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June 20, 2021
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Buhari Gives Military Marching Order To Deal Decisively With Bandits

…Justifies Decision To Overlook S’East, Others In Appointment of CoAS

…Discloses His Next Plan After 2023

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said he has given the military a marching order to deal decisively with bandits terrorizing the North West region of the country.

Buhari, who disclosed this in an interview with Arise TV, said he has ordered the security agencies to be ruthless with the bandits, assuring that Nigerians will see the difference in a short while.

The President, while lamenting the incessant killings said, “The ones of the North East we know, the ones in the South-South we know, the problem is the northwest; the same people, the same culture, killing each other, stealing each other’s cattles. Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.

“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless and you watch it in a few weeks’ time, there will be difference,” the President said.

He said it was one of the reasons the Service Chiefs were reshuffled and a new Inspector General of Police appointed to bring about normalcy in the region and other crisis ridden areas in the country.

Asked why the South East was overlooked in the appointment of Chief of Army Staff, Buhari said the appointment of a CoAS cannot be based on just the rank of the officer, stressing that operational experience was a major factor for the appointment of Major General Farouk Yahaya to replace late Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru who died in a military air crash.

“You cannot just bring anybody just because he is wearing a senior rank (and make him CoAS). You put somebody who has been in the mill, who has suffered with the soldiers, they know him, he has fought with them and so on. To tell you the truth, operational experience is important because the soldiers to be effectively led, must be somebody that are known to him, he is exposed to them,” Buhari said.

On the clamour for state police, the President said he had recently engaged two governors from the South West on the issue, stating categorically that criminals terrorizing communities in their states were well known to the monarchs and traditional leaders residing there, urging the governors to go back and do their homework to resolve issues of insecurity in their states.

“I have been reading it in the newspaper. Those of us who are old, enough, the traditional institutions were very effective in each community. Two governors from the south west came to tell me, the cattle rearers in some of the forest have killed farmers. I told them you campaigned to be elected and you were elected and I told them to go back and sort themselves out.

So they know all the crooks in their localities. I told them to go back and go to the old system, so that they will have intelligence and know what is happening in their localities. They just can’t go round and win elections and someone will do their jobs for them. I sent them back.

On the crisis in the South East, the President defended his statement to deal with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), saying that they will have nowhere to hide as security agencies are all out to flush them out.

Speaking on the bank of open grazing by Southern Governors, the President referred to the gazette used in the first republic where cattle routes and grazing areas were designed for herdsmen to adhere to, saying that there were punitive measures for defying such routes.

“What I did was to ask them to go and take the gazette of the first republic when people obey laws.

There are cattle roots and grazing areas. Cattle roots is when they are moving up country, north to south or east to west, they have to go through there. If you allow your cattle to stray into a farmer’s farm, you are arrested, the farmers are invited to state the extent of damages and submit his claims.

“In the grazing areas, they built hot dams and put windmills so that the hazards are limited so that any problems from the communities is known. I asked for the gazette to know those who stray away or encroach from their cattle areas and grazing areas, they will be dispossessed.”

But the President took exception to comments by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom who accused him of turning a blind eye to the herders-farmers clash because he is one of them, explaining that most of the herdsmen who perpetrate such evil are foreigners from the Sahel region.

“The governor of Benue said I am not disciplining the cattle herders because I am one of them. I cannot refuse to say that I am not one of them but he is being very unfair to me. I told him that the Nigeria cattle herders will not carry anything more than a stick, sometimes with a machete to cut some trees and give it to the animals.

“But those sophisticated ones, they are going about with AK47. From all the Sahel areas, people rush to Nigeria, Fulani from Mauritania or Central Africa look the same so they think they are Nigerians. So, I assure you that we are trying to resuscitate the grazing routes and cattle areas and making them accountable.

“From all the Sahel areas, people rush to Nigeria, they look the same and they look like the Nigerian ones. The problem of accountability,” he said.

Asked what next for him after the expiration of his term in 2023, Buhari said he still has some cattles to attend to, saying that he will go back to manage his farm in Daura, Katsina state.

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