for their private business.
“Adesina is close to the heart of presidency to know why it has treated killer herdsmen with kid gloves in the last three years and the arrogance with which he spoke showed they now assume their foot soldiers have terrorized us into submission.
“This death threat is coming after the President told the Governor of Benue State in January to learn how to live with herdsmen, the Defence Minister claiming that blockage of cattle routes is the reason why herdsmen are killing and the same Adesina telling us the killings done under Buhari in three years have not equalled the number of deaths that occurred under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
“This goes to confirm our earlier charge that the role of the President of Nigeria and the duty the President owes to the herdsmen are in conflict and there is greater allegiance to the cowtry above the country.
“If Mr. Adesina keeps his job in the next 24 hours, all doubt would be removed over the statement Gen T.Y Danjuma (retd) made that there is a working relationship between the killers and the security forces.
“There would be no reason to look for the killer herdsmen again.
“Nigerians would have to proceed to the International Criminal Court with the charge that what we are facing is state-sponsored terrorism.”