The Christian Lawyers’ Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) has accused the Federal Government of failing to tackle the persistent attacks of communities in the Middle Belt states of Plateau, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa and the Southern part of Kaduna State by rampaging Fulani herdsmen, which has led to the killing of many people.
The group also condemned the proposals to assign grazing route to the nomadic Fulani herdsmen from the northern to the southern part of the country declaring that “it is anti–human, anti–societal and a clear violation of the provision of the Land use Act and the 1999 Constitution (as Amended).”
The group’s position is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its executive council meeting, which held recently in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY in Kaduna Friday.
The Christian Lawyers lamented the continuous silence of the Federal Government over the raiding of rural communities in the middle belt, which has led to the killing of many people and to the destruction of property.
The group, therefore, urged the Federal Government to take adequate steps to bring an end to the massacre before the situation got out of hand like the Boko Haram insurgency.
The communiqué, which was signed by the National President of CLASFON, Mr. Sunny Akanni and the National Secretary, Mr. Arome Okwori, expressed “utter consternation over the silence, complacency and seeming connivance of the Nigerian state over the insecurity of agrarian Middle Belt communities perpetrated by the so called Fulani herdsmen.
“We find no justification whatsoever for this as this so called herdsmen and their flock can be quarantined in their home states/local governments through robust agricultural policies. We note that it is a sign of political failure for the absence of any robust agricultural policy that stems the tide of nomadic farming in the 21st Century.
“Furthermore, we condemn the purported proposal for nomadic grazing route from the North to the South as it is anti–human, anti–societal and a clear violation of the provision of the Land Use Act and the 1999 Constitution (as Amended), rather, the government, particularly the states and local governments should create the enabling environment for the setting up of ranches, which policy is consistent with the commendable agricultural business policy of the federal government.”
CLASFON, however, commended President Goodluck Jonathan for declaring state of emergency in the three Northern states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa, which were the strong base of the Boko Haram terrorist group, saying that although the declaration came very late, considering the killings and destruction caused by the Islamic group.
They said, “We believe the emergency rule will achieve the purpose for which it was imposed and we urge all Nigerians to cooperate with the security agencies in combating this insurgence.
"Meanwhile we urge all state governments in the country to eschew acts and policies that accommodate religious extremism, as these discriminatory religious policies and programmes are contrary to the spirit and letter of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
But the group frowned at the proposed amnesty to the Boko Haram Islamist group, noting that granting amnesty to criminals tend to make crime an attractive and profitable venture under the present political dispensation.
“We urge the Federal Government to begin to wind down the existing amnesty programmes and discontinue forthwith any of such proposed ventures and it should ensure that the full weight of the law is brought to bear against any person or group of persons who take arms against the state for any reason whatsoever,” the group said.
It also also commended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar for the renewed effort in tackling corruption in the Judiciary and urged her to ensure that due process was adhered to in all cases for justice and fairness to prevail.