By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – FORMER Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda on Tuesday said that land grabbing and population explosion were responsible for the crisis between farmers and herdsmen in the country.
The former governor who had also served as a minister further said that insecurity has been a major challenge for Nigeria long before the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Yaguda said that the increasing population in the country has been fuelling insecurity.
According to him, “Everybody knows that insecurity in the country did not start with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We were in government when this insecurity started. Most of you are aware Boko Haram started in Bauchi and by the grace of Allah, Bauchi was able to address it.”
He said that President Buhari has been able to substantially defeat the insurgency in the north east.
He said, “Nigeria is such a huge country and with population growing from 60 million in the 60s to over 200 million today, so most of these challenges you are seeing today is more about competition for land, especially as regards the so-called herdsmen.
“We know there are quite a number of them that are criminals but criminalizing the entire herdsmen I think is unfair because they have been peaceful people.
“Of course, there has been competition for land, if 60 million were occupying the land in the 60s and today you have over 200 million, all those cattle routes that were established by the British colonialists have all been closed down because of human habitations, and of course even the grazing reserves have been taken over by farmlands as population is growing.
“So, some of these criminals would have taken advantage of what has been happening and unleash mayhem on our people but that is not acceptable.
“I believe Mr. President is also addressing that to the best of his ability.”
Speaking specifically on the northwest, he said that the nation has witnessed a lot of challenges including banditry.
He said, “And you may not know where the bandits are coming from. It cannot only be a local problem, it could be an international problem, probably migration from somewhere, criminals from other parts of Africa may have assembled and say let’s go into a richer country like Nigeria and ravaged them seize everything that they have.
“It could be possible and when they come they have some local converts, who will want to go their own way. And also the southern part is not insulated because we have series of kidnappings. In fact, kidnappings started with oil workers either in the early 90s or late 80s, so it’s not a new thing.
“Life is dynamic, if there is no problem then they cannot be a manager. So, we can’t have a country without a leadership because he (president) is there by the grace of the almighty God, because God will not come down and manage the people by himself.
“So as along as the population is willing and he too has the vision to address the problem, I think we are going to win. So, really the insecurity in north east and the north west is being addressed and everybody is happy.”
“But we see these things keep repeating themselves, we don’t expect them to stop overnight, it’s not possible. So we are praying for the president to surmount all these problems as quickly as possible and we believe that the team he has, the police, army, Air Force, the navy they are doing their best.
“They should add more prayers and rededicate themselves more and more so that within the shortest possible time…if they have a target of 10 days to defeat the criminals, they should reduce it to five days or even four days.”
On his visit to the State House, he said that he came to see Mr President to wish him well and assure him that they were with him in prayers for his success in managing the country.
He said “I have worked here for 14 years, six as minister, eight as governor, so I have graduated into a senior citizen. When I was appointed Minister I was 50 years old, today I am over 60.
I urge the press to ensure the correct thing is reported for the interest and unity of our great country.”